“Murphy Brown” has been off the air for 20 years, but there was only one thing that could bring everyone back together and the “FYI” gang out of retirement: President Donald Trump — or specifically, his attacks on the press.
“The freedom of the press is under attack like never before,” “Murphy Brown” creator and executive producer Diane English said Sunday at the show’s Television Critics Association summer press tour panel. “The press is not the enemy of the people. And these characters are the press.”
English, who said the revival will focus on “prism of the press,” believes she was approached about resurrecting the sitcom “because of the political atmosphere,” and not necessarily due to the revival and reboot craze.
As previously announced, the 13-episode revival will find Murphy (Candice Bergen), Corky (Faith Ford), Frank (Joe Regalbuto) and Miles (Grant Shaud) coming out of retirement to work at a cable morning news show in the wake of Trump’s election. Her now adult son, Avery (Jake McDorman), meanwhile, works at another morning show on a conservative network.
Here are seven things to know about “Murphy Brown” 2.0:
1. Election Day: The premiere will open on Nov. 8, 2016, before picking up in present day. The first episode is “so ambitious” and “fearless,” Bergen said. “We really stick our head in the lion’s mouth.”
2. A-list talent: Keep your eye out for a huge guest star in the premiere as well. “We do have an enormously famous person in our first episode,” English teased. “Can’t tell you more than that.”
3. We see what you did there: The name of the conservative network where Avery works? The Wolf Network. Get it? Avery is the liberal voice at the Wolf Network and his mom definitely sees him as a rival. “She is a fierce mom, but she is a competitive mom,” Bergen said. “Avery has his work cut out for him.”
4. #MeToo: The fourth episode is inspired by the #MeToo movement and is titled #MurphyToo. “I can tell you that in the writers’ room we have a great collection of people — men and women, gay and straight — who developed this episode,” English said. “We came at it from so many different angles. It’s such a complicated issue. I don’t think there is a woman out here who hasn’t had some experience with misogyny or misconduct. It’s a powerful moment and we wanted to do it justice.”
English added that the episode was in development before CBS Corp. CEO and Chairman Leslie Moonves was accused of sexual harassment by multiple women in a “New Yorker” exposé last week. Speaking on behalf of everyone on the show, English said that while none of them have had a “negative experience like that,” they all take the allegations “extremely seriously” and “support the investigation fully.”
5. Jim is back: Charles Kimbrough will reprise his role as anchor Jim Dial for three episodes, which “we’re thrilled about,” English said. “[Jim’s] a retired newsman, but he does find a compelling reason to return to the gang for a short time.”
6. RIP Morky: Bad news if you’re a Corky and Miles ‘shipper. The revival is going to ignore Corky and Miles’ relationship because that storyline occurred after English left the original series. So now they’re going to pretend like it never happened. “And we’re good with that,” Ford said.
7. Secretary musical chairs: One of the show’s best gags was Murphy’s revolving door of incompetent secretaries and you can definitely look forward to a whole lot more of them.
“Murphy Brown,” which won 18 Emmys during its original 10-season run, will premiere Thursday, Sept. 27 at 9:30/8:30c on CBS.
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