Jim Henson’s Muppets had been around since 1969, when they first appeared on “Sesame Street.”
Henson wanted to create a program that children and adults could enjoy. He did two Muppet specials in the mid-1970s, which are considered pilots for “The Muppet Show.” Neither led to a network picking up the series.
In the early 1970s, the FCC enacted the Prime-Time Access Rule, which returned the 7:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. ET slot to local stations from the networks. CBS was looking at Henson’s Muppets as a possible syndicated series to air over its owned-and-operated stations in that slot.
British commercial station ATV offered Henson a deal that allowed the show to be produced at its studios in England. It would broadcast the show throughout the U.K. on the ITV network. ITV’s distribution arm handled the syndication around the world.
"The Muppet Show" debuted in 1976 and ran five seasons. Read more about the show on Muppet Wiki.
Source: Wikipedia (The Muppet Show)