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Thankful for the way Miss Piggy saved Tony Bennett from falling, Freeform names her their first-ever Ambassador of Cheer

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Thankful for the way Miss Piggy saved Tony Bennett from falling, Freeform names her their first-ever Ambassador of Cheer

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Never mind about that Grinch who stole Christmas. Have you heard about the pig who saved a national treasure on Thanksgiving morning?

Those of you who watched last month's live broadcast of Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on NBC surely remember this moment. To herald the arrival of Saint Nick at Macy's Herald Square store, Tony Bennett & Miss Piggy had just finished singing "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." And then -- as the parade float that these two entertainment icons had been performing on got ready to continue on down 34th Street -- it suddenly lurched. Which then caused Tony to lose his balance.

Just for a second there, it looked like this 90 year-old Kennedy Center Honoree was going to take a header. But then Miss Piggy - making use of lightning-fast reflexes (that she says have been " ... honed from years of karate and haute couture trunk show shopping" - quickly reached out and steadied Mr. Bennett. Which then prevented millions of people viewing at home from witnessing a Turkey Day tragedy.

"Oh, it was nothing," Miss Piggy said earlier this week. "And I assure you, Tony would have done the same for moi if the situation was reversed. In fact, Tony has kept me from falling many times - but I'm saving the details of that for my forthcoming as-yet-unwritten tell-all memoir."

"He's a national treasure. I'd do anything for him," Piggy continued. 

Given that Miss Piggy committed this heroic act late last month on live television ... Well, is it any wonder that Freeform decided to make her their very first Ambassador of Cheer. Which means that Piggy and some of her fellow Muppets will be prominently featured in promos that will air throughout Freeform's "25 Days of Christmas" programming event.

Copyright Freeform. All rights reserved

"25DOC is Freeform's biggest annual event. Every year, 100 million viewers come to our network to watch the greatest holiday classics and spread good cheer," explained Nigel Cox-Hagen, senior vice president of Marketing, Creative and Branding for Freeform. "To celebrate our 20th year of sharing the spirit of Christmas, we needed a star who could appeal to an incredibly broad audience. A mega talent whose name is synonymous with joy, laughter and warmth."

"Given that steep criteria, the choice was obvious. Miss Piggy is a global phenomenon beloved by people of all ages, a film and TV megastar, a hugely popular recording artist, comedienne and fashion icon, as well as a highly trained martial artist. The choice could not have been clearer," Cox-Hagen continued.

As you might expect, when Miss Piggy learned that Freeform wanted to make her their first-ever Ambassador of Cheer, she was thrilled.

Copyright Freeform. All rights reserved

"I'm an enormous fan of Freeform's annual "25 Days of Christmas" celebration. So when they offered moi this Ambassadorial appointment, I just had to say yes! It's so much fun!  I get to joyfully spread the spirit of the season, be seen on-air repeatedly, and best of all, I can practice my Ambassadorial wave! It's exactly like my Royal wave - slow, side to side, with just a hint of a quiver - except I don't have to wear as much jewelry," Piggy enthused.

So did Miss Piggy prove to be a bit of a camera hog while shooting her  Ambassador of Cheer segments? Nigel was quick to dispel those nasty rumors.

"Miss Piggy couldn't have been nicer or more professional," Cox-Hagen insisted. "But like any great star, she is a perfectionist. Her lighting and hair had to meet her demanding (and always correct) specifications. Her acting process is very intense, and no one could approach her while she was getting into the holiday spirit. Like I said, she is a highly trained martial artist."

Miss Piggy and First Lady Michelle Obama read "Twas the Night Before Christmas" at
last year's lighting of the National Christmas Tree. 

Of course, those who are familiar with Miss Piggy's resume know that she has already appeared in a number of other high profile, holiday-related projects. These include 1979's "John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together," 1987's "A Muppet Family Christmas," 1992's "A Muppet Christmas Carol,"2002's "It's a Very Muppet Christmas Movie" & 2008's "A Muppet Christmas: Letters to Santa." Not to mention the number of times that Kermit & Piggy took part in the lighting of the Christmas Tree at NYC's Rockefeller Center.   Miss Piggy also read "Twas the Night Before Xmas" with First Lady Michelle Obama last year for the National Christmas Tree Lighting.

Speaking of the Frog: Given that it's been more than a year now since Kermit & Piggy officially broke up, I asked how that was impacting her holiday plans.

"Well, now that I'm a romantic free agent, I'll be spending a lot of time hanging around the eggnog bowl beneath a large sprig of mistletoe," Piggy sighed. "Don't get too excited: It's invitation only."

Copyright 1992 Walt Disney Pictures. All rights reserved

Quickly changing the subject, Miss Piggy then began to reflect on happier times.

"Oh, I have such marvelous memories of all those specials and special occasions. I love them all, especially 'The Muppet Christmas Carol' - for which I was this close to receiving an Oscar nomination and finally beating out Streep for Best Actress," she recalled.

"But I have to say, I think my favorite holiday project was my first: 'John Denver and The Muppets: A Christmas Together.' I was still in the first years of being an ingénue, and everything was new and wonderful. I love all those projects you mentioned, but that first Christmas appearance, spending it with John and the other Muppets, will always have an extra special place in my heart," Piggy stated.

And speaking of other Muppets ... Don't be surprised if some of Piggy's pals pop up on Freeform over the course of that network's "25 Days of Christmas" to help her with her Ambassador of Cheer duties.

"I don't want to give away too much, but a few of her co-stars did pop by and got into the spirit of the season," Cox-Hagen explained. "In 'Mistletoe' Gonzo lent his incredible talents to the piece, but found out very quickly that Miss Piggy no longer believes in workplace romance.  Her 'Snow' co-star 'Dr. Bunsen Honeydew', played a pivotal role in her big 'Freeform Ambassador' announcement, but things quickly snowballed and the announcement had to be cut short.  And 'fer sure' Janice brought along some organic treats in 'Santa Piggy' but 'organic treats' may not be Kosher for 'The Misses'.  Finally, everybody loves 'Presents', and  Miss Piggy deserves them more than most but  she got so wrapped up in the season that Animal's 'Bunny' may be filing a workman's comp claim."

And speaking of presents: As our interview drew to a close, Miss Piggy shoves a print-out in my hand. Which - as she explained - was " ... Moi's Christmas Gift Request List. If you can't decide what to get me, feel free to choose more than one."

"And what exactly is on Miss Piggy's Christmas wish list this year?," you ask.

"Well, I handed you Moi's Christmas Gift Request List. If you'd finish this interview and read it, you'd know exactly what I want," Piggy huffed as she pushed me out of her trailer. "Spoiler Alert: chocolate, jewelry & handsome beaus are, once again, at the top of the list. But not in that order."

This article was originally published by the Huffington Post on Wednesday, December 7, 2016

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