In case you haven’t heard, Murphy Brown is back.
Yes, the same investigative journalist and news anchor who, for 10 years (from 1988 to 1998), roiled the waters of TV — and the political world — on the sitcom Murphy Brown back in the late 20th century.
Diane English, creator and producer of the original CBS series, has brought it back, assembling most of the familiar faces (plus a handful of new ones) to help soothe the wounds that America has suffered over these past few years.
The first episode of the new Murphy Brown aired on Sept. 27, with the eponymous heroine back on her old CNC cable network as the star of Murphy in the Morning. Viewers will be delighted to learn that time has not softened Ms. Brown. Her teeth are, in fact, sharper than ever. Candice Bergen resumes the role she made so iconic, using her biting wit to mow down monumental egos, ferociously taking on all comers in today’s political climate.
At a press event at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, English, Bergen and other cast members expressed excitement about the 2018 reboot. At 72, Bergen is a little older and much wiser, of course. She was eager to talk about her latest reincarnation.
What was your reaction when they handed you the first script?
I said, “Let’s do it.” It’s been very emotional for the old guys because we moved the show to New York because I have to be in New York for other reasons, and they built Murphy’s townhouse on the sound stage in the studio in Queens. And when I saw Murphy’s townhouse for the first time, we all got tears in our eyes. Murphy was so important to all of us, and so to be back there, we’re just grateful.
How has the show changed?
We’re older by a lot. And Murphy, Corky and Frank are starting a morning show, with Miles producing it. And Murphy’s son (Avery), whom you saw when he was being born on the episode “Birth 101,” is now played by Jake McDorman, and wonderfully played. And he’s also a television journalist . . . who is working for an opposing channel called the Wolf Network. Murphy is a fierce mom, but she’s a competitive mom. So Avery has his work cut out for him.
Is Murphy still in recovery?
Murphy will always be in recovery. We do not touch on that in the first episode because there’s so much to deal with.
In today’s climate can you be even more hard-hitting than in the original series?
Can I just say that the script of the first episode is so ambitious and so fearless? During the taping, I turned to Joe [Regalbuto, who plays investigative reporter Frank Fontana] at one point and said, “This show has no fear of anyone” because we really stick our heads in the lion’s mouth, and she [Murphy] handled it so brilliantly, as you will see.
Out of the Box is a semi-regular column by VCReporter staff and contributors about television and streaming content.