The Murphy Brown revival set up at CBS has secured the services of three more original cast members. Candice Bergen has already climbed aboard to reprise the role of hard-nosed investigative journalist and anchor Brown, a character she originated in the series’ first run from 1988 through 1998. Series creator Diane English also returns. Murphy Brown joins Magnum P.I. and Cagney & Lacey on CBS’ upcoming slate of nostalgic revivals/reboots.
Set behind-the-scenes at fictional news magazine FYI, Murphy Brown followed in the TV-centered workplace sitcom tradition pioneered by The Mary Tyler Moore Show. The show centered on ever-exasperated big achiever Brown’s complicated relationships with her various co-workers. Key supporting characters included dizzy blonde anchor Corky Sherwood (Faith Ford), insecure reporter Frank Fontana (Joe Regalbuto), pompous anchor Jim Dial (Charles Kimbrough), and neurotic producer Miles Silverberg (Grant Shaud). The late Robert Pastorelli played the show’s “Schneider” character, ever-present house painter Eldin. The show is perhaps best known historically for the controversy that erupted when former VP Dan Quayle took it to task for making Brown a single mom. According to Quayle, the fictional Brown raising her child alone was a blow to fathers. The show later got its revenge by using a tape of Quayle in a later storyline that mirrored the real-life controversy.
Deadline reports that Murphy Brown the revival has landed Faith Ford, Joe Regalbuto, and Grant Shaud to reprise their roles. This nearly completes the original FYI team with only Charles Kimbrough yet to sign on. The 81-year-old Kimbrough may not return full-time due to ill health, but there’s a chance he could guest star. CBS has ordered 13 episodes of the revival series.
What have the three returning Murphy Brown stars been up to since the show went off the air? Faith Ford of course had a good run on another sitcom, Hope & Faith, starring opposite Kelly Ripa. That show also featured Megan Fox as a replacement actress after a notable case of mid-series recasting. In recent years, Ford has become a fixture of wholesome family fare, including the movie Trading Christmas which starred her opposite The Flash‘s Tom Cavanagh. Joe Regalbuto, meanwhile, though never landing another regular gig, has done lots of guest spots on TV series. One of his most memorable spots in fact came during Curb Your Enthusiasm season 9, playing chatty gate attendant Sal.
Like Joe Regalbuto, third returning Murphy Brown cast member Grant Shaud also got his shot alongside Larry David on Curb, playing the character Henry Horn in season 8 episode “Car Periscope”. Shaud has also done some movies over the past 20 years, including the action sequel The Crow: Salvation and the comedy Chu and Blossom. We’ll keep watching for more casting updates as Murphy Brown gets the band back together.
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