TCA: 10 Things We Learned About Murphy Brown

Panel for the new CBS show MURPHY BROWN at the TCA Summer Press Tour 2018 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, August 5, 2018. Pictured (L-R): Nik Dodani, Jake McDorman, Candice Bergen, Executive Producer & Star, Diane English, Executive Producer, Faith Ford, Joe Regalbuto, Grant Shaud. Photo: Francis Specker/CBS ©2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Murphy Brown is one of the most anticipated TV revivals in the age of classic shows coming back with their original casts. The series was landmark for showing not only a working woman, but a news woman with high moral standards. That’s something we need back in 2018.

We Live entertainment was at the Murphy Brown panel for the Television Critics Association with Candice Bergen, Faith Fort, Grant Shaud, Joe Regalbuto, Jake McDorman, Nik Dodani and creator Diane English. Here are 10 Things we learned about the new season, premiering September 27 on CBS.

1. It Almost Happened In 2012

 Francis Specker/CBS ©2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

“We kind of toyed with the idea, almost jokingly, back in 2012 when Sarah Palin was running for vice president,” English said. “We thought we only had six episodes, but it wasn’t a serious consideration at all. Then we had an election, and Peter Roth from Warner Bros. came to us and said, ‘Would you consider bringing the show back?’ Candice and I were kind of reluctant because we felt we had done it. But as the months ticked by, it started to feel like we had maybe a real reason to come back. And the show, the opening montage begins on November 8th, 2016, and then takes us up to the present time.”

2. Murphy Brown Will Save The Free Press

Executive Producer Diane English  Photo: Cliff Lipson/CBS ©2018 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

“Our show always lived in the real world and was based in Washington, D.C.,” English said. “We’ve always been a political show with something to say, but I’m focusing the show really through the prism of the press. The First Amendment and free press is under attack like I’ve never seen before, I don’t think anybody’s ever seen before. The press is not the enemy of the people, and these guys, our characters, are the press. So we deal with that a lot.

3. It’s Murphy In The Mornings

Pictured Top Row, L-R: Nik Dodani as Pat Patel, Grant Shaud as Miles Silverberg and Jake McDorman as Avery Brown; Pictured Bottom Row, L-R: Tyne Daly as Phyllis, Faith Ford as Corky Sherwood, Candice Bergen as Murphy Brown and Joe Regalbuto as Frank Fontana Photo: Robert Tractenberg/CBS ©2018 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

“Murphy, Corky, and Frank are starting a morning show, the three of them, with Miles producing it,” Bergen said. “That’s how the first show starts.”

English added, “When we left these characters in 1998, there was no Internet. There was no social media. Cable news was just getting started. So to take these characters and put them in the world of 24 hour cable news, which is what their new show is, it was very rich for us, very, very rich.”

4. Jim Dial Will Return!

“Charlie [Kimbrough] is going to come back and do three episodes for us as a guest star,” English said. “He is a retired newsman, but he does find a compelling reason to return to the gang for a short period of time. Charlie himself lives in Los Angeles, and the relocation to New York would have been kind of tough for him. So we’re just thrilled he’s going to come back and join our family again.

Pictured (L-R): Candice Bergen, Executive Producer & Star, Diane English, Executive Producer, Faith Ford. Photo: Francis Specker/CBS ©2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

5. Eldin Is Not Forgotten

“Well, in fact, Jake and I refer to him in the first episode,” Bergen said. “Bobby Pastorelli, who played Eldin, who was a fan favorite, died ten years ago. We haven’t yet replaced him with anyone, but we do sort of toast him.”

6. They will tackle #MeToo

“In the writers’ room, we have a great collection of people,” English said. “They are younger. They are older. They are male. They are female. They are gay. They are straight. So, in developing this episode, we came at it from so many different angles because it is such a complicated issue, and for a week to ten days, just the conversations that we had in there of perspectives that people have coming from their own particular prism. I don’t think there’s probably a woman out here who hasn’t had some experience with misogyny or misconduct. So it’s a powerful movement. We wanted to do it justice, and the title is #MurphyToo.”

7. Murphy Brown will respond to current events.

“We always had this uncanny ability to look ahead at what might happen and then put it into an episode,” English said. “So it always seemed like we had a crystal ball, and the same thing is happening again. Our second episode is right on the money in terms of what’s in the headlines right now and our third and our fourth, and we actually stopped developing stories when we got to Episode 9, because we have 13. We stopped because we don’t want to get too far ahead. Some things are going to drop in September, I think. We are shooting digitally. So we have the ability to go in and kind of pop in something extremely topical, a comment or a joke.”


8. Avery Brown is All Grown Up

Panel for the new CBS show MURPHY BROWN at the TCA Summer Press Tour 2018 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, August 5, 2018. Pictured: Jake McDorman. Photo: Francis Specker/CBS ©2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

“Avery has had Murphy, obviously, as his mother,” McDorman said. “He’s also had this kind of surrogate family with Corky and Frank and Miles teaching him everything he knows about journalistic integrity and also learning what it’s like to be the son of someone who is a celebrity. He’s finally at the age where, yeah, he’s got an opportunity to put all those lessons into practice, albeit on this kind of competing, more conservative network, but putting them into practice when they’re kind of under attack. To have all the lessons accumulated that he’s learned via his mother and these people, to have to kind of put them to the test in a time where journalism is under siege is a really, really interesting thing. So for him to kind of maintain his kind of ethos on a network where he’s the liberal voice is going to be is really interesting to play.”

Pictured (L-R): Faith Ford, Joe Regalbuto. Photo: Francis Specker/CBS ©2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

9. Corky and Miles Never Married

“Diane was not a part of that and making that choice, and she just chose to [ignore it],” Ford said. “And we are good with that.”

10. Pat Patel is the new guy

Panel for the new CBS show MURPHY BROWN at the TCA Summer Press Tour 2018 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, August 5, 2018. Pictured (L-R): Nik Dodani, Jake McDorman. Photo: Francis Specker/CBS ©2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.

“I play Pat Patel, who is a director of social media and technology for the new morning show that these guys are doing,” Dodani said. “My job is to be the voice of, I think, the younger generation and really kind of talk about the issues that weren’t really there in the original: social media, psychology, Internet, the speed at which a lot of stuff happens.”

Ford added, “I love his character because he’s actually the same age I was when I started the role of Corky. So I’m constantly looking at him. I was like  at first, when I saw you, remember I said, ‘Can I hug you?’”

Written by
Fred Topel also known as Franchise Fred has been an entertainment journalist since 1999 and specializes in writing about film, television and video games. Fred has written for several outlets including About.com, CraveOnline, and Rotten Tomatoes among others. His favorite films include Toy Story 2, The Rock, Face/Off, True Lies, Labyrinth, The Big Hit, Michael Moore's The Big One, and Casablanca. We are very lucky and excited to have Fred as part of the We Live Entertainment team. Follow him on Twitter @FranchiseFred and @FredTopel

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