6:45am PT by Michael O'Connell
'Murphy Brown': Everything to Know About the CBS Revival
Just nine months after announcing its return, CBS premieres the new Murphy Brown on Sept. 27. The fictional TV journalist, again played by Candice Bergen, blurred the lines between fiction and reality in the 1990s when the show's storylines became political fodder. But can it duplicate that buzz during the Donald Trump presidency?
Back are Bergen and creator Diane English, who penned the first episode of the 11th season — the series' first episode in more than 20 years. Here's a rundown of who else is back, how the show will look different and everything else you need to know.
Candice Bergen (Murphy Brown): A TV journalist with as much cred as Diane Sawyer, the Murphy Brown of 2018 is still sober, still fiercely progressive and, a few years after leaving original TV vehicle FYI, still on the air. The new season sees Murphy having moved to cable news, where she hosts her own panel show called Murphy in the Morning.
Faith Ford (Corky Sherwood): Corky, now older than Murphy was in the first series, finds herself joining Murphy in the Morning after getting fired from her job on a morning talk show and being replaced by the weather girl.
Joe Regalbuto (Frank Fontana): Still an investigative reporter, Frank completes the on-air trio for Murphy in the Morning.
Grant Shaud (Miles Silverberg): Gone from the last two seasons of the original run, Shaud's neurotic producer Miles Silverberg returns to collaborate on the new show. Noticeably absent, per English, will be an aromatic storyline between the once-married Miles and Corky.
Charles Kimbrough (Jim Dial, as a guest): The elder statesman of the original series, Jim is the only member of the FYI team not on Murphy in the Morning. Kimbrough, now 82, declined a regular role on account of the New York production but will appear in a three-episode arc.
Jake McDorman (Avery Brown): The fourth actor to take on the role of Murphy’s son, Jake plays an adult Avery as he follows in his mother's career footprints — but at a controversial outlet. He's the liberal voice at a Fox News-esque network.
Nik Dodani (Pat): Another effort to infuse the series with some new (and younger) blood, Pat is there to serve up gags about aging as the technology and social media expert on Murphy in the Morning.
Tyne Daly (Phyllis): Filling the void left by the late actor Pat Corley and his character Phil, Daly plays the bartender's late sister. She's taken over his business, still the chosen watering hole of Murphy and company.
Adan Rocha (Miguel): A new employee at Phyllis' bar, Miguel is also a DACA Dreamer and catalyst for the show to address immigration.
Thus far there are 13 episodes of the Warner Bros.-produced CBS sitcom of the '80s and '90s on the schedule, with the option of future seasons if it finds success on Thursday nights after 20 years off of the air. (The season 11 premiere, complete with a mystery guest, is set to air Sept. 27.)
The multicam sitcom still takes place Washington, D.C., and Murphy's townhouse living room (among other sets) has been perfectly re-created — albeit on a new soundstage. Production on the show shifted to New York, where Bergen keeps her primary residence.
With virtually every popular sitcom of yesteryear under consideration for revival, the politically inclined Murphy Brown seems particularly appropriate for the 2018 TV climate. Not only did it have an eager cast and creator, the series' subject matter is practically written for Trump-era America.
"I watched Will & Grace very closely to see how they reinvented their show," English told The Hollywood Reporter earlier in September. "And, as the days' headlines became more and more horrific, we felt we had a real reason — maybe the only show with a real reason — to come back. We have the ability to be really relevant and examine, in an age where people are screaming 'fake news' and 'enemy of the people,' these characters who are the press."
The new Murphy Brown is trying to straddle the line between ripped-from-the-headlines references and more evergreen storylines to ensure it's watchable after the original air dates. So while some political figures (see: Donald Trump and Sarah Huckabee Sanders) will be called out by name, others (ousted White House strategist Steve Bannon) will be referenced indirectly with fictional characters. Topics such as climate change, #MeToo and Russian meddling will also be present.
Commercial potential for Murphy Brown is big. The surprise success of ABC's Roseanne revival and the solid return of NBC's Will & Grace illustrate that there's no shortage of audience for revivals.