Lionsgate has picked up the comedy thriller Happytime Murders, written by Todd Berger and directed by Brian Henson, son of Jim Henson.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lionsgate's acquisition gives the risky project -- a dark adult story featuring puppets -- a shot at getting made, with insiders talking about a possible January start, depending on when a star can be found for the lead.

Happytime Murders takes place in a world where humans and puppets coexist, with the puppets viewed as second-class citizens. When the puppet cast of 1980s children's TV show The Happytime Gang begins to get murdered one by one, a disgraced LAPD detective-turned-private eye puppet -- with a drinking problem, no less -- takes the case with his former human partner. Think "Avenue Q" meets L.A. Confidential.

Todd Berger wrote the script from a story he wrote with Dee Austin Robertson.