Candice Bergen Hints 'Murphy Brown's' Running Joke of Famous Secretaries Will Continue in Reboot (Exclusive)
By Philiana Ng
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Murphy Brown is hitting the pavement again -- 20 years after wrapping its original run!
The cast of CBS' hit '90s comedy reunited on Wednesday in New York City as they prepared to present their anticipated return to TV this fall at CBS' Upfront presentation, where titular star Candice Bergen opened up about why now was the right time to re-examine the world of Murphy Brown.
"[Creator] Diane English and I have been discussing it for a little while and suddenly this year and this past election year, we thought, ‘There’s just so much to say and fix,'" Bergen told ET's Leanne Aguilera on the red carpet at Carnegie Hall.
"News is collected very differently than it used to be and we thought that our show should be a fact-based news source which has become sort of out of fashion," the 72-year-old actress continued. "So, we’re going to bring it back into fashion. And Murphy is a real journalist -- tried and true -- so I think she deserves to be back."
While Bergen and original cast members Faith Ford, Joe Regalbuto and Grant Shaud will reprise their characters, new additions include Cagney & Lacey star Tyne Daly as Phil's sister, Nik Dodani as Murphy's social media director and Jake McDorman as Murphy's grown-up son, Avery.
"Avery is like any other millennial," McDorman said of his character. "He’s not so impressed by everything that everyone says his mom is. It’s been an honor and everybody has been really, really great and welcoming. It’s cool to join the family kind of literally, is what I’ve kind of been saying, as Avery."
"I play the social media director of the new show. My job is to drag these folks into the 21st century," Dodani said. "I imagine Murphy and myself are going to be at odds quite a lot, but I think it’ll be fun. There’s so much to learn from each other."
For the original Murphy Brown stars, it's been "very exciting" seeing "all these guys again," as Regalbuto reflected. "We had a great time when we did this show a long time ago -- I’m not going to mention what year it ended. But we had a great time and every time we see each other, we have a great time. It’s the truth -- I’m not kidding!"
During the show's 10-season run, Murphy was known to have a revolving door of famous secretaries -- one of its best running jokes -- some of whom included Bette Midler, John F. Kennedy Jr. and Rosie O'Donnell.Bergen hinted that the gag will continue in the CBS update. "I believe it is, yes!" she said, keeping details of potential famous guest stars close to the vest. "They're all very covert."
In January, CBS ordered 13 episodes of the Murphy Brown update. With the 30th anniversary of its debut approaching, Murphy Brown returns to TV in a world of cable news, social media, fake news and a very different political and cultural climate. The original series ran from 1988 until 1998 and received 18 Emmys, three Golden Globes and three Screen Actors Guild awards.
Murphy Brown premieres Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT in September on CBS.