Reba McEntire Just Debuted As KFC’s New Colonel Sanders

KFC's been swapping out celebs to play Colonel Sanders in its ad campaigns with some regularity for a while now, but it's latest choice to fill the shoes of its founder on screen is turning quite a few heads. That's because, for the first time, the Colonel is being played by a female, and a very famous one at that: country music legend Reba McEntire

The iconic fried chicken chain dropped a series of new commercials on Thursday, featuring the legendary country singer dressed in drag as the Colonel, complete with a country western-inspired crisp white suit, black tie, glasses, and, yes, even his signature facial hair. It's quite a look. In it, McEntire sings on stage as Sanders who seems to be living out his dream of being a country singer, and she also plays herself as a member of the crowd watching. 

The commercials (there are four currently posted on YouTube) will begin airing next week, and will run through the end of April.

In an interview with the Associated Press, McEntire said she was approached by KFC back in December, and loved the idea. "I thought the transformation was really funny," she said. "I got a big kick out of it." Lots of people seem to love it, too. Early reactions to the new campaign on social media have been exceedingly positive.

Since 2015, a number of celebs have done Colonel Sanders cosplay in KFC commercials including Rob Lowe, Rob Riggle, Billy Zane, George Hamilton, Jim Gaffigan, Norm Macdonald, and Darryl Hammond. Stars, though few have drawn as much attention as its latest pick.

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Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. Follow him @jwmcgauley.