UPDATE: CBS has clarified to EW that a decision on Murphy Brown's future hasn't been made yet. For now, whether or not the show will return remains up in the air. The article below has been left as originally published.
CBS has pulled the plug on its revival of Murphy Brown after 13 episodes, opting not to bring the resurrected series back for a second season. In the last few years, TV has seen an explosion in the amount of reboots, sequels, revivals, and spinoffs of existing popular shows. While Hollywood has always loved expanding franchises, the uptick as of late on the small screen has been very noticeable, with sitcoms like Arrested Development, Will & Grace, Roseanne, and Full House all getting second chances at life.
Several such revivals have performed very well, so it's not too hard to figure out why CBS thought bringing back Murphy Brown would follow suit. Murphy Brown originally ran for a whopping 10 seasons and 247 episodes, premiering in November 1988 and signing off in May 1998, and was wildly popular for most of its run. The Candice Bergen-led comedy spent seasons 3, 4, 5, and 6 among the top 10 highest-rated shows on TV, and seasons 7 and 8 still hung around in the top 20.
Unfortunately, in today's age of abundant entertainment options, Murphy Brown's revival just wasn't able to draw even close to that same level of audience, coming in at #43 in the ratings, and averaging a mere 0.9 in the 18-49 viewer demographic. That number would be great for The CW, but for CBS, it puts Murphy Brown in cancellation range. To be fair that's not exactly what happened here, as according to EW, the revival was always envisioned as running for only 13 episodes. Still, CBS had the option to - and surely would have if the ratings were good - renew the series for another season.
Those sad to see Murphy and the gang leave the airwaves once again shouldn't start grieving the show yet though, as two more episodes are still left to air. The first, entitled "Beat the Press," will air tomorrow night. The second, entitled "The Wheels on the Dog Go Round and Round," which sees Murphy adopt a disabled dog after Corky lays a guilt trip on her, airs on December 6. The dog is named Ari in real life, although it remains to be seen what Murphy will name him on the show. Perhaps she'll choose to call him Dan Quayle, in remembrance of the famous 1992 incident when the then-Vice President publicly criticized the Murphy Brown character for being a single mother.
With Murphy Brown's failure in mind, it's easier to see why CBS ended up passing on a revival of Paul Reiser/Helen Hunt sitcom Mad About You earlier this year, after first having shown interest in resurrecting the NBC series. These kind of revivals clearly aren't guaranteed hits anymore, and one assumes probably aren't cheap, considering the kind of salaries a bunch of long-lasting TV stars and producers likely command. Not everything is going to be the Roseanne revival, or even The Conners spinoff, when it comes to viewership.