Today, also known as The Today Show, is a daily morning news and talk program on NBC. Debuting in January 1952, it is also the third-longest running American television series.
The Muppets were frequent guests on Today in the early 1960s, doing local cut-ins for the show from Washington, D.C. They performed sketches from Sam and Friends; Jim Henson and Jane Nebel were also interviewed occasionally.
Decades later, the Muppets still make regular appearances on the show to promote current projects. Miss Piggy has had a particularly stormy past on the show; she seems to have a romantic history with co-host Matt Lauer, and she's had dust-ups with hosts Katie Couric and Meredith Vieira. Elmo has also had a long standing flirtation with news anchor Ann Curry.
The Muppets have also played host to the Today hosts -- Lauer, Natalie Morales and weatherman Al Roker have all appeared on Sesame Street. Willard Scott and Jane Pauley were guests on The Jim Henson Hour in episode 103, when Fozzie Bear visited the set of Today. Matt Lauer interviewed Cookie Monster on Sesame Street's Episode 4115 about the "Veggie Monster" controversy.
The Muppets appeared regularly once or twice a month in 1961 (often via satellite) which became weekly appearances by the end of 1962. Following Jim Henson's move to New York City in January 1963, the Muppets made 24 appearances on Today in the first half of the year.
- January 19, 1961
- January 30, 1961
- Two Face West
- The Last Time I Saw Paris
- Down the Drain
- April 10, 1961
- August 28, 1961
- Who's on First
- I Went to Your Wedding
- Huntley - Brinkley
- March 30, 1962
- Weather Warehouse
- April Showers Bit
- Concerto for Caliope
- String Quartet Bit
- July 5, 1962
- The Robot
- The Peony Bush
- That Old Black Magic
- September 13, 1962
- Visual Thinking
- Political Pot - Tammy
- Bowling Bit
- October 2, 1962
- I've Grown Accustomed to Your Face
- Poetry & Music Bit (Pokemoke City Culture Center)
- October 31, 1962
- Kermit & His Ghost Bit (Me and My Shadow)
- The Robot
- November 29, 1962
- Little Women Bit (Ladybug #1)
- Tammy's Card Game Bit
- December 6, 1962
- Ladybug Bit #2
- Wild Bill Hiccup
- December 27, 1962
- What Are You Doing New Year's Eve? (Thurs. Morn. Joust)
- Drill Team
- January 2, 1963
- Charles the Poet
- January 8, 1963
- Dog Philosopher - Rowlf
- Mona Lisa Bit - Kermit
- January 16, 1963
- Tammy's Political Pot
- Yes, We Have No Bananas (Musical Fruit Stand)
- January 24, 1963
- Huntley-Brinkley (3rd vers.)
- Limbo Waking Up Bit
- January 30, 1963
- February 7, 1963
- Dog Music Bit - Rowlf & Bask
- Glow Worm
- Horse Named Bill (Co-op)
- February 13, 1963
- Crystal Ball Bit - Tammy & Kermit
- Face in the Palm - Limbo
- I Went to Your Wedding
- February 21, 1963
- Track Meet Bit
- TV History Lesson Bit
- March 8, 1963
- J.F.K. Phone Call to Tinkerdee aka "The Rulers of Tinkerdee"
- Boxing Bit - Rowlf & Bask
- That Old Black Magic (Co-op)
- March 20, 1963
- Average American Muppet (live)
- "Outside the Window" (Kermit & Mildred)
- Tammy Fashion Show (live)
- April 3, 1963
- April 9, 1963
- Tammy's Popover Recipe
- Explaining Baseball Bit
- April 18, 1963
- Fish Lecture
- Visual Thinking
- Cry Me a River (Co-op)
- April 22, 1963
- Today Show Parody
- Got to Get to Your House
- Peony Bush (Co-op)
- May 20, 1963
- Rowlf's Flower
- Kermit and the Robot
- Cecilia (Co-op)
- May 29, 1963
- Idea Man
- Panel Discussion: What is Beauty?
- Two Face West (Co-op)
- June 3, 1963
- Political Underdog
- Toccata & Feud
- Yellow Rose of Texas (Co-op)
- June 10, 1963
- Kermit's proposal (Part I)
- Kermit's Proposal (Part II)
- June l8, 1963
|April 3, 1974|
Ernie and Bert get interviewed by Gene Shalit. Bert announces he's going to be an interviewer on the show, but Ernie informs him that he'll need a disguise so he won't be recognized on the street, so Bert dresses as Gene Shalit.
|January 12, 1977|
Jim Henson does the Today Show for the 45th time, along with Frank Oz. Kermit the Frog appears in his reporter attire to introduce the station break with Gene Shalit. After their performance of "Java", Shalit interviews Henson and Oz, who are joined briefly by Kermit the Frog and Grover; Shalit asks whether the two are rivals.
|August 8, 1977|
Gene Shalit interviews Kermit the Frog, Fozzie Bear, and Miss Piggy, and later Jim Henson, who talks about their worldwide appeal, and Frank Oz talks about "Halfway Down the Stairs".
|September 8, 1977|
Shalit asks Kermit and Piggy how they feel about each other. Kermit complains that the green room is actually brown. Piggy says she'd give Shalit a poke which Shalit jests as a poke-chop; Piggy karate chops him in response.
|September 26, 1979|
Phil Donahue interviews Dr. Dorothy Singer, co-director of Yale University's Family TV-Research Centre, and Edward Palmer, VP of Research for CTW about the effectiveness of the program. Palmer feels a study's suggestion Sesame Street causes hyperactivity is unfair; the study also looked at Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.
|April 17, 1980|
|August 18, 1980|
|July 27, 1981|
Tom Brokaw in London interviews Jim Henson and Frank Oz about their careers with the Muppets. Upcoming movie is titled "Dark Crystal" and introduces a new, different kind of creature. They say they are at a loss to comprehend Miss Piggy's popularity. They regard commercial spinoffs from the Muppets as secondary. Their emphasis is on entertainment from the heart. Segment created while Today was in Britain, covering the Royal wedding. Peter Ustinov appeared on the program later.
|March 15, 1982|
Kermit and Jim Henson appear; Kermit sings "Bein' Green."
|December 7, 1982|
A taped segment starts with clips of Ernie and Bert, Kermit the Frog riding a bicycle, Yoda, E.T. walking down an aisle at the premiere. It then shows behind the scenes production of Dark Crystal, and masks used in production. Producer Gary Kurtz notes that Jim Henson has been "granted artistic freedom" by the movie, and reassures viewers that while successful, the puppets will not fully replace human actors.
|December 8, 1982|
Pretaped piece with Jim Henson discussing how the creatures were created and manipulated for the film. Producer Gary Kurtz mentions the technical issues encountered in filming.
|December 14, 1982|
Jim Henson appears in a live interview, and discusses The Dark Crystal: its all-puppet cast, the choice of Panavision to capture detail, crediting Frank Oz for creative input, mentioning the Muppets will continue, and Kermit will not marry Miss Piggy.
|July 11, 1984|
Willard Scott introduces Gene Shalit's interview with Jim Henson, which starts with Henson throwing out a nod to Scott about having begun his career working with him at WRC-TV. Henson is promoting the company's new film, The Muppets Take Manhattan, which Shalit says is a refreshing break from the summer's crop of terrible movies. This launches into a discussion about violence on the screen in contemporary cinema. Later, Kermit stops in for an interview (he's even miked on his collar), and receives the usual volley of questions about the rumors concerning a marriage and on-again/off-again relationship with Miss Piggy.
|July 24, 1985
Big Bird appears prior to the release of Follow That Bird.
|March 16, 1986|
Director Jim Henson interviewed about Labyrinth. In the interview, he says he loves to perform, and he is comfortable directing large films. The new movie is noted as more comical than Dark Crystal. Henson says scenes were tailored to what Bowie would do musically, and that Jennifer Connelly was exactly what he was looking for in an actress. In an interview, Connelly tells that she has gotten used to talking to "Muppets", noting each creature is believable. The segment ends with Henson, who "maintains he knows how to handle creatures in his films." Behind the scenes clips are interspliced.
|April 29, 1986|
Jim Henson appears on the set of Labyrinth.
|June 25, 1986|
Jim Henson assures viewers that Labyrinth is a family film.
|June 30, 1986|
Jennifer Connelly appears on Today to talk about her career, including newly released film Labyrinth.
|July 1, 1986|
Gene Shalit gives Labyrinth an unfavorable review.
|January 27, 1987|
Gene Shalit interviews Jim Henson about The StoryTeller.
|November 14, 1988|
|April 14, 1989|
|May 4, 1990|
Kermit and Miss Piggy appear to promote The Muppets at Walt Disney World. Tension between the two rises and reaches a boiling point when Piggy blurts out that their relationship isn't working. She then karate chops both Kermit and Deborah Norville and storms off set. This appearance was planned as part of the short-lived "Pig of the Nineties" campaign, which was halted with the death of Jim Henson less than two weeks later. Kermit referenced the appearance when he appeared on The Arsenio Hall Show the same day, and a clip of it was featured in a special edition of MSNBC's Time and Again.
|November 9, 1990|
|October 28, 1993|
|April 16, 1996|
|October 17, 1997|
Matt Lauer interviews Miss Piggy about her new book, Miss Piggy's Rules.
|January 1, 1998|
The morning after New Year's Eve, Miss Piggy breaks up with her New Year's date, Matt Lauer. Some rats appear as well, with one taking over a camera, another leading a tour of the studio for other rats, and "Weatherrat Al Rodent". (video)
Miss Piggy appears (earless) to promote her new perfume, Moi.
|November 15, 1998|
|March 8, 1999|
Roscoe Orman and Elmo appear to promote Art From the Fuzzy and Famous.
Katie Couric interviews Kermit the Frog in studio while conversing with Gonzo out on the street with a crowd (including Stephanie D'Abruzzo). Gonzo wears his broadcast helmet from Muppets from Space promoting the imminent release of the movie to American cinemas.
|February 14, 2001|
|June 12, 2001|
Kermit and Gonzo celebrate the 25th anniversary of The Muppet Show
|January 14, 2002|
|November 29, 2002|
Ann Curry interviews Kermit, promoting It's a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie, set for its broadcast debut that evening.
|September 21, 2005|
|December 28, 2005|
|May 16, 2006|
With the announced departure of Katie Couric, assorted celebrities tape segments offering their farewells. Miss Piggy and Kermit appear on May 16, and Piggy takes offense at Kermit's sign: "Hey Matt, want a pig?" On May 25, Elmo shows up to offer his own goodbyes, following General Norman Schwarzkopf.
|August 14, 2006|
|September 6, 2006|
|September 14, 2006|
Miss Piggy thinks that she's the new co-host, and not Meredith Vieira. And if that wasn't enough, the poor pig also has to deal with bacon breath.
|January 5, 2007|
Miss Piggy pops out of the roughly four-foot-tall cake and sings "Happy Anchorversary" to Matt Lauer, in celebration of Lauer's 10th anniversary on the program.
|February 2, 2007|
Elmo appears to celebrate his birthday and talks about his Walk-around Bookstore Tour to promote childhood literacy
|February 7, 2007|
|May 10, 2007|
After a retrospective video looking at Ann Curry's 10 years on The Today Show, Elmo appears in a live segment from Italy wishing Ann well. The cast escort Curry to a short wall, from which Cookie Monster pops out from behind. Cookie pulls out a plate of cookies, presents Ann with a bouquet of flowers, then calls in "Lou" to bring a case with an engraved necklace. As Ann hugs her co-hosts, Cookie starts to chow down on his cookies, before being hugged mid-eat by Ann.
|August 7, 2007|
|August 10, 2007|
Elmo promotes Season 38 of Sesame Street.
|December 25, 2007|
Elmo, Abby and Grover appear and sing "We Need a Little Christmas."
|July 29, 2008|
Hoda Kotb and Kathie Lee Gifford talk to Kermit and Miss Piggy about the first Studio DC: Almost Live. Before the segment, Gifford apparently tried to provoke Miss Piggy, so she would react during the segment. After talking to the two about the guests, Piggy discusses her fitness regimen, shopping, and Kermit mentions he chases his food with his tongue. After discussing their relationship, Hoda asks Miss Piggy what she thinks of the fourth hour of The Today Show: "I've never watched it."
|November 13, 2008|
"The Muppets Take Over Today" — Muppet characters appear, taking over the program for a full half hour, 8:00 to 8:30 am EST. The appearance "perhaps not coincidentally" corresponded to the launch of The Muppet Whatnot Workshop. Scattered appearances continued throughout the program. Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy appear, with Christopher Meloni, and Harry Connick Jr. as fellow guests.
|November 27, 2008|
The Muppets appear in a cooking segment on Thanksgiving. A Whatnot version of Al Roker is set to host the "cooking turkey" segment until a live turkey appears, explaining that they're actually doing a "cooking with a turkey" presentation. The turkey prepares a steak via a George Foreman grill, but a passing bull is shocked by what he sees, and sadly questions the steak: "Mama?!" Al happily closes the segment as the bull runs away in tears.
|December 17, 2008|
Miss Piggy appears to plug A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa. She reveals that she asked Santa for "one of those 25 billion dollar bailouts that the government's giving out." She explains that in the special she's furious at Kermit for canceling their vacation. Asked if she eventually forgives Kermit and gets in the holiday spirit, Piggy snaps, "Look, this is a holiday special. It has a happy ending, all right? It's okay. And plus, I could never stay mad at my Kermie. No. I like to think of him as mistletoe with webbed feet." Asked whether she's ever written a letter to Santa, Piggy says, "Oh, well, yes, of course I have. Look, I wouldn't leave any stone unturned when it comes to getting Christmas presents."
|February 6, 2009|
Miss Piggy appears to promote The Diva Code.
|April 2, 2009|
Elmo appears in his green version to promote his new DVD Being Green.
|May 14, 2009|
Zoe appears to celebrate the announcement of Sesame Street’s Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
|September 6, 2009|
|September 8, 2009|
|November 6, 2009|
|December 3, 2009|
Kermit and Piggy appear. Miss Piggy is sick and sneezing, but insists it isn't swine flu. (video)
|May 3, 2010|
Elmo appears to promote The Best of Elmo 2. During a promotional bumper, Elmo appears with Betty White, giving the former "Golden Girl" a kiss. Elmo also continued his longtime flirtation with Ann Curry, and talked about his new friend Memorybot.
|June 8, 2010|
|June 7, 2012|
|August 9, 2012|
|October 2, 2012|
|October 15, 2013|
Brian Jay Jones, author of Jim Henson: The Biography, and Frank Oz discuss the life and work of Jim Henson. Originally scheduled on September 24 as a live interview but ultimately prepared as a longer feature with narration and interviews by Willie Geist.
|March 19, 2014|
|February 13, 2015|
|May 6, 2015|
Caroll Spinney is interviewed by corespondent Jenna Bush Hager in promotion with the documentary I Am Big Bird. The segment features excerpts of Spinney at work on a Sesame Street episode for Season 46.
|November 30, 2015|
Grover and Big Bird help Dylan Dreyer forecast the weather. They are joined by Abby Cadabby, Elmo, and Cookie Monster appearing to promote the Everyday Heroes Club at sesameheroes.org.
|January 16, 2016|
|December 2, 2016|
Miss Piggy appears to promote her Kate Spade New York collection, and #missadventure appearance with Zosia Mamet, her relationship status with Kermit, and how she's moving on by dating as many men, who are not Kermit, as possible (but not at the same time), and running into Matt Lauer's car.
|January 5, 2017|
"Sesame Street Takeover" — Big Bird acts as stage manager, Oscar directs, Elmo takes over camera 3, and Cookie Monster and Abby appear for an unplanned cooking segment. Grover and Rosita also appear later on, in promotion with Sesame Street’s 47th season. A behind-the-scenes segment on the new Elmo's World is shown, featuring interviews with Brown Johnson and focus group researchers.
|February 13, 2017|
Super Grover appears to help free Dean Cain and Kathie Lee from their locked dressing room. Meanwhile, Elmo and Abby Cadabby host the Today's Talk segment, and Big Bird appears to talk about the Yellow Feather Fund.
|March 27, 2017|
Abby Cadabby, Julia and Sherrie Westin appear to promote the "Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children" initiative. (link)
|July 20, 2017|
Steve Whitmire, fresh off the announcement that he was fired from performing for the Muppets, is interviewed to tell his side of the story.
|August 4, 2017|
|November 8, 2017|
Megyn Kelly visits the Sesame Street set and interviews Alan, Elmo, Zoe, Abby, Telly and the Count. Rosemarie Truglio joins Kelly in-studio, along with Big Bird, Elmo, Rosita, Cookie Monster, Abby, Bert and Ernie. (video)
|November 8, 2018|
A pre-recorded segment is shown featuring Today hosts Savannah Guthrie, Hoda Kotb and Dylan Dreyer bringing their children to the Sesame Street set to meet Big Bird, Elmo, Grover, Abby Cadabby and Cookie Monster. Big Bird, Elmo and Abby also appear live in-studio to talk with the hosts.
|December 14, 2018|
|July 1, 2019|
In an online exclusive video filmed at the newly renovated Sesame Place, Sonia Manzano and Alan Muraoka reflect on the impact of Sesame Street in its 50 years on the air, their roles on the show, and their favorite guest stars.
|October 10, 2019|
|October 21, 2019|
The Sesame Street Muppets (Elmo, Abby, Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Rosita, Ernie, Bert, Oscar, Grover, and the Count) appeared to promote the 50th season and the 50th anniversary special. During the 3rd hour, Anything Muppet caricatures of anchors Al Roker (Noel MacNeal), Sheinelle Jones (Kathleen Kim), Craig Melvin (Christopher Hayes), and Dylan Dreyer (Leslie Carrara-Rudolph) appeared.
|November 17, 2019|
The show's Sunday Spotlight story, titled "The Power of Sesame Street," features narration and interviews by Kristen Dahlgren with Sherrie Westin, Elmo, and Abby Cadabby.
|February 12, 2020|
|March 11, 2020|
|April 15, 2020|
|June 23, 2021|
|October 22, 2021|
The NBC special Time and Again featured clips from a number of Henson appearances over the years, some of which were not dated.
Katie Couric violently strangles Miss Piggy (archive clips shown in the January 14, 2002 episode for the show's 50th anniversary, and the NBC documentary Time and Again).
Elmo, Cookie Monster, Zoe, Telly, and Rosita make an appearance during the holidays.
- In Muppets Tonight episode 103, Bobo the Bear greets Sal Minella by saying "Hold it up there, J. Fred Muggs." Muggs was a trained chimpanzee who appeared on The Today Show from 1953 until 1957, and was included in Animal Planet's 50 Greatest TV Animals.
- The Sesame Street video Learning to Share parodies the program as "Cooperation Today," hosted by Katie Couric who gives reports themed around sharing and working together.
- In a Sesame Street segment (First: Episode 4115), Matt Lauer interviews Cookie Monster about the "Veggie Monster" rumors, which Cookie denies. The music playing during the segment is a parody of morning show themes, based around the "Sesame Street Theme" and features a logo based on Today's.
- Jim Henson's Red Book 1/23/1963 – ‘Moved to NY.’
- Henson Archives document
- Time and Again
- NBC Universal Archives- Jan. 30, 1963 archive summary
- Jim Henson's Red Book 6/–/1962 – ‘Videotaped “Tales of the Tinkerdee” Atlanta’
- Jim Henson's Red Book "10/29/1968 – ‘Tonight Show – “Beautiful Day”.’"
- Jim's Red Book - 8/7/1979 ATV closes down on strike - after minor strikes
- Archival script displayed in The Jim Henson Exhibition at the Museum of the Moving Image
- Jim Henson's Red Book 4/3/1974 – TODAY Show – Bert as Gene Shalit.
- Jim Henson's Red Book 1/12/11
- Jim Henson's Red Book 4/17/1980 – To Today Show – pipes – say hi to Willard Scott.
- excerpts included in Time and Again
- "Weekday mornings", Toronto Star, 20 July 1985, page 16.
- MSN.com archive "The ANN-iversary" (2007-05-10)
- MSN.com archive "Still stealing the stage, after all these years" (2007-08-07)
- "Today: July 29, 2008", listing on TV.com.
- Danielle Brennan, "THE MUPPETS TAKE OVER TODAY", Live from Studio 1A, November 13, 2008.
- MSNBC.com video: part 1, part 2.
- Brian Jay Jones's blog September 21, 2013
- Brian Jay Jones's blog October 10, 2013
- YouTube - Miss Piggy on the Today Show, September 14, 2006
- Rina Raphael, "Miss Piggy: Obama should make poodle First Pet", The Today Show, Nov. 12, 2008. Link include seven videos, the first three from this episode, the rest from previous appearances.
- "Miss Piggy still stealing the show"
- "The Morning After" - ToughPigs transcript of Miss Piggy's 1998 Today appearance