Muppet News Flash segments were a regular feature of The Muppet Show for all five seasons. The segments starred the Newsman, a breathlessly emphatic anchorman. This is not to be confused with "Sesame Street News Flash," in which Kermit the Frog was the anchorman.
There were slight changes made to the News Flash segments after the first season. In the first year, the segments often featured interviews with a strange person played by the guest star. Starting with the second year, the Newsman would rush on to the scene, announcing an unusual story -- and he would then fall victim to the subject of the news story in some way. The segments typically began with a triangular-wipe transition from the preceding sketch.
The Newsman himself also changed during the first season, adding glasses to his costume. His voice originally was lower, closer to Link Hogthrob's, but that too would be modified in the first season.
After The Muppet Show finished production, News Flash segments went on in a photographed comic book style for one page in several issues of Muppet Magazine. Later in 2001, new segments were performed for The Muppet Show Live. For these skits, the audience members closest to the stage were given props to throw at the Newsman at the appropriate time. More recently, a number of new segments were produced for Disney Extreme Digital's website, under "gadgets."
A Muppet News Flash also opens "Kermit's Story," the first in Roger Langridge's four-issue run of The Muppet Show Comic Book. After reporting some of his usual bizarre stories (surprisingly, nothing happens when he announces that "produce market prices fell"), the Newsman announces that The Muppet Show is back on the air in a new "comic book" format, just in time for the page to turn, covering his face and interrupting his broadcast. Another News Flash appears in the second issue of The Treasure of Peg-Leg Wilson, in which The Newsman gives a report on the buried treasure.
The Muppet Show Season 1
|Hotline||Episode 102: Connie Stevens|| The Newsman picks up the phone for a hotline and burns his hand.
|Boffo the Human Cannonball||Episode 103: Joel Grey|| The Newsman reports the demise of Boffo the Human Cannonball.
|City Held Hostage||Episode 103: Joel Grey||The state of New York is being held hostage by a retired bus driver.|
|Kidnapped Ocean||Episode 104: Ruth Buzzi||The Atlantic Ocean has been kidnapped!|
|Dancing Chicken||Episode 105: Rita Moreno||The Newsman reports on a pet chicken that became a member of the Royal Copenhagen Ballet.|
|There Is No News Tonight!||Episode 105: Rita Moreno|| The Newsman reports that there is no news tonight.
|Flying Saucer Spotted||Episode 106: Jim Nabors|| The Newsman interviews gas station attendant Billy Lee Boomer (played by Jim Nabors), who spotted a flying saucer.
|Amazing Story||Episode 108: Paul Williams||The Newsman just got an incredible story that's reported by Arnold Stockman (played by Paul Williams), who claims that the phone rang but there was nobody on the other end of the line.|
|Boxer vs. Himself||Episode 110: Harvey Korman||Undefeated boxer Carl Boomer (played by Harvey Korman) has a match against himself.|
|Seaweed Diet||Episode 111: Lena Horne||Lola Bramswell (played by Lena Horne) is on a seaweed diet.|
|The Cure For the Common Cold||Episode 112: Peter Ustinov||The Newsman interviews Dr. Felix Oglebomb (played by Peter Ustinov), who thinks he has found the cure for the common cold.|
|The World Record For Jumping the Most Jumps||Episode 114: Sandy Duncan||The Newsman interviews Billie Lee Bonkers (played by Sandy Duncan), who is trying to break the world record for the most jumps in a row. Her motivation? She's standing on a hot plate. The Newsman then picks up the phone and asks, "Where do we get these nuts?"|
|Death of Pole Climber||Episode 117: Ben Vereen||The Newsman reports the death of Melvin Cosgrove, who, sixteen years ago, climbed a thirty-foot pole and scrambled onto a six-by-six-foot platform in order to break the world record for flagpole-sitting.|
|Winged Travel||Episode 118: Phyllis Diller||Beverly Shepherd (played by Phyllis Diller) has built herself a pair of wings and flown. She accomplished this by making wings for herself from aluminum and then buying a plane ticket.|
|Furniture Monsters||Episode 119: Vincent Price|| The Newsman reports that furniture all over town has been turning into monsters. While he reports this, a man who is watching the news on TV is being attacked by his furniture. The same happens to the Newsman shortly afterwards.
|Man Turns Into Rug||Episode 120: Valerie Harper||Mrs. Klinger (played by Valerie Harper) explains that her husband Gus has transformed into a rug, with fringe, over the last few months. She plans to divorce him because he doesn't match the drapes.|
|Blank Paper||Episode 120: Valerie Harper||Both sides of the Newsman's paper are blank.|
|The Woman Who Ate a Tractor||Episode 121: Twiggy||Lola Thomas (played by Twiggy) has eaten an entire diesel tractor, medium rare.|
|The World's Longest Sentence||Episode 123: Kaye Ballard||The Newsman can't get a word in edgewise when he tries to interview Gretchen Powers (played by Kaye Ballard), who is trying to get into the Guinness Book of World Records for saying the world's longest spoken sentence.|
|Sergei Lenofsky's 196th Birthday Celebration||Episode 124: Mummenschanz|| The Newsman reports on Sergei Lenofsky's 196th birthday celebration.
The Muppet Show Season 2
|Contested Will||Episode 203: Milton Berle||The late Mary Cramble's will has been bitterly contested by her son Charles and her cat Cutie-Pie. The newsman reports that her estate of 10,000 rubber mice has been awarded to Charles.|
|News Flash||Episode 205: Judy Collins||The paper suddenly catches fire.|
|On Stage Without Pants||Episode 207: Edgar Bergen||The news report states that the Newsman forgot to put on his pants before going on-camera.|
|Exploding News Reporters||Episode 209: Madeline Kahn||There are reports that television news reporters are blowing up. Unsurprisingly, the Newsman is unable to finish the report, because he blows up.|
|Large Heavy Object||Episode 212: Bernadette Peters|| The Newsman reports on a heavy object falling from the ceiling and a weight drops on his head.
|Mallarditis||Episode 215: Lou Rawls||The Newsman reports on mallarditis--a rare disease that causes the victim to become a duck. His head then turns into a duck's head.|
|Ten Thousand Ping Pong Balls and One Bowling Ball||Episode 217: Julie Andrews||A plane carrying sports equipment has been forced to jettison some of its cargo.|
|Jettison||Episode 218: Jaye P. Morgan||The Newsman reports that a plane carrying the London Symphony Orchestra has been forced to jettison some of its musical instruments. A piano falls on him.|
|Fishing Season||Episode 221: Bob Hope||As the Newsman reports that today is the first day of fishing season, gunshots are heard and fish fall onto his desk.|
|Opera Season||Episode 221: Bob Hope||As the Newsman reports that tonight is the opening night of opera season, gunshots are heard and a diva in a horned viking helmet falls onto his desk.|
|Solution To Food Crisis||Episode 223: John Cleese||The Newsman reports that Dr. William Edgar is helping to aid the food crisis by fashioning Italian dinners out of wool.|
|Newspig||Episode 224: Cloris Leachman||The Newsman is replaced by a pig.|
The Muppet Show Season 3
|Missing Silverware||Episode 301: Kris Kristofferson and Rita Coolidge||The Newsman reports that police have recovered all of the property stolen during the Henderson burglary, except for the silverware, which has disappeared into thin air. He then gets showered with a load of falling utensils.|
|The Glue Crisis Has Been Solved||Episode 304: Gilda Radner|| The Newsman reports that the glue crisis has been solved, but he gets glued to his chair.
|Exploding Hats||Episode 305: Pearl Bailey||A hat factory has blown up and hats fall from the sky on top of the Newsman.|
|Strike Amongst Mail Carriers||Episode 308: Loretta Lynn||The Newsman reports a strike amongst mail carriers. However, air mail is still being delivered as normal, as a pile of luggage falls on him.|
|War On Abyssinia||Episode 308: Loretta Lynn||Three chickens broke into the railroad telegraph office and started pecking at the morse key. The chickens were arrested, but not before declaring war on Abyssinia. A spike then hits the paper on the Newsman's desk.|
|Work on the Muppet Newsroom||Episode 309: Liberace||The Newsman announces that remodeling has begun on the Muppet News studio as a wrecking ball smashes through the wall behind him.|
|Overhand Refrigerator Throwing||Episode 313: Helen Reddy||Mr. and Mrs. George Laser of Silverspring, Maryland are attempting to break the world record in Overhand Refrigerator Throwing. A refrigerator then gets thrown across the room.|
|Muppet News International||Episode 317: Spike Milligan|| The Newsman presents "simultaneous translation bringing you news and views across the language barrier," assisted by Spike Milligan pantomiming.
|Town Crier||Episode 323: Lynn Redgrave||The Town Crier calls out "5:00, and all's well! Except that Maid Marian has been kidnapped, the Sheriff's up to no good, that dog is stealing the cheese, Kermit's mad at Piggy, and it's really only 4:30." He then gets hit with a falling pot.|
The Muppet Show Season 4
|Bumper Crop||Episode 408: Arlo Guthrie||A load of car bumpers get dumped on the Newsman's desk.|
|Soprano Beverly Sills||Episode 409: Beverly Sills||Soprano Beverly Sills has withdrawn her announced plans to retire from the operatic stage.|
|Hospital Beds Made From Pop-Up Toaster Parts||Episode 410: Kenny Rogers||A report from Muppet Labs regarding the hospital bed used in the "Coconut" production number. This causes Kermit to be flung out of the hospital bed.|
|Falling Lamp Fixture||Episode 410: Kenny Rogers||The Newsman reports about falling lamp fixtures.|
|Exploding Paper||Episode 415: Anne Murray||Muppet Labs invents a hair-triggered exploding paper, which the Newsman just happens to be reading from.|
|National Sheep Dog Trials||Episode 417: Star Wars||The Sheep Dogs have been found not guilty.|
|The Swinetrek Has Landed||Episode 417: Star Wars||The Swinetrek has made a soft landing on a distant planet, while Venus is about to make a hard landing on the Muppet newsroom. Then the Venus de Milo statue crashes on his desk.|
|Killer Lamb||Episode 418: Christopher Reeve||A killer lamb has escaped from the Department of Agriculture's National Security Sheep Station and into the Muppet newsroom.|
|Rezal-evad-gib||Episode 419: Lynda Carter|| The ancient Egyptian crocodile god Rezal-evad-gib will attack anybody who enters his tomb or says his name out loud.
|Cheese||Episode 422: Andy Williams||The Newsman gives a report on cheese.|
The Muppet Show Season 5
|The Meaning of Life||Episode 501: Gene Kelly||The meaning and purpose of life has been revealed, but the Newsman can't find the rest of his report papers to read the transcription.|
|Gold Security Guard||Episode 504: Shirley Bassey||A security guard is guarding a stack of gold bars and will hurt anyone who touches them.|
|Clothes Turning into Chickens||Episode 509: Debbie Harry||The Newsman announces that famous French clothing designer David Lazour was arrested for designing clothes that can suddenly turn into chickens.|
|Electric Sledgehammer||Episode 510: Jean-Pierre Rampal||The electric sledgehammer has escaped from Muppet Labs and is believed to be roaming the city on a very long extension cord. But it only attacks really wimpy nerds--such as the Newsman.|
|Overdue Library Books||Episode 511: Paul Simon|| The local library will forgive all fines for any overdue library books that get returned within the next three seconds.
|Beef Falls Dramatically||Episode 512: Melissa Manchester||A cow falls on The Newsman.|
|Electrocuted Conductor||Episode 513: Tony Randall||The Newsman meets conductor Zubin Beckmesser, who placed his baton into an electrical outlet.|
|Falling Stars||Episode 519: Chris Langham||A freak storm in Alabama caused stars to fall. Stars then fall on the Newsman's desk.|
|Blackout||Episode 522: Buddy Rich||There's a blackout at the Muppet Theater. The Newsman's candle is too dim for him to read his notes, so he asks for a bigger one. Crazy Harry obligingly brings him a big stick of dynamite.|
|Unidentified Flying Object||Episode 523: Linda Ronstadt||Following the previous sketch, The Swedish Chef falls on The Newsman.|
|Mackerel King||Episode 524: Roger Moore||The Newsman reports that security at Muppet News is so tight that rumors cannot be reported to Muppet News. The Newsman then reports that a black-and-yellow striped mackerel has been elected king. The Newsman doesn't believe it until he meets the king.|
Additional Reports (Non-Muppet Show)
|Kermit's Date with Lady Holiday||The Great Muppet Caper||Details at eleven.|
|The Worst Blizzard in Fifty Years||A Muppet Family Christmas||The Newsman announces that the worst blizzard in fifty years is approaching and that barometers are falling sharply. Barometers then literally fall onto the Newsman.|
|Musical News||The Jim Henson Hour Episode 105: First Show||Bobby McFerrin reads the musical news, while the Newsman provides interpretation for the totally unhip.|
|Golf Balls||The Muppet Show Live||The Newsman brings a "Muppet News Weather Update!." He announces that the Hollywood area is being pelted by a hailstorm and witnesses are reporting hailstones as large as golf balls. Soon, he is pelted by plastic golf balls thrown by the audience.|
|Football||The Muppet Show Live||The Newsman announces that Rich Gannon, quarterback for the Oakland Raiders, threw 250 touchdown passes. He soon remarks "250 Touchdown passes. That's impossible!" only to be hit by many nerf footballs being thrown by the audience.|
|Boulder||The Muppet Show Live||The Newsman announces that there are reports of giant boulders rolling through Hollywood. He looks out to the audience and says "Ha! They didn't give you giant boulders to throw, did they?" Sweetums enters, remarking "Nope, but they gave me one." He then decks the Newsman with with the giant rock. The Newsman pops up, saying "You missed!" Then a cow falls on the Newsman.|
|Breaking News||Disney Xtreme Digital||The Newsman announces some breaking news only to have the set break apart and hit him on the head.|
|Weather Report||Disney Xtreme Digital||The Newsman gives a weather report. He says it will not rain "like cats and dogs", then penguins start falling from the sky and hitting him on the head.|
|Piano||Disney Xtreme Digital||The Newsman rushes in shouting "This just in" only to be immediately crushed by a falling grand piano.|
|A News flash||Disney Xtreme Digital||The Newsman declares that "This is a Muppet News Flash," upon which his desk explodes.|
|Cheese||Disney Xtreme Digital|| The Newsman announces that giant meteors are falling from the sky and are reported to be explosive and dangerous. He gasps and quickly ducks under his desk, but nothing happens. He gets back up and continues with another news about genetically-engineered flying elephants who have escaped from Muppet Labs and will squash anyone who mentions their existence to death. The Newsman gasps and quickly ducks under his desk again, but nothing happens. Suddenly a blue monster hand gives him a note and the Newsman reads it. He reports that anyone who reads this sentence would turn into cheese. The Newsman suddenly turns into a cheese and rolls off the desk.
|Money||Disney Xtreme Digital||The Newsman reports that a government aircraft carrying freshly-minted money is experiencing some technical difficulties and it is causing the aircraft to dump untraceable cash from the sky. Suddenly a sack falls down on to the Newsman's desk and it is followed by bills of money floating down. The Newsman replies that he wished it was huge sacks of priceless diamonds and then another sack falls down as diamonds rain down on him. Excitedly, the Newsman asks for a 32oz T-Bone (medium well done) and a piece of steak falls down on his desk. Getting more excited, the Newsman also requests a beautiful brown-eye blonde and gets hit by a falling cow with blonde hair. He noted that he should have been more specific on the last request.|
|Retiring||Disney Xtreme Digital||The Newsman announces that he is retiring and this would be the last time he is reporting the news. The news story he reports is that Muppet Labs has perfected a cloning process and can make a clone of someone immediately. With that last news story, The Newsman says good-bye and weeps as he leaves.|
|Clones||Disney Xtreme Digital|| After the last news, a clone of The Newsman comes in and announces that Muppet Labs' cloning process should be used with caution because the clone would explode if they get excited. The clone Newsman gets so excited about this news flash that he explodes. Another clone Newsman comes in saying how Muppet Labs perfected their clone process and that the clones would not explode, but they are vulnerable to falling pianos. Suddenly, a grand piano falls on the clone Newsman.
|Digital Movie||Disney Xtreme Digital||The Newsman announces that new Digital 3D movies look so real that it literally knocks people out of their seats. Not believing it, the Newsman puts some 3D glasses on and gets hit by a falling cow.|
|Mary Had a Little Lamb||Disney Xtreme Digital||The Newsman was about to read a report about bowling balls when he realized that if he mentions it, they will fall on him. Instead, he reads a letter from little Amy, which is a nursery rhyme on "Mary Had a Little Lamb." After reciting the nursery rhyme, Mary fell on him and the lamb too. The Newsman thinks he should have mentioned the bowling balls and gets hit by one.|
|Garbage Strike||Disney Xtreme Digital|| The Newsman reads a report about another garbage strike and finds the report ridiculous. The Newsman gets pelted with trash and he says that the garbage does deserve some respect even if the situation "stinks" and gets knocked over by a solid trash object in the face.
|World's Biggest Sandwich|| The Muppets Kitchen with Cat Cora|
|In the episode "World's Biggest Sandwich," the Newsman reports on both the giant sandwich under construction in the studio kitchen and on an airplane that was forced to jettison its cargo of pickles, which ends up landing on him.|
|Constantine Escapes!||Muppets Most Wanted||The Newsman announces that Constantine, the world's most dangerous frog, had escaped from a gulag in Siberia, Russia, and has becomes the number-one most wanted criminal in the world, wresting that title away from the mysterious Lemur.|
|Stealing the Show||The Muppets Take the Bowl||The Newsman reports that someone plans on stealing the show at the Hollywood Bowl (later revealed to be Pepe the King Prawn).|
|Trap Doors||The Muppets Take the Bowl||The Newsman gives an exposé on the Hollywood Bowl festivities, including the trap doors, one of which he falls into.|
|Tour Bus||The Muppets Take the Bowl||The Newsman reports that a group of penguin tourists are making their way to the Bowl using a hijacked tour bus, only to be stuck in traffic. He is then trampled by the penguins, who have chosen to go by foot instead.|
- The production staff of The Muppet Show parodied the segment in a wrap party video shot at the end of the show's first season with a human crew member standing in for the newsman.