Melissa Margaret Peterman is an American actress and a television presenter who portrayed the character of ‘Barbra Jean’ in the comedy series ‘Reba’. She is also well known for her work as a comedian. She hosted the much popular karaoke game show ‘The Singing Bee’ between 2009 and 2012. Later, she appeared as ‘Bonnie Wheeler’, one of the series regulars, in the ABC sitcom ‘Baby Daddy’. Peterman is a very popular face among the television audience as she has appeared in several hit shows in the 21st century. Peterman has contributed to TV shows like ‘Working Class’ (as an actress and producer) and ‘Bet on Your Baby’ (as a host). She was also part of the shows ‘The Pyramid’, ‘Rita Rock’, and ‘Valerie's Home Cooking’. Unlike her television career, her film career wasn’t much successful. She did not get many opportunities to prove her mettle as a film actress after making her movie debut with a small role in the popular film ‘Fargo’. She appeared in just two films and one television film in her career.
Childhood & Early Life
Melissa Margaret Peterman was born on July 1, 1971, in Edina, Minnesota. She attended Minnesota State University, Mankato. After her graduation, Peterman immersed herself in the world of theatre. She learned acting before entering the show business.
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Theatre has played a major role in Melissa Peterman’s acting career. She appeared in more than 600 theatre shows, including Hey City Theater's production ‘Tony n' Tina's Wedding’ where she was cast as ‘Madeline Monroe’. Eventually, Peterman started writing for The Brave New Workshop Comedy Theater.
After spending a few years writing for and acting in theatres, Peterman finally made her debut on the silver screen in 1996. However, her small role of a ‘hooker’ in the black-comedy crime thriller film ‘Fargo’ didn’t make much impact. She had to wait for four more years to make her debut on television.
Her first appearance on television came in the show ‘Just Shoot Me’ as ‘Claire’ in 2000. The next year, she appeared in Jesse Dylan’s directorial debut film ‘How High’ as ‘Shelia Cain’.
In 2001, Peterman was cast in the role of ‘Barbra Jean Booker Hart’ in the American sitcom ‘Reba’. The show featured Reba McEntire as the title character and Christopher Rich, JoAnna García, Steve Howey, Scarlett Pomers, and Mitch Holleman in other lead roles.
She appeared in the game show ‘The Pyramid’ for seven episodes between 2003 and 2004. Later, she appeared in shows like ‘Johnny Bravo’, ‘Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide’, and ‘American Dad!’ Peterman also hosted the 2007 standup comedy show ‘CMT Comedy Stage’.
In 2009, after making appearances in shows like ‘Rita Rocks’ (as ‘Jennifer’) and ‘Surviving Suburbia’ (as ‘Mrs. Munice’), Peterman accepted the offer to host the Karaoke game show ‘The Singing Bee’. It was a revival of the show after NBC cancelled it initially.
In 2012, Peterman received another regular role on television. She was cast in the role of ‘Bonnie Wheeler’ in the sitcom ‘Baby Daddy’. Peterman was part of the show for five years and appeared in 100 episodes alongside Jean-Luc Bilodeau, Tahj Mowry, Chelsea Kane, and Derek Theler.
She appeared in the 2012 action comedy film ‘Here Comes the Boom’ featuring Kevin James, Salma Hayek, and Henry Winkler in lead roles. She then hosted the game show ‘Bet on Your Baby’ for two seasons, and later in 2014, she joined the judging panel of the beauty pageant contest ‘Miss USA’.
After working in more than thirty televisions programs, Melissa Peterman is still known for her role of ‘Barbra Jean Booker Hart’ in the sitcom ‘Reba’. She was part of the show for 120 episodes and was among the regulars. Her role of a dental hygienist who has an affair with Christopher Rich’s character (‘Brock Enroll Hart’) in the show made her one of the crowd favorites.
The karaoke game show ‘The Singing Bee’ was initially aired on NBC, but was cancelled by the network after just one season in 2007. CMT, in 2009, showed an interest in reviving the game show and roped in Peterman to host it. The show ran successfully for four seasons, thanks to Peterman’s hosting skills.
Family & Personal Life
In June 1999, Melissa Peterman got married to John Brady and had her first son six years later on October 20, 2005.
She shares a good bond with her ‘Reba’ costars JoAnna Garcia Swisher and Reba McEntire.