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The Muppet Show pitch reel is a 25-minute commercial produced in 1975 to help Jim Henson sell The Muppet Show to CBS. The reel was intended to show CBS executives the some of the Muppets' strongest performances, spotlight the versatility of the Muppets and convey Henson's unique brand of humor. The reel even mentions many of the network executives who would be watching it by name.
The bulk of the pitch reel features Kermit introducing Muppet clips—mainly highlights from the Muppet pilots (The Muppet Valentine Show and Sex And Violence), assorted Muppet variety show appearances, and segments of Kermit interacting with Cher and her daughter Chastity that were specially-taped while Henson was on the set of the Cher series.
The final two-minutes of the reel features Leo (from the Muppet Meeting Films) coming on camera in place of Kermit. He announces that Jim Henson and CBS executive George Schlatter have merged into one being, to bring to television: "The Muppet Show! A show that will be loved and adored by Nielsen families all over the country!" Leo insists that the show will make them rich and famous. As his speech continues, he becomes increasingly excited and crazed (a motif previously used in "Sell! Sell! Sell!"). He practically explodes in a burst of patriotism and enthusiasm. As a heavenly choir swells, the CBS logo rises in the background. After Leo's powerful speech, Kermit returns from off-screen and shrugs, "What the hell was that all about?"—a line Henson had written at the last minute, scrawling the line in pencil across the bottom of his script.
While CBS did not pick up the series, Henson continued to use the reel to pitch the show to other networks, co-producers and syndicates.
An excerpt of Leo's speech from the reel was included on Disney's The Muppet Show: Season One DVD box set.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Jim Henson: The Biography by Brian Jay Jones (page 220-221)
- ↑ Jim Henson's Red Book -- 8/30/1975 -- "In LA shooting Kermit for CBS presentation tape"