News & Politics

Wait, When Did They Bring Back Murphy Brown?

Wait, When Did They Bring Back Murphy Brown?
Candice Bergen attends the "Murphy Brown" panel during a press tour on Sunday, Aug. 5, 2018, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

If you’re old enough to remember 1988, you know it was a terrific year for sitcoms. The Cosby Show was the #1 show in America, and Roseanne was hot on its heels. Cheers, The Golden Girls, Night Court, The Wonder Years — it was a great time for comedy. And in addition to all those classics, another show also premiered that year: Murphy Brown.


Based on my meticulous research 30 seconds of Googling and my vague memories from 30 years ago, Murphy Brown was an ensemble workplace comedy about a TV journalist who yelled a lot, and it was funny because she yelled a lot. As noted pundit Jon Gabriel puts it, it was “basically The Mary Tyler Moore Show without laughs.”

If you still have no idea what I’m talking about, here’s a bit of what you missed:

Good stuff, right?

But somehow the show was popular enough to run for 10 years. Keep in mind, that was back in the old days before smartphones and Twitter and Red Dead Redemption 2, when there wasn’t anything else to do on a Monday night except watch Candice Bergen stomping around and bellowing her lines.

Twenty years after the show was cancelled, somebody at CBS saw the big ratings for ABC’s Roseanne revival — well, big ratings before that One Bad Tweet, anyway — and looked around for another Reagan-era sitcom with actors who aren’t too old to prop up in front of the camera. So they decided to bring back ol’ Murphy, and… what was his name? Miles? Yeah, Miles. And that other blonde lady, and the bald guy, and the Ted Baxter type, and the rest of that lovable gang.*

How’s that workin’ out?

Lesley Goldberg, Hollywood Reporter:


A day after doubling down on unscripted fare come January, the network is firming up its comedy slate for 2019, with its Murphy Brown reboot and Damon Wayans Jr. vehicle Happy Together both ending their respective runs after their initial 13-episode orders…

The multicamera comedy, featuring the return of star Candice Bergen and from original creator Diane English, has underperformed (6.2 million total viewers and a 0.9 in the key 18-49 demo) in its prime Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. slot and remains in consideration for a renewal.

Ah, “remains in consideration.” So maybe you don’t need to cancel your Murphy Brown viewing parties just yet, America!

If you haven’t watched it yet, and you haven’t, there’s still time to see the subtle wit you’ve been missing:

Oh, the bald guy gets beat up by Trump voters. You know what? I think I might actually watch that! Or at least Tivo it, and leave it unwatched on my Tivo until something else erases it.


The Roseanne revival got huge ratings and was pro-Trump, and ABC killed it. The new Murphy Brown is anti-Trump and it’s not doing so hot, and CBS is probably going to kill it. I’m not saying it’s good, I’m not saying it’s bad. People should watch what they want to watch, and avoid what they want to avoid. It’s just baffling to me that Hollywood would rather pat themselves on the back for how #woke they are, rather than make some money off all us Flyover rubes.

Let this be a lesson to you, CBS. If Americans in 2018 don’t want fake news, why would they want fake newscasters?

*Really, the only other character from that show who ever made an impression on me was the guy who showed up to paint her house and somehow ended up sticking around for six years. Alas, Robert Pastorelli died in 2004, and so did any interest I might’ve had in this show.

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