Almost two decades after Murphy Brown aired it’s last episode back in 1998, the award winning series made a brief come-back in 2018, when CBS brought back the series for a brief 13 episode season before it was canceled in 2019. Sometimes audiences would rather see there cherished television series from years past not be regurgitated into hack-job reboots just for the sake of raking in a quick buck. Yes we’re looking at you Fuller House. Other times, reboot series outshine expectations – such is the case with Hawaii Five-O and Magnum PI.
Diane English and Candice Bergen’s magnum opus with the eponymous journalist at the helm of a fictional news agency called FYI, made waves when it first premiered so many years ago, and reboot aside, the legacy that Murphy Brown has left behind is worth taking a closer look at. This video is going to uncover 15 little known facts about the groundbreaking series and what exactly was going on behind the scenes that made the show such a landmark achievement. We’re guessing you had no idea that Seinfeld’s Kramer had anything to do with it. Stick around to find out what role he played in Murphy Brown’s success.
Heather Locklear Was Considered For The Lead Role
Diane English, whilst laying the groundwork for her series, had in mind a more mature actress to take on the lead role, but when she pitched her idea to the network – who mind you was very interested in her concept – they were eager to find a younger actress to fill the part. Specifically, they had Heather Locklear in mind.
English however wasn’t going to have her vision co-opted so easily and put her foot down. She demanded that Bergen be considered for the role and the network reluctantly gave her an audition. Even still, they needed some further convincing, but Bergen put her heart and soul into her subsequent screen tests and was eventually able to win over the network Brass. Following the show’s success, the president of CBS would actually take Bergen out to dinner in an attempt to apologize for their initial lack of faith.
Dan Quayle Sent Murphy’s Child A Cute Gift
Brown became a single mother during the shows fourth season. Dan Quayle, the Vice President of the network wasn’t exactly thrilled about the move and called her life choice a mockery of the importance of father figures and that having a child on her own was just another edgy lifestyle choice. Following a mountain of scrutiny for his comments he retracted his stance and in the spirit of good faith sent little ‘Baby Brown’ a stuffed elephant plushy as a peace offering.
Candice Bergen Actually Somewhat Agreed With Quayle’s Unpopular Opinion
Dan Quayle’s stance was fiercely torn apart in the media. The feud between himself and Murphy Brown bitterly divided those that were connected to the project.
Bergen came to Quayle’s defense however by reiterating the importance of fathers and that they shouldn’t be viewed as being disposable.
However when Lisa Shiffren, Quayle’s speechwriter wrote that she thought that her boss was should be applauded for his views and went as far as calling him a visionary, Bergen responded by saying that her words in defense of him were somewhat taken out of context and that she had also stated that he was arrogant and uninformed for the take he had on the subject, but that bit of criticism had been selectively disregarded to make it seem like she was 100% on board with his comments – which she obviously was not.
Haley Joel Osment Played Murphy’s Child
Once little baby Murphy had grown up a bit it became clear that a new actor should be brought in to provide Bergen with a more suitable counterpart. Haley Joel Osment stepped in to play the role of little Avery in the series final season. He was only nine at the time but had already proved his merit on the shows Thunder Alley and The Jeff Foxworthy Show. Bergen was blown away by his professionalism and how well-prepared he seemed for the role.
After Winning Five Emmy’s Bergen Turned Down Nominations
Candice Bergen earned the coveted awards in 1989, 90, 92, 94, and 95. She then began to feel like she had proved herself enough and no longer needed to take in additional nominations, so when the Academy attempted to give her future nods, she humbly turned them down. Even still, she held the record for receiving the most Best Actress Awards for a single role until 2016 when Julia Louis-Dreyfus tied her record for her work on the series, Veep. The following year, she broke the record when she won her 6th Emmy for her role as Selina Meyer.
Murphy Had 93 Secretaries In Total
It seemed as if the position of secretary for Murphy was something like a revolving door of sorts until Better Midler landed the part in 1993. Michael Richards AKA Kramer from Seinfeld was one such secretary in season threes episode “The Keys”. Other Celebs that came into to help Murphy out included Paul Reubens, Sally Field, and Craig Bierko – which you might remember for his role of Timothy in the 1995 action movie The Long Kiss Goodnight.
If you’re digging this video so far, make sure you give it a like and subscribe to our channel. Stay turned to find out what Wonder Woman and Murphy Brown have in common – and no, it’s not that they are both empowered women, but we’ll get to that in a second.
Diane English Finally Returned For The Last Season
Even though she parted ways with the show after season four, English made a return to the series for the 10th season to make sure that show sounded off properly. She hadn’t been thrilled with the direction of the show and how everything was playing out. She wanted to return to her roots, as it were, to help the show finish on a good note.
The Final season took on a very serious tone as Murphy’s battle with breast cancer became the primary story arc. English even guest-starred in the final episode as a nurse who came bearing the great news that Murphy’s cancer had gone into remission. If that’s not a proper send off, then we don’t know what is.
Menopause Instead Of Cancer Was Originally Intended To Be Murphy’s Final Struggle
Bergen reports that the network wasn’t on board with the breast cancer plot at first. They suggested that Murphy go through menopause instead. Bergen protested however relaying English and her opinion that menopause wasn’t something that was going to jeopardize Murphy’s life and thus it wouldn’t have been a very emotionally pulling plot device.
The network executives didn’t put up much of a fight and really it was Les Moonves that really saved the final season’s heartstring pulling subject material form the chopping block.
The Show Helped Women Understand The Value Of Having Mammograms
In fact, you could even infer that Murphy Brown helped save lives. The number of women in American that went and had mammograms done after watching the breast cancer themed final season increased by a whopping 30 percent.
A Musical Album Based Upon Murphy Brown Was Released
But unlike Bergen’s parade of awards at the Emmy’s The Sounds of Murphy Brown didn’t exactly strike a chord with many critics. Even so, fans were certainly excited to get their hands on the compilation album which included Motown hits by legends like Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson and Gladys Knight. Even Candice managed to record a few tracks for the album as well, although its clear that her musical stylings weren’t exactly her forte.
The Series Isn’t Available On DVD
One season was released but after dismal sales the plans to released the remaining 9 were canceled. The Sounds of Murphy Brown may have played into this decision as well, as the compilation also suffered from poor record sales. The album actually sold at a loss, unable to make up for all the cash that went in to securing the rights for all its songs. But DVDs are a thing of the past anyways these days. If you want to watch Murphy Brown in its entirety, you can binge-watch the series on CBS’s All Access streaming platform.
English Always Knew The Show Would Be Rebooted
In an interview that Diane did back in the early 2010s with the San Francisco Chronicle, she seemed to already have the idea to bring the show back from the dead. She is quoted as saying, if Sarah Palin ever runs for president, then she is going to petition CBS to bring the show back on the air. She went to state that all she needed was six episodes to feel satisfied. Seeing that the revival ran for 13 episodes, it looks like she got more than she had hoped.
Murphy Brown Met God During Surgery
When she was put under anesthesia in the final season for her double mastectomy, she actually got to meet the big man himself. The role of god was played by Edward R. Minnow, a radio and television producer from the mid 20th century. Murrow passed away in 1965, but with the help of a little mid-90s CGI actual footage of Murrow was used to splice him into the scene.
The Murphy Brown Wonder Woman Connection
You probably don’t know it but Murphy Brown and Wonder Woman actually have something in common. And no, it isn’t just the fact that both characters are feminist icons.
Murphy Brown’s home was actually the same set that was used for Diana Prince, Wonder Woman’s alter ego in the 1970s Wonder Woman TV series.
Murphy Brown was clearly one of the better series about the ins-and-outs of journalism that’s ever been made. It’s nice that Diane English got her wish and got a chance to make a few more episodes of the classic series back in 2018, but nothing will be able to come close to the original.
Hopefully Hollywood will stop the lazy trend of rebooting every classic series that’s ever been on the air – I mean have you seen The Odd Couple remake? That was absolutely awful.
How do you feel about remake series like Hawaii Five-O and Magnum PI? Are you a into seeing your favorite shows from yesteryear being resurrected or would you rather see new programs developed to be remembered as classics for future generations? Let us know what you think in the comments section.
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