From The Upfronts: ‘Murphy Brown’ Making Her Comeback

Of all the new shows the networks are promoting at their Upfronts this week, the one that has me the most excited is an oldie but goodie. Murphy Brown is coming back to CBS this fall, on Thursday nights at 9:30.

I was at the beginning of my journalism career when the original program premiered back in 1988, and the show quickly became water-cooler talk in the newsroom. Over a decade, Murphy Brown earned multiple Emmys, and a dig from then-Vice President Dan Quayle when its title character became a single mom – a dig that proved to be comedy gold for the writing team.

The cast of “Murphy Brown” on stage at the CBS Upfronts in New York City, May 16, 2018. Source: Twitter/@MurphyBrownCBS

If the preview unveiled this week is any indication, the revival will be just as funny and topical as the original. In a “where are they now” format, we get to see what the original FYI team has been up to, and why they’re coming back now:

  • Murphy Brown, the titular hard-charging reporter (Candice Bergen), says she left FYI when she couldn’t tell the difference between the evening news and Entertainment Tonight, but didn’t know what to do with herself after that. “And then we had an election.”
  • Former beauty queen and anchor Corky Sherwood (Faith Ford) had a brief run in morning news, until she was replaced by a surgically “improved” weather girl.
  • Antacid-chugging producer Miles O’Brien (Grant Shaud) took a gig on The View. “I thought it would be a nice change of pace from the pressure cooker of a weekly news magazine,” he says, but, “every day was like an episode of Game of Thrones!” he moans in the anxiety-ridden tones we remember so well.
  • Investigative reporter Frank Fontana (Joe Regalbuto)  is still investigating, but isn’t so certain about going undercover to expose Nazis.

The video also features two new characters:

  • Bar owner Phyllis (Tyne Daly), who took over FYI’s legendary hangout from her late brother Phil. (Actor Pat Corley, who played Phil, died in 2006.)
  • Tech director and social media guru Pat Patel (Nik Dodani), who says his job is to bring all the “olds” into the 21st century.

It’s a delight to see the originals are just the people we remember, and the new additions seem to fit in perfectly. I’m especially looking forward to Pat’s efforts to upgrade the “olds.” In the teaser video, he regards Murphy’s old flip phone with puzzlement, and sounds horrified when he says, “She’s on AOL, too!”

(So am I, Pat, and I agree with Murphy: “Respect the classics!”)

Enjoy the preview video here, and get ready for the old gang to, as Murphy put it, “take on this crazy new world of alternative facts and fake news” because “it’s our civic duty.” (Keep an eagle eye out for an original series dig at our current president, too.)

And you’re right, Murphy. We missed you!

What do you think about the Murphy Brown preview? Let us know in the comments!

Murphy Brown returns to CBS this fall on Thursday nights at 9:30/8:30 Central.

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