Candice Bergen will return for a Murphy Brown revival series at CBS. This continues the wave of nostalgic revivals currently sweeping television. Last year, both Will and Grace and Twin Peaks returned for successful new runs. This March, Roseanne returns to ABC for a nine episode season. NBC reportedly also has plans for a revival of the sitcom The Office. Even Jersey Shore looks like it’s coming back to MTV.
Murphy Brown originally aired from 1988 through 1998 on CBS. The sitcom starred Candice Bergen as Brown, a hard-nosed investigative journalist and anchor at the fictional newsmagazine FYI. The show won 15 Primetime Emmys including two for Outstanding Comedy Series. Bergen herself won Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series five times. That ties her with Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Mary Tyler Moore for the record. The show achieved (unwanted) wider cultural relevance when a storyline about Brown becoming a single mom sparked criticism from then-VP Dan Quayle. The show would turn the tables on Quayle by using bits of his actual speech condemning the show as part of the fictional storyline.
TVLine reports that Murphy Brown will return to CBS for a 13-episode revival. Original series creator Diane English will return, as will star Candice Bergen. No word yet on the possible return of other actors from the original cast. In a statement, CBS talked about bringing the show back in a world that has changed a lot since 1998:
Murphy Brown returns [30 years later!] to a world of cable news, social media, fake news and a very different political and cultural climate.
As the Quayle flap demonstrated, the original Murphy Brown was never shy about taking on politics. The above statement by CBS certainly indicates that Bergen and company mean to make the new series relevant as well. Interestingly, the Roseanne revival also plans to dive into political controversy by making the Conner family Trump supporters. Given the reputations of Bergen and English, it seems very unlikely that Murphy Brown will turn out to be a Trump voter in the new revival. Some might argue that all this political slanting takes away some of the nostalgic fun of these new series.
We will have to wait and see how much of the original Murphy Brown cast can be rounded up for the revival. Sadly, major cast members Robert Pastorelli and Pat Corley have both passed away. Pastorelli was an especially important part of the show, playing Brown’s quirky live-in house painter Eldin. Jay Thomas, who played blustery tabloid journalist Jerry Gold, also passed away last year. The original show’s main cast also included Faith Ford as ditzy anchor Corky Sherwood, Charles Kimbrough as stuffy anchor Jim Dial, Joe Regalbuto as insecure reporter Frank Fontana and Grant Shaud as neurotic producer Miles Silverberg. Perhaps Quayle will agree to make a cameo appearance.
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