Murphy Brown revival: What’s the same and what’s different?
The 90s are out, but social media and jokes about Donald Trump are in.
Twenty years ago, Candice Bergen and the cast of Murphy Brown took their final TV bow.
After 10 years on screen, Bergen had made the hard-hitting journalist a television icon.
The comedy series finished its 10th and final season with the titular character leaving her job at TV news show FYI after a battle with breast cancer.
In 2018, Murphy and her team are back and it’s all down to one man – President Donald Trump.
“We had to do something, get the old gang together, take on this crazy new world of alternative facts and fake news,” Murphy says in a sneak peek of the new series. “It’s our civic duty.”
After 20 years, things are bound to have changed for Murphy and her news team Corky Sherwood, Miles Silverberg and Frank Fontana.
So, let us break it down for you and figure out what’s new and what’s the same in the revival of the Emmy-winning comedy series.
What’s the same?
Returning for the reboot, 20 years after the show ended, are Candice Bergen (Murphy Brown), Faith Ford (Corky Sherwood), Grant Shaud (Miles Silverberg) and Joe Regalbuto (Frank Fontana).
Charles Kimbrough, who played old-school journalist Jim Dial will also make a guest appearance in the new series.
Like it did for its first run, Murphy Brown will again take on current events and the politicians of Washington DC.
The premiere begins on the day of the presidential election in 2016 with creator Diane English and the cast viewing the election of Donald Trump as the catalyst for the new series.
She might be a few years older now, but Bergen told Vanity Fair she was relieved to find that the famous investigative journalist is just the same as she ever was.
“She certainly does not hold back,” Bergen says. Murphy is still the tough, competitive and scathing reporter she was 20 years ago.
The power suits
It was the end of the 1980s when Murphy Brown first graced our screens, so power suits were all the rage. She always made bold choices like brightly coloured jackets and statement necklaces and, thanks to the fashion gods, the new season will be no different.
They have even brought iconic Sex and the City stylist Patricia Field on board to “kick it up a notch”, says English.
After the death of Pat Corley in 2006, who played bar owner Phil, actress Tyne Daly has joined the cast as Phil’s sister Phyllis. She’s running the team’s local bar in Washington DC.
Robert Pastorelli, who played house painter Eldin Bernecky, also died in 2004 but his role has not been recast.
Other newbies include Limitless star Jake McDorman, as Murphy’s son Avery and Atypical actor Nik Dodani, who plays social media director Pat Patel.
The move to mornings
It’s out with FYI and in with Murphy in the Morning. Murphy will be anchoring a morning cable TV show with her old team.
She will be competing with her son, who works on a rival morning TV show on Wolf Network, the Murphy Brown version of Fox News.
The free press
As well as lampooning politics and politicians, the cast and crew wanted the reboot to champion journalism.
“We’ve always been a political show with something to say,” English says. “But I’m focusing the show on the press. The First Amendment and the free press is under attack like I’ve never seen before and like I don’t think anyone has ever seen before.”
When the show finished up in 1998 the media landscape was completely different. There was no social media, alternative facts or fake news, “even cellphones were like toaster ovens”, says English.
Social media director Pat Patel has been tasked with hauling Murphy and the team into the 21st century.
Murphy Brown premieres Friday 28 September at 7pm, the same day as the U.S. on TVNZ OnDemand