Muppets Tonight is an updated version of The Muppet Show, set in a television studio. The show aired in 1996 on ABC, and was cancelled after ten episodes had aired. The full run of 22 episodes aired on Disney Channel from 1997 to 1998.
There have been no commercial releases of the show on DVD or video. Brian Henson has expressed hope for a DVD release of the series after season five of The Muppet Show.
The premise of Muppets Tonight was that Clifford was the host of a variety show on KMUP. Most of the shows stuck closely to the Muppet Show format of various skits interspersed with some sort of backstage story (usually a crisis). The show featured a laugh track, similar to the one used on The Muppet Show. One big difference between the two shows is that on Muppets Tonight, it was much more common for audiences to only see half of an on-stage act (especially musical numbers), as many acts would begin and shortly afterwards would cut to a backstage scene (or a comment from Statler and Waldorf). Another difference is that while each episode of The Muppet Show only had one or two featured guests, and no additional humans appearing on-screen, many episodes of Muppets Tonight often featured cameos by celebrities in addition to the featured guest star. Some of these celebrities also took part in episode subplots. Also, while it was rare for any scenes on The Muppet Show to take place outside of The Muppet Theater, many episodes of Muppets Tonight had scenes taking place outside of the station.
Among the regular sketches were "Bay of Pigswatch"; "Pigs in Space: Deep Dish Nine" (a spin-off from The Muppet Show's "Pigs in Space"); "EIEIO-R"; "Tales from the Vet", and "Great Moments in Elvis History".
Muppets Tonight introduced many new Muppet characters, including Pepe the King Prawn, Johnny Fiama, Sal Minella, Bobo the Bear, Seymour, Spamela Hamderson, and Bill the Bubble Guy. The show also featured regular appearances from classic characters, such as Kermit the Frog, Gonzo, Rizzo the Rat, Statler and Waldorf and Miss Piggy.
Season 1 (ABC):
Season 2 (Disney Channel):