'Murphy Brown' Returns to Take on the Era of Social Media and Fake News
Amidst this latest wave of reboots, the freshly announced second coming of Murphy Brown is perhaps the most surprising, the most anticipated—and the most necessary. What would the famously liberal fictional TV journalist have to say about fake news, social media, and the Trump presidency? We're about to find out.
"I left FYI a few years ago," the retired TV journalist, played by Candice Bergen, tells the camera, "You couldn't tell the evening news from an episode of Entertainment Tonight. The problem was, I didn't know what to do with myself. And then...we had an election."
Instead of offering up a tepid post-millenial reboot (lookin' at you, New Formula Diet Charmed), the new Murphy Brown is instead a full-on revival, bringing back Bergen and original castmates Grant Shaud as show producer Miles Silverberg; Faith Ford as chirpy co-host Corky Sherwood; and Joe Regalbuto as reporter Frank Fontana. Charles Kimbrough, who plays FYI anchor Jim Dial, will return in a number of guest appearances.
It's an interesting choice for CBS, which will start airing the new series in its fall lineup. For those of you too young to remember, Murphy Brown transcended its status as a hit sitcom when it ignited what the New York Times has called "an early skirmish in the culture wars" with the elder George Bush's White House in 1992.
By then, the show was in its fourth season, and Bergen's Murphy Brown character was already a feminist icon. Brown was a tough-talking career woman in her 40s, was divorced, talked about her past as an alcoholic, and battled breast cancer. In season 4, Murphy decided to raise a child on her own, prompting real-life Vice President Dan Quayle to decry the fictional character's "lifestyle choice," saying it was "mocking the importance of fathers."
While the White House fumbled in its reply, the show became a rallying point for many people, landing Murphy Brown on the front page of newspapers and magazines around the world.
In the new show, Murphy Brown looks like she's gearing up to take on the new generation of conservatives—represented by her own son, Avery (played by Jake McDorman), who is now the host of a conservative talk show.