9 stars of MeTV who hosted 'The Muppet Show'
The Muppets are back on television with a modern sitcom. But let's rewind the clock to a time when Kermit and Miss Piggy were an item, all the way back to 39 years ago when the The Muppet Show premiered on primetime. From the beginning, the felt-skinned stars of the variety show relied on flesh and blood celebrities to lure in a wide audience. A luminary from the world of television, radio or Broadway would pop in each week for a skit, or more likely a song.
It was a great showcase for actors to demonstrate their well-rounded performing chops, slipping into a little opera or dance. Where else could you see the mom from The Brady Bunch sing a folk song or Wonder Women belt out a soul tune? Many stars of MeTV appeared on The Muppet Show over its five seasons. Here are our ten favorite hosts and their memorable moments.
1. Jim Nabors
September 26, 1976
Gomer Pyle was no stranger to a microphone. Cassettes filled with Jim Nabors singing romantic ballads and country tunes could be found in truck stops across America (and likely still can). In this early episode, the second in the inaural season, Nabors slips into some denim to sing a John Denver hit.
2. Ruth Buzzi
October 9, 1976
The Laugh-In and That Girl costar serenades Sweetums with "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You."
3. Florence Henderson
November 13, 1976
Carol Brady, draped in silk, twirls through an enchanted forest singing Bob Lind's "Elusive Butterfly." Oddly, no Muppets join her, unless you count the fake butterflies.
4. Valerie Harper
November 20, 1976
The Mary Tyler Moore and Rhoda icon sports a green jumpsuit and delights by singing Broadway number "Nobody Does It Like Me" with the Clodhoppers.
5. Don Knotts
November 26, 1977
From Barney Fife to… hep jazz cat? Knotts sits in on bass with Dr. Teeth.
6. Cloris Leachman
May 20, 1978
The Mary Tyler Moore landlady impressively bellows an opera aria in a forest. With a pig.
7. Lynda Carter
February 16, 1980
As we wrote about yesterday, Carter had a music career in the late 1970s (and before that played in a band with M*A*S*H's Radar). She would sing the Spinners hit "Rubberband Man" on her own variety special, but we prefer this take that ushers in the 1980s with neon and cool keyboard bits.
8. Loretta Swit
November 15, 1980
After Miss Piggy tells Tongue magazine she married Kermit in Vegas, an upset Kermit fires her from the show and replaces her with Hot Lips. Swit gets to play in "Pigs in Space" and "Veterinarian's Hospital."
9. Carol Burnett
December 13, 1980
Few were better suited for the Muppets brand of variety humor than the iconic Carol Burnett. She got to dance with Animal.