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[This story contains spoilers from the season 11 premiere of CBS’ Murphy Brown.]
The premiere of CBS’ rebooted Murphy Brown had a lot of catching up to do. The episode, which saw the fictional news anchor (Candice Bergen) return to television and take aim at President Trump, not only filled the audience in on what each of the classic sitcom’s characters had been doing since it went off the air 20 years ago, but it also filled the characters in on new technology and the current television news landscape.
It also included a cameo from a very special guest: Hillary Clinton. The 2016 candidate appeared in a scene that was absent from what the screeners sent to critics, but involved the former secretary of state (as a character named Hilary Clinton, with one “L”) applying to be one of Brown’s notoriously disposable secretaries, saying she had “some experience with emails.” Creator Diane English teased the scene to reporters at the show’s 2018 Television Critics Association summer press tour panel, saying only that the premiere would feature “an enormously famous person.”
The 11th season of the series began with archival footage of the 2016 presidential campaign and Election Night, then jumped to the Women’s March and the band getting back together — Murphy and her former FYI colleagues Frank Fontana (Joe Regalbuto), Corky Sherwood (Faith Ford) and Miles Silverberg (Grant Shaud) decided they missed being on the air so much that they would head to cable network CNC for a new panel show dedicated to reporting the truth.
Meanwhile, Murphy’s now-grown son Avery (Jake McDorman) received so much attention for his work reporting on the campaign trail that the conservative Wolf Network — the Fox News equivalent that Murphy decried as a place “where all the male anchors are conspiracy theorists and the women are dead behind the eyes” — offered him a show as the lone liberal voice.
While the mother and son’s shows will compete in the same time slot, it wasn’t a huge point of contention between the two (at least at first) and Avery even helped his mother set up a Twitter account ahead of her cable debut — which, naturally, she used to go viral with her very first tweet (about how she once went on a date with Donald Trump, something Bergen actually did in real life). “Think before you tweet, Mom. Shows have been canceled for less,” Avery warned his mother before leaving.
But the viral tweet turned out to be a boon for Murphy, catching the eye of Trump, who went on a rant while Murphy Morning aired its first episode, allowing Murphy to rail against the president in the same episode where she, Frank and Corky argued with a senior EPA administrator (and former Trump Tower gift shop worker) about the difference between climate and weather.
At the end of the half-hour, Murphy and her son debriefed on their first days of work — and Murphy told Avery how proud she was of him.
Murphy Brown airs Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. on CBS.
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