Melissa Margaret Peterman
Edina, Minnesota, U.S.
|Alma mater||Minnesota State University, Mankato|
Melissa Margaret Peterman is an American actress and comedian. She has played the role of Barbra Jean in the television comedy series Reba, appeared as Bonnie Wheeler in the ABC Family/Freeform series Baby Daddy, and was host of ABC Family's Dancing Fools, ABC's Bet on Your Baby, and CMT's The Singing Bee. Since 2017, she has played Brenda Sparks in The Big Bang Theory spinoff series Young Sheldon. Since August 2022, she is the host of the television game show Person, Place, or Thing on the Fox network.
Life and career
Peterman was born in Edina, Minnesota and grew up in nearby Burnsville, Minnesota. After graduating from Burnsville High School, she attended Minnesota State University, Mankato where she majored in theater.
1996–2000: Career launch
Upon graduating from Minnesota State, Peterman was cast as Madeline Monroe in Hey City Theater's production of Tony n' Tina's Wedding. After more than 600 performances, she went on to write and perform at Brave New Workshop, the improvisational comedy theatre in Minneapolis. The theater boasts such alumni as Pat Proft, Louie Anderson, Cedric Yarbrough, Mo Collins, and Al Franken. While with the Brave New Workshop, she also performed at the Chicago Improv Festival and the Big Stink Comedy Festival in Austin, Texas.
2001–06: Reba and other appearances
In 2001, Peterman was cast as Barbra Jean Booker-Hart in Reba opposite country music star Reba McEntire and television veteran Christopher Rich. The show was the most-watched comedy on The WB in its debut season. In 2007, the show ended its run after six seasons. Episodes continue to air in syndication on multiple networks.
During this time, Peterman also returned to film with Recipe for Disaster alongside Lesley Ann Warren and John Larroquette. She also made appearances in How High and the unreleased independent film Cook-Off. Peterman remained loyal to her comic roots, too, as the host of 15 Minutes of Fem, a comedy showcase for women presented at the Egyptian Theatre. On television, she appeared in the Oxygen sketch comedy show Running with Scissors and guest-starred on Just Shoot Me! and The Pitts. She also portrayed an unstable guidance counselor, Mrs. Splitz, on Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide.
During her summer hiatus from Reba, Peterman hosted The Sound of Music Sing-a-Long, reprising her hosting gig the previous summer's The Wizard of Oz Sing-a-Long, at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles. Peterman also made appearances on the World Cup Comedy Challenge television series, as well as on the celebrity edition of Trading Spaces, with her Reba co-star Christopher Rich.
2007–10: Tours, pilots, and The Singing Bee
In October, ABC announced Peterman had been cast in an untitled comedy pilot starring Cedric the Entertainer. The show was taped before an audience on October 30, 2007. In December, the network announced they had secured the actors, indicating they were interested in the project. During the annual upfront presentation on May 13, 2008, ABC confirmed they did not order the pilot to series.
In 2007, Peterman appeared as the opening act on country singer and former Reba co-star Reba McEntire's tour. Peterman returned the following year when McEntire toured with Kelly Clarkson. She was also the opening act for the second leg of the tour in 2008.
In 2007, Peterman hosted Comedy Stage for CMT. The series finished its run after eight episodes. The next year, she hosted a special, Redneck Dreams, for the network. Also in 2008, she was in two episodes of Wanna Bet? as a celebrity panelist. Peterman also appeared in an episode of animated comedy American Dad!. She announced she was shooting another comedy, this time for FOX, titled Living With Abandon. The pilot was not ordered to series.
In 2009, she landed the hosting gig for The Singing Bee. The show had been cancelled by NBC, and CMT expressed interest in reviving the competition. Also in 2009, Peterman appeared in Rita Rocks on Lifetime, and in Surviving Suburbia on ABC. She starred opposite Gary Valentine in Dusty Peacock, an online comedy series on Crackle.
In February 2010, Big Machine Records announced that they signed Peterman to a recording contract, and she was to release her debut comedy album that year. The album has been recorded, but has not yet been released. Peterman is no longer listed on the record label website. Her debut comedy special, Melissa Peterman: Am I The Only One?, premiered March 12, 2010 on CMT. The special was taped before an audience in Nashville, Tennessee. Also that year, Peterman hosted the CMT Music Awards red carpet.
2011: Working Class
Peterman had revealed, in 2010, she was starring in another pilot. The family sitcom, titled Working Class, was the first original scripted comedy for the CMT network. Peterman starred alongside comedy veteran Ed Asner and renowned television actor Patrick Fabian. The series debut was the most-watched and highest-rated in network history. The series was canceled after one season.
2012–22: Baby Daddy, Young Sheldon, and other shows
In 2012, Peterman announced she was appearing in an upcoming ABC Family sitcom, Baby Daddy. In March, the network announced Peterman, originally only appearing in one episode, had been upgraded to series regular. The network also revealed the pilot was the highest-testing comedy pilot in network history. Baby Daddy finished its season as the highest-rated comedy in key demographics. The show has been renewed for a second season, returning Wednesday, May 29. The show ended on May 22, 2017, after six seasons.
In January 2013, ABC ordered Bet On Your Baby and announced Peterman was the host. The competition series debuts Saturday, April 6. In February 2013, ABC Family announced Peterman was also the host of another upcoming competition, Dancing Fools. The series debuts Wednesday, May 29, immediately following Baby Daddy.
Since 2017, Peterman has played Brenda Sparks, a recurring character on the Fox Network show, Young Sheldon. Originally married to Herschel Sparks (Billy Gardell) in seasons 1 and 2, Peterman's character becomes the divorced and single mom next door neighbor to the Cooper family in season 4 and is at times a friend and nemesis to Mary Cooper, played by Zoe Perry. In seasons 4 and 5, Brenda Sparks and George Cooper (Lance Barber) experience a closer relationship that culminates at the end season 5 with Brenda propositioning George.
Beginning in 2019, Peterman hosted the comedy game show Punch Line, where two teams of comedians try to supply punchlines to various headlines. She has also been a recurring guest star on the syndicated game show 25 Words or Less.
Peterman works with The Unusual Suspects Theatre Company, a non-profit organization helping at-risk youth in the Los Angeles area. She has a son named Riley David Brady.
Melissa Peterman added weight in 2005 following the birth of her baby Riley David. The actress committed herself to lose weight by following diet and exercise best practices, and this effort paid off in 2006 when she lost 60 pounds. Peterman also hired a personal trainer who helped her achieve her weight loss goal.
|1996||Fargo||Hooker #2||Film debut|
|2001||How High||Shelia Cain|
|2009||Dirty Politics||Rita Breaux||Unreleased|
|2012||Here Comes the Boom||Lauren Voss|
|2014||Muffin Top: A Love Story||Kim|
|2000||Just Shoot Me||Claire||Episode "Choosing to Be Super"|
|2000||Normal, Ohio||Pamela||Unaired footage|
|2001–07||Reba||Barbra Jean Hart||Series regular, 120 episodes|
|2003||Recipe For Disaster||Gigi Grant||TV movie|
|2003||The Pitts||Shirley/Shelly||Episode: "Pilot"|
|2004||Johnny Bravo||Becky||Episode: "Wilderness Protection Program"|
|2006||Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide||Mrs. Splitz||Episode: "Failing & Tutors"|
|2006||Exploring Space: The Quest for Life||—||Associate producer|
|2007||CMT Comedy Stage||Host||8 episodes|
|2008||American Dad!||Sister Mary||Episode: "Office Spaceman"|
|2008||Living with Abandon||Rachelle||TV movie|
|2008||Untitled Cedric the Entertainer Project||Marci Wittman||TV film|
|2009||Rita Rocks||Jennifer||5 episodes|
|2009||Surviving Suburbia||Mrs. Munice||Episodes: "Project Run Away", "If the Shoe Fits, Steal It" and "School Council"|
|2009–12||The Singing Bee||Host||46 episodes|
|2010||CMT Hot 20 Countdown||Herself||1 episode|
|2010–12, 2015||Pretty the Series||Candy||8 episodes|
|2011||Working Class||Carli Mitchell||Series regular, 12 episodes|
|2012||The Pyramid||Herself||5 episodes|
|2012||Retired at 35||Julia||Episodes: "The Proposal"|
|2012–17||Baby Daddy||Bonnie Wheeler||Series Regular, 100 episodes|
|2013–14||Bet on Your Baby||Host||16 episodes|
|2013||Dancing Fools||Host||8 episodes|
|2014||Deal with It||Herself||Season 3 episode 4: "Melissa Peterman and Sarah Colonna"|
|2015–16||Celebrity Name Game||Herself||Celebrity guest|
|2016||Home & Family||Guest Host|
|2016||The $100,000 Pyramid||Herself/Celebrity Guest||Episode: "Melissa Peterman vs. Steve Schirripa"|
|2016||Celebs React||Herself||2 episodes|
|2016–17||Valerie's Home Cooking||Herself|
|2017||Worst Cooks in America: Celebrity Edition||Herself||Contestant|
|2018–present||Young Sheldon||Brenda Sparks||Recurring role, 21 episodes|
|2019||A Gingerbread Romance||Linda||Hallmark Channel Original Movie|
|2019–20||Sydney to the Max||Mrs. Harris||Episode: "Good Grade Hunting", "Never Been Pierced" and "Mrs. Harris' Opus"|
|2019–20||Last Man Standing||Celia "CeCe" Powers||Episode: "Yass Queen" and "I'm with Cupid"|
|2022||Person, Place, or Thing||Host|
- "CMT : TV Shows : Watch Full Episodes Online : Featured Shows, Schedules and Top 20 Video Countdown". CMT. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
- "Melissa Peterman". CMT Press. Archived from the original on 2014-12-15. Retrieved 2013-03-14.
- "Brave New Workshop – Alumni". Brave New Workshop Comedy Theatre. Archived from the original on 2013-03-06. Retrieved 2013-03-14.
- @@Followtheblonde (February 7, 2020). "Throwback Thursday to when I was a working girl in Fargo. #GoBears #hooker#2 #Fargo #bangsonfleek #dopeoplestillsayonfleek? #stilloneofthecoolestgigs #coenbrothers" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- "How did your favorite show rate?". USA Today. 2002-05-08. Archived from the original on 2015-10-15. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
- "ABC Family Acquires Reba; Remembering Ernest Borgnine, McHale's Navy Marathon on Antenna TV and TCM Films Tribute". 2012-07-09. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
- "Cedric the Entertainer's ABC Pilot Lands Two More Actors". Movie Web. 2007-10-12. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
- "Development Update: Week of December 17–21". The Futon Critic. 2007-12-21. Retrieved 2013-03-14.
- "CMT STEPS UP TO THE MIC WHEN "CMT COMEDY STAGE" PREMIERES FEBRUARY 2". CMT Press. 2007-01-16. Archived from the original on 2011-12-06. Retrieved 2013-03-18.
- "October 29, 2008". Melissa Peterman. 2009-10-29. Retrieved 2013-03-14.
- "Crackle.com to Premiere New Comedy Web Series 'Dusty Peacock' on Monday, July 13th". StreetInsider.com. 2009-07-09. Retrieved 2009-08-18.
- "BMR Signs Melissa Peterman". Big Machine Records. 2010-02-23. Archived from the original on 2010-01-11. Retrieved 2010-02-23.
- "'MELISSA PETERMAN: AM I THE ONLY ONE?' PREMIERES FRIDAY, MARCH 12 ON CMT". CMT Press. 2010-03-05. Archived from the original on 2014-12-15. Retrieved 2013-03-14.
- "MELISSA PETERMAN HOSTS COUNTRY MUSIC'S HOTTEST RED CARPET WHEN THE LIVE "CMT MUSIC AWARDS RED CARPET 2010" PREMIERES WEDNESDAY, JUNE 9". CMT Press. 2010-06-01. Archived from the original on 2014-12-15. Retrieved 2013-03-14.
- "CMT GREENLIGHTS FIRST SITCOM "WORKING CLASS" STARRING MELISSA PETERMAN TO PREMIERE IN JANUARY 2011". CMT Press. 2010-08-10. Archived from the original on 2014-12-15. Retrieved 2013-03-14.
- "REBA REUNITES WITH MELISSA PETERMAN IN AN ALL-NEW EPISODE OF 'WORKING CLASS' PREMIERING FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 4 ON CMT". 2011-02-01. Archived from the original on 2011-12-06. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
- "CMT Cancels 'Working Class' Sitcom". The Hollywood Reporter. 2011-04-11. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
- "ABC Family Announces Jean-Luc Bilodeau ("Kyle XY") Has Been Cast as the Unexpected Father in "Baby Daddy"". The Futon Critic. 2012-03-01. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
- "ABC Family Picks Up New Comedy And Reality Series, Renews 'American Teenager'". Deadline. 2012-02-02. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
- "ABC Family's "Baby Daddy" Wraps as Cable TV's #1 New Comedy of Summer 2012". The Futon Critic. 2012-08-30. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
- "ABC Orders Parenting Game Show 'Bet On Your Baby'". The Hollywood Reporter. 2013-01-30. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
- "ABC Family Continues Its Original Programming Momentum – Network Greenlights Two New Reality Series, "Dancing Fools" and "The Vineyard"". The Futon Critic. 2013-02-13. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
- "A 'Reba' Star Played Jay Leno's Love Interest on 'Last Man Standing' and It Was a Lot". Country Living. 2020-03-02. Retrieved 2020-10-11.
- "Reba McEntire to reunite with Melissa Peterman on new podcast".
- "Hollywood Journal". hollywoodjournal.com. Archived from the original on 2018-12-09. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
- "Melissa Peterman weight loss | Diet and exercise routine - Health Makes You". healthmakesyou.com. 2022-02-03. Retrieved 2022-03-18.