Brian Henson, the oldest son of the late Muppets creator Jim Henson, has been named president of Jim Henson Productions, the film and TV production company founded by his father in 1958. Henson will replace David Lazar as head of the company he owns with his three siblings. Before Jim Henson died last year, negotiations were underway to sell the firm to the Walt Disney Co., but they have fallen through. After the announcement this week, the young Henson said, "Now, more than ever, we are committed to maintaining Jim Henson Productions' reputation for high-quality children's and family entertainment." He said a prime-time sitcom, "Dinosaurs," will begin in the spring. Though only 27, Henson already has such major production credits as the feature films "Little Shop of Horrors," "The Great Muppet Caper" and "Labyrinth."

All the Things He Loved Before

From belt buckles to golf carts, Willie Nelson's belongings were auctioned off by the IRS this week to help pay his reported $16.7 million tax bill. The auction, the first of three scheduled, was held at Nelson's Pedernales Country Club near Austin, Tex., and was attended by 200 curious fans, many of whom thought the auction was justified. "It's fair," said one bidder. "Whether it's his fault or not, you've still got to pay your taxes." IRS spokeswoman Valerie Thornton would not say how much the auction raised.

Stemming a Flood of Flushes

Because the effect of millions of people flushing their toilets during commercial breaks in important football games has been known to damage city water pipes, the proper authorities are taking the proper precautions. Engineers at a water-supply command post in Cheektowaga, N.Y., will have television sets in their control room and will be able to control the flow of Buffalo's water from 5-million-gallon holding tanks. "We cannot find any concrete evidence of the mythical 'Super Bowl Flush' even though we know it exists," said Ian Michaels, a spokesman for the New York Department of Environmental Protection. He was referring to a water main that reportedly ruptured in Salt Lake City during 1984's Super Bowl, leaving many homes temporarily without water.

Mrs. Bush to the Press: Be Patient

At a White House reception Barbara Bush hosted yesterday for members of the National Hospice Organization, the First Lady was asked about the war going on longer than many people thought it would. "Now wait a minute," said Mrs. Bush. "Nobody thought surely that the war was going to be over in a week. We didn't. And I don't think most people thought that." She reminded the press that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein "has the fourth-biggest army in the world. To be pressured into doing something because it's long is silly. It's not long. It's eight days. That's very, very short."

Asked if she thought people are too impatient, she said, "No, I think you {the press} are impatient. I think people understand that we have a big project, and if they didn't know it before, they've known it in the last eight days." The public is willing to wait "as long as it takes," she said, "and we're going to win."