TRUMPED BY MURPHY
The ascension of Donald Trump to the US presidency played a big part in the decision to revive hit ’90s sitcom Murphy Brown, which brings back the legendary Candice Bergen in the beloved title role
There would have been no Murphy Brown revival without Donald Trump. The hit ’90s sitcom, which starred Candice Bergen as a clever, hottempered and much-loved TV journalist and single mother, is back on our screens for the first time in more than two decades.
The volatile Trump administration and the #metoo movement were crucial to the show’s return says Faith Ford, who reprises her role as lifestyle reporter Corky Sherwood.
Joe Regalbuto and Grant Shaud also reprise their roles as investigative journalist Frank Fontana and producer Miles Silverberg respectively.
“(Creator) Diane English emailed Joe, Grant and me – Candice already knew about it – and she said ‘it looks like Warner Bros wants me to bring back Murphy Brown. They want me to write the pilot and I want to make sure you guys would all be interested’,” Ford says.
“Diane had told us they’d talked to her about it over the years, but she never felt like there was a time, until now, to do it. Basically Trump had to win for her to want to do it. If Hillary Clinton had won then it wouldn’t be the same obviously. Murphy Brown is best with conflict.”
Clinton makes a cameo in the first episode as a woman applying to be Murphy’s assistant as she comes out of retirement to host a new morning news show. Bette Midler, Brooke Shields and Peter Gallagher will also guest star in the new series.
“It was very top secret,” Ford says of Clinton’s guest role. “They did a really good job not letting it out at all. Everybody had to sign a confidentiality agreement and they didn’t write it into the script. We didn’t know she was going to be on until the day before.
“She’s super cool as a human being, which I was very impressed by. Candice worked with her and said she actually knew Candice’s dialogue. She’s very smart, but also very warm. She gave me a big hug.”
This isn’t the first TV show comeback Trump’s presidency
(now the latter of which is acknowledged in the first new episode when Murphy’s son Avery – now a journalist in his own right – warns his mother of the perils of Twitter.
Another episode zeros in on the #metoo movement. After a workplace sexual harassment seminar brings long-buried feelings to the surface, Murphy confronts the college professor who harassed her.
“Corky’s had so many stories (of harassment) she can’t even count them. I realised towards the end of the episode that Corky has probably had no therapy. Talking about it is how she’s gotten through it but Murphy, on the other hand, has kept it all in. This is a huge awakening for her,” Ford says.
“It is a cathartic episode. Murphy doesn’t get her way all the time, and I think that’s important for a heroine – to lose too.
“It doesn’t get wrapped up in a package with a bow on top. She’s not going to get an apology from this guy and that’s OK.
“It’s not going to stop her from speaking her truth, which is a great message for women out there.” Murphy Brown continues Mondays at 8.30pm on Ten
The cast of the Murphy Brown revival includes Candice Bergen returning as the title character and Faith Ford as Corky Sherwood.