TCA 2018: Trump’s Press Critiques Gave ‘Murphy Brown’ Reason to Return

Beverly Hills, Calif. — The cast and brain trust of Murphy Brown spoke about what is different about the show, which debuts in the fall on CBS, 20 years after going off the air.

“We’re older,” quipped star and executive producer Candice Bergen.

Brown’s son is played by Jake McDorman, who works for a Fox News Channel-style network called the Wolf Network. The season starts with Brown and her colleagues on a new morning show.

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When the series departed in 1998, there was minimal internet, said executive producer Diane English, and no social media. Cable news was in its early stages. “Putting them in the world of 24-hour cable news was very rich for us,” she said. “Very, very rich.”

English said there was talk of Murphy Brown coming back in 2012, though she and Bergen were reluctant. More recently, the timing felt right. English noted how the press is frequently targeted by President Donald Trump, which made the idea of a show focused on a cable news program more enticing.

“The press is not the enemy of the people,” said English.

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Murphy Brown shoots in New York. An “enormously famous person” pops up in the pilot, said English.

The #MeToo movement is touched on in the fourth episode. 

English addressed the allegations of misconduct against CBS chief Leslie Moonves, and stressed that the show’s principals “take the allegations of sexual misconduct extremely seriously.” She said those behind Murphy Brown support the investigation, and hoped the session could focus on the show, which it did.

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.