Here's why certain Muppet Show episodes are missing from Disney+
The good news: The vast majority of The Muppet Show is now available to stream for the first time ever. The (slightly) bad news: Not all of The Muppet Show is now available to stream.
While more than 100 of the beloved series' 120 episodes are now streaming in full on Disney+, eagle-eyed viewers may have noticed some edits and omissions when the show debuted on the streaming service Friday. Most notably, two episodes from season 5 — featuring guest stars Brooke Shields and Chris Langham — are entirely absent from Disney+. (The first season's episode featuring Kaye Ballard was also missing when the series debuted on Friday, but has been restored; a Disney+ representative said its omission was simply a mistake.)
Meanwhile, major edits have been made to season 2's entry with Don Knotts, omitting the centerpiece musical number "Lullaby of Birdland" and all references to it, and assorted other songs and sketches are missing from certain episodes. (A devoted Reddit user assembled a seemingly complete list of edits here.)
A representative for Disney+ confirmed to EW that most of the missing pieces can be attributed to issues securing music rights. This comes as no surprise; difficulties with licensing the many songs performed on The Muppet Show kept much of the series from releasing on home video for years. Indeed, the season 1 DVD released by Disney in 2005 omitted several songs; all of those segments have been restored on Disney+.
The Chris Langham episode, however, is a thornier issue. Langham was a staff writer on The Muppet Show who stepped in as a guest star when Richard Pryor dropped out at the last minute. Langham is also a convicted sex offender; in 2007, he was found guilty of possessing child pornography and spent six months in prison. It's possible this has something to do with his episode's absence; however, Disney declined to comment on the matter.
Still, that the majority of The Muppet Show is streaming is a feat in itself, and it's quite possible that the Brooke Shields episode and the other missing segments could be restored in the future. In the meantime, there are 118 episodes of the most sensational, inspirational, celebrational, Muppetational to enjoy to your heart's content.