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Murphy Brown

By Donald Liebenson

The DVD release of Murphy Brown is particularly newsworthy. There had never been anyone on primetime quite like Murphy, the star investigative reporter for the Washington, D.C.-based television news magazine F.Y.I. As created by Diane English and embodied by Candice Bergen, Murphy was, in English's words, "Mike Wallace in a dress." On camera, she was tough, smart, and relentless. Off camera she was intriguingly flawed. In the pilot episode, her character returns to work following a stay at the Betty Ford Clinic.

Over the course of the season, her sobriety is supremely tested by the chaotic goings-on inside the funniest newsroom since WJM on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Murphy must contend with an unending parade of ill-suited, stressed-out secretaries (a running joke throughout the series' 10 years), new 25-year-old producer Miles Silverberg (Grant Shaud) whom she rudely dismisses ("While I was being maced at the Democratic Convention in '68, you were wondering if you'd ever meet Adam West"), and new co-anchor Corky Sherwood (Faith Ford), a former Miss America ("by default") with no journalistic background. Murphy is over 40 and prickly, with a penchant for vindictive practical jokes against her colleagues. In short, in the words of a lampooning cartoonist in the episode "Funnies Girl," dynamic, "pain-in-the-butt," Motown-loving Murphy is "a veritable fountain of material."

With its smart and sophisticated writing and seamless ensemble, Murphy Brown instantly established itself as one of television's gold standard series, earning four Emmy Awards for this inaugural season, including Outstanding Lead Actress for Bergen and Outstanding Writing for English. Colleen Dewhurst was also honored for her guest appearance as Murphy's equally intimidating mother in the episode, "Mama Said." A cast and crew retrospective and commentaries by Bergen and English for, respectively, the pilot and classic flashback episode "The Summer of '77" earn this set R*E*S*P*E*C*T.

Murphy Brown on DVD!
Murphy Brown is now available on DVD! Get it at!
Season One


Share Your Memories!

Do you have a favorite episode of Murphy Brown? What do you remember about the series? Share your stories with the world! (We print the best stories right here!)

Your Memories Shared!

"Debuting in mid November of 1988 on CBS, "Murphy Brown" was a hit with viewers. Candice Bergen (daughter of famed ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and ex-cast member of SNL) played the no-nonsense, sarcastic, feminest and tough as nails lead character. In the pilot Murphy has returned from her stay at the Betty Ford Clinic only to find things have changed at the network that employs her (a network similar to CBS).

A new hot-shot 20 something producer, Miles Siverburg, has taken the place of the old one, which is just the first thing that doesn't sit well with her.

There's also a very young, second newsgirl straight out of college on the set. The young, blond, happy & peppy Corky Sherwood! (Later known as Corky Sherwood Forrest when she gets married. )Corky's got a "lot" to learn about being a newswoman and just being an adult womam as well. Also not to happy with these changes are Murphy's longtime Anchorman Jim Dial and co-anchor Frank Fontana. Jim is a Mike Wallace clone but with even less personality and reads the news almost robot like. Frank is a hopeless case in the fact that his love life is a near desert and he wears a gosh-awful toupee on the air to cover his receeded hairline!

So begins ten years of caring, craziness, insanity and several secretary firings. Along with great storylines ranging from the down right funny to the down "right" political! That being Murphy Brown vs. Dan Quayle after the nthen Vice-President blasts the show for promoting single parenthood as a lifestyle choice. Murphy won several Emmys and ended its run in 1998, only to upstaged that year by the Seinfeld finale!"

--Happi - Puppi

"Murphy Brown (Candace Bergin) was a liberal, hard nosed journalist in the nationís capital of D. C. She was known for her hard hitting questions to politicians whom she often opposed.

Inside the station, she was surrounded by a cast of characters that immolated her comedial and mostly jaded side. Filled with quips and sarcasms, her character relished on the side of the more negative aspects of life than the positive. Such characters like too-happy Corky Sherwood and neurotic Miles Silverberg only fed the fire for her sometimes outlandish behaviors.

Murphy battled alcoholism and cancer, making her character more of a believable survivor than a hero. Subjects for such topics led the way for ground breaking explorations that delved into subjects that everyone wanted to know about, but not willing to talk about.

On the lighter side; Murphy was often paired with an inept secretary as the show's opening highlight."




Aired: November 14, 1988 - 1998

Cast: Candice Bergen, Faith Ford, Charles Kimbrough, Grant Shaud, Joe Regalbuto, Garry Marshall

Network: CBS

Genre: Sitcom

Theme song

Image courtesy of CBS

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