Created by the legendary Jim Henson, the original “Muppet Show” was a variety half-hour featuring Kermit the Frog as the showrunner and host. The series originally aired from 1976 to 1981 on ITV in the U.K. and on CBS in the U.S. In addition to the show’s first three seasons, seasons 4 and 5 will also be available to stream for the first time.
Beyond Kermit, “The Muppet Show” features Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, the Swedish Chef, Sam the Eagle, aged hecklers Statler and Waldorf and other beloved characters. The colorful Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem, anchored by excitable drummer Animal, served as the house band.
The show was notable for mixing the family-friendly Muppet characters with starry guest hosts that included Steve Martin, Elton John, Liza Minnelli, Alice Cooper, Julie Andrews, Bernadette Peters, Diana Ross, Gladys Knight, Gene Kelly and Mark Hamill.
Disney, which acquired the Muppets in 2004, has gradually added more Muppet content to Disney Plus, given that it is a natural fit with the platform’s kid- and family-centric target demo. The complete archive of “The Muppet Show,” including the lesser-known later seasons, has been a huge missing piece.
Disney sought to ballyhoo the return of “Muppet Show” with a “statement” from host and producer Kermit.
“It’s going to be great to welcome back longtime fans, and to give a new generation of fans a chance to see how we got our start, how Miss Piggy became a star and so much more,” he said in a press release. “Today, I’m proud to say: ‘It’s time to play the music, light the lights and meet the Muppets on Disney Plus tonight!’ And as for Statler and Waldorf, the two old guys in the balcony, I can only add: ‘Sorry, guys, but….here we go again.”
Jerry Juhl and Jack Burns were head writers on “The Muppet Show.” The program was filmed at Elstree Studios in England, where Henson headed after his pitch for the variety show was rejected by the major U.S. networks.
Watch “The Muppet Show” original theme song below.