Melissa Peterman

Melissa Margaret Peterman (born July 1, 1971) is an American actress and comedian who is best known for her role as Barbra Jean in the television comedy series Reba.[1] Peterman has appeared as Bonnie Wheeler in the ABC Family/Freeform series Baby Daddy, and as host of ABC Family's Dancing Fools, ABC's Bet on Your Baby, and CMT's The Singing Bee.

Melissa Peterman
Peterman in 2017
Melissa Margaret Peterman

(1971-07-01) July 1, 1971
Edina, Minnesota
OccupationActress, television host, comedian
Years active1996–present
John Brady (m. 1999)

Life and career

Early Life

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 and Fargo

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.[2] The theater boasts such alumni as Pat Proft, Louie Anderson, Cedric Yarbrough, Mo Collins and Al Franken.[3] While with the Brave New Workshop, she also performed at the Chicago Improv Festival and the Big Stink Comedy Festival in Austin, Texas.

In 1996, Peterman made her film debut as "Hooker #2" in the Oscar-winning Coen brothers' movie Fargo.

2001–06: Reba and other appearances

In 2001, Peterman was cast as Barbra Jean Booker-Hart in Reba opposite country music singer Reba McEntire and television veteran Christopher Rich. The show was the most-watched comedy on The WB in its debut season.[4] In 2007, the show ended its run after six seasons. Episodes continue to air in syndication on multiple networks.[5]

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.[6] 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.[7] 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, with an almost-identical comedy routine, 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.[8] 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.[9] 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. The show has gone on for over four seasons. 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.[10]

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.[11] 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.[12] The special was taped before an audience in Nashville, Tennessee. Also that year, Peterman hosted the CMT Music Awards red carpet.[13]

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.[14] 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.[15] The series was canceled after one season.[16]

2012–17: Baby Daddy 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.[17] The network also revealed the pilot was the highest-testing comedy pilot in network history.[18] Baby Daddy finished its season as the highest-rated comedy in key demographics.[19] 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.[20] The competition series debuts Saturday, April 6. In February 2013, ABC Family announced Peterman was also the host of another upcoming competition, Dancing Fools.[21] The series debuts Wednesday, May 29, immediately following Baby Daddy.

Since 2019, Peterman hosts the comedy game show Punch Line, where two teams of comedians try to supply punchlines to various headlines.

Personal life

Peterman married John Brady on June 5, 1999, and their son was born October 20, 2005. She was a bridesmaid at Reba co-star JoAnna Garcia Swisher's wedding, along with Reba McEntire. She works with The Unusual Suspects Theatre Company, a non-profit organization helping at-risk youth in the Los Angeles area.[22]


Year Title Role Notes
1996 Fargo Hooker #2 Film debut
2001 How High Shelia Cain
2003 Recipe For Disaster Gigi Grant TV movie
2006 Cook-Off Nancy Shmaedeke Unreleased
2009 Dirty Politics Rita Breaux Unreleased
2012 Here Comes the Boom Lauren Voss
2014 Muffin Top: A Love Story Kim
Year Title Role Notes
2000 Just Shoot Me Claire Episode "Choosing to Be Super"
Normal, Ohio Pamela Unused footage
2001–2007 Reba Barbra Jean Booker Hart Series Regular (120 episodes)
2003 The Pitts Shirley/Shelly Episode: "Pilot"
2003–2004 The Pyramid Herself 7 episodes
2004 Johnny Bravo Becky Episode: "Wilderness Protection Program"
2006 Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide Mrs. Splitz Episode: "Failing & Tutors
Exploring Space: The Quest for Life Associate producer
2007 CMT Comedy Stage Host 8 episodes
2008 American Dad! Sister Mary Episode: "Office Spaceman"
Living with Abandon Rachelle TV film
Untitled Cedric the Entertainer Project Marci Wittman TV film
2009 Rita Rocks Jennifer 5 episodes
2009 Surviving Suburbia Mrs. Munice 3 Episodes
2009–2012 The Singing Bee Host 46 episodes
2010 CMT Hot 20 Countdown Herself 1 episode
2010–present Pretty: The Series Candy 5 episodes
2011 Working Class Carli Mitchell Series Regular (12 episodes)
Producer (12 episodes)
2012 The Pyramid Herself 5 episodes
Retired at 35 Julia 1 episodes
2012–2017 Baby Daddy Bonnie Wheeler Series Regular (100 episodes)
2013–2014 Bet on Your Baby Host 16 episodes
2013 Dancing Fools Host 8 episodes
2014 Miss USA Herself Judge
Deal with It Herself Season 3 episode 4: "Melissa Peterman and Sarah Colonna"
2015–2016 Celebrity Name Game Herself Celebrity guest
2016 Home & Family Guest Host
The $100,000 Pyramid Herself/Celebrity Guest Season 1 Episode: Melissa Peterman vs. Steve Schirripa
Celebs React Herself 2 episodes
2016–2017 Valerie's Home Cooking Herself
2017 Worst Cooks in America Herself Contestant
Celebrity edition
2018–present Young Sheldon Brenda Sparks Recurring role
2019 Sydney to the Max Mrs. Harris Episode: “Good Grade Hunting”and " Never Been Pierced "
2019 A Gingerbread Romance Linda Hallmark Channel Original Movie
2019 Last Man Standing Celia Powers Episode: “Yass Queen”


  1. Melissa Peterman Biography
  2. "Melissa Peterman". CMT Press. Archived from the original on 2014-12-15. Retrieved 2013-03-14.
  3. "Brave New Workshop – Alumni". Brave New Workshop Comedy Theatre. Archived from the original on 2013-03-06. Retrieved 2013-03-14.
  4. "How did your favorite show rate?". USA Today. 2002-05-08. Archived from the original on 2015-10-15. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
  5. "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.
  6. "Cedric the Entertainer's ABC Pilot Lands Two More Actors". Movie Web. 2007-10-12. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
  7. "Development Update: Week of December 17–21". The Futon Critic. 2007-12-21. Retrieved 2013-03-14.
  8. "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.
  9. "October 29, 2008". Melissa Peterman. 2009-10-29. Retrieved 2013-03-14.
  10. " to Premiere New Comedy Web Series 'Dusty Peacock' on Monday, July 13th". 2009-07-09. Retrieved 2009-08-18.
  11. "BMR Signs Melissa Peterman". Big Machine Records. 2010-02-23. Archived from the original on 2010-01-11. Retrieved 2010-02-23.
  12. "'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.
  13. "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.
  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.
  15. "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.
  16. "CMT Cancels 'Working Class' Sitcom". The Hollywood Reporter. 2011-04-11. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
  17. "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.
  18. "ABC Family Picks Up New Comedy And Reality Series, Renews 'American Teenager'". Deadline. 2012-02-02. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
  19. "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.
  20. "ABC Orders Parenting Game Show 'Bet On Your Baby'". The Hollywood Reporter. 2013-01-30. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
  21. "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.
  22. Paras, Tess. Hollywood Journal, 2013
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