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Murphy Brown aired from November 1988 until August 1998 on CBS.
Murphy ( Candice Bergan),was the veteran star reporter of F.Y.I., a highly successful CBS TV weekly magazine series originating from Washington, D.C. F.Y.I., which aired on Wednesday nights, was in its twelfth season on the air when Murphy Brown premiered. Murphy wasn't the most lovable person in the world. She was opinionated, sarcastic, overbearing and driven. She didn't know how to do anything in moderation - including the drinking and smoking for which she had spent a month at the Betty Ford Clinic. But, Murphy was a dedicated and tireless reporter with a great on-camera presence and an ethical sense not often seen on the air.
Jim dial( Charles Kimbrough), was F.Y.I.'s stuffy anchorman, a newsman for 25 years who had never developed any sense of humor. Frank Fontana ( Joe Regalbuto),was the show's investigative reporter and Murphy's long-time friend. His one concession to TV - and he hated it - was wearing an obvious toupee over his thinning hair when he was on camera. New to the F.Y.I. staff was Corky Sherwood( Faith Ford), a perky former Miss America (who had taken over the title when the winner had been forced to relinquish it) whose primary assets were her looks and energy. She knew nothing about journalism and idolized Murphy, who found her cheerful personality a little hard to deal with. Corky married writer Will Forrest( Scott Bryce), at the end of the 1989-1990 season. Miles Silverberg( Grant Shaud) was the executive producer of F.Y.I., an enthusiastic but neurotic young man who was not always comfortable or effective trying to control the program's staff, who considered both his age and lack of experience as liabilities. The local hangout for the gang was Phil's, a neighborhood bar whose owner Phil ( Pat Corley),was always willing to listen to their problems and offer good, sound advice.
For the first two seasons there was no regular theme - each episode opened with a different Motown song (because Murphy loved Motown music) whose title or lyrics related the storyline to follow. Murphy had a problem holding on to secretaries and they were referred to in the credits by number instead of name - she went through 20 during the first season alone and another 26 during the second and third! Eldin( Robert Pastorelli) was the eccentric house painter, who had been working on Murphy's townhouse from the time the series premiered. He was there at all hours of the day and night and sometimes offered adivce to Murphy - even if it was phrased cryptically. Even after he sold one of his paintings for $1,000,000 in January of 1991, Eldin continued to work on Murphy's house.
The network that aired F.Y.I. was bought in February 1991 by American Industrial Enterprises, resulting in anxiety for the staff, cutbacks and assorted other problems for network president Gene Kinsella( Alan Oppenheimer). Adding to his problems was Murphy's decision to have a baby at the ripe old age of 42. The baby was conceived during a brief fling with her ex-husband, Jake( Robin Thomas).
When her baby boy was born in May 1992, it set off a national controversy unique in the history of American TV. Murphy decided against a permanent father for her child, saying she preferred to raise him alone. The following day, real-life Vice President Dan Quayle, delivering a speech in San Francisco on the deterioration of family values in America, singled out the program for criticism. He said, "It doesn't help matters when prime-time TV has Murphy Brown, a character who supposedly epitomizes today's intelligent, highly paid professional woman, mocking the importance of fathers by bearing a child alone and calling it just another lifestyle choice."
The reaction was fast and predictable. Producer Diane English quipped back, "If he believes that a woman cannot adequately raise a child without a father, then he'd better make sure abortion remains safe and legal." Other Hollywood producers insisted it was their free-speech right to show anything they wanted to, and creatively they had to be true to their characters. Others, however, supported the Vice President, saying the episode was an unfortunate example of Hollywood's liberal agenda. CBS merely took it all in and figured that all the attention would raise the show's ratings. As for English, she got her "revenge" the following fall with a highly-hyped, mean-spirited hour-long episode that mocked the Vice President's misspelling of the word "potato." The advertising said, "Tonight, Murphy deals with some infantile behavior," referring to Quayle. The episode got top ratings.
The baby was named Avery, after Murphy's late mother (played in earlier episodes by Colleen Dewhurst, who had also died suddenly in real-life.). Murphy was unable to find a suitable nanny until Eldin, her painter pal, volunteered to take the job. Late that year, Corky and Will Forrest separated, and eventually divorced.
Peter Hunt( Scott Bakula), a renowed globe-trotting reporter, was added to the F.Y.I. team in the fall of 1993, but, after a few months confined to studio work, he got bored and went back to international reporting. During his stay, he began what became a tempestuous love affair with Murphy. Stan Lansing( Garry Marshall), the new network president, who was exasperated by Murphy's desire for doing whatever was politically incorrect, began making occasional visits to F.Y.I. in 1994, and that November, Eldin made the decision to leave Washington to study painting with a famous muralist in Spain. By the end of the year, Corky and Miles had started dating. In the spring of 1995, Peter, on one of his visits back to Washington, proposed to Murphy... and she accepted, but they later called it off. By the end of the 1994-1995 season, the number of secretaries who had gone through Murphy's door was closing in on 80!
In the spring of 1995, Stan's obnoxious nephew Andrew ( Paul Reubens)first showed up when Stan forced Murphy to hire him as her secretary. His later executive positions caused the staff occasional grief. Pretty boy Miller Redfield ( Christopher Rich) got a job with F.Y.I. in 1995 much to the consternation of the rest of the team. That summer Corky and Miles eloped but at the end of the 1995-1996 season , Miles was offered a job running a 24 hour news service and was moving to New York to take the job-with Corky staying behind in Washington. That fall Kay Carter-Shepley(Lily Tomlin) took over as executive producer of F.Y.I. with a take-charge attitude but virtually no experience in news-her most recent show was a daytime game show. Murphy, however found she had met her match. In October Phil passed away and the gang bought the place, but after arguing over how it should be run, sold it to his son Phil Jr( Pat Finn).
In October 1997, Murphy was diagnosed with breast cancer, and the manner in which she delt with the surgery and the follow-up treatment was a running story throughout much of the season. In the series finale on May 18, 1998, there were a number of surprises. Murphy announced she was retiring. Sexy Julia Roberts came to visit F.Y.I. and had the hots for Frank, the social wallflower. Phil turned up at the bar-he had faked his death because of Whitewater and the CIA had given him a new identity. He was whisked away again when it turned out he knew too much about the Monika Lewinsky situation. While Murphy was on the operating table for exploritory surgery checking out a possible cancer recurrence, her spirit was in heaven having a contencious interview with God ( Alan King), who told her not to retire but to continue her work. When Murphy came out of the anesthesia the doctor told her it was only a cyst and she was in the clear. Murphy stayed with the show, and at the last scene at home, Eldin was back . He had returned from Spain after finding out from Avery ( Haley Joel Osment) what had happened to Murphy and stayed to " touch up" her town house, including painting a mural depicting the breakup of The Soviet Union. Oh, and as for the revolving door at Murphy's secretarial desk, her 93rd and last secretary was played by Bette Midler.
A number of real-life news personalities made appearances, as themselves, on Murphy Brown. Among them were: Walter Cronkite, Larry King, Linda Ellerbee, Irving R. Levine, Connie Chung, Kathleen Sullivan and Paula Zahn.
A Review from The New York Times
Review/Television; The Vices and Virtues Of a Star TV Reporter
By JOHN J. O'CONNOR
Published: November 14, 1988
Can a weekly series find happiness (i.e., ratings) with a heroine who has just returned from the Betty Ford Clinic and, though no longer drinking or smoking, still wouldn't hesitate to lie and cheat when it comes to maintaining her high-powered career? Well, it's possible, even likely, if this formidable character is being played by Candice Bergen. She has the title role in ''Murphy Brown,'' which has its premiere tonight at 9 on CBS.
Trimphantly in her 40's, Murphy is the star reporter for a television news magazine called ''F.Y.I.'' Think of ''20/20'' or ''West 57th'' more than ''60 Minutes.'' Murphy makes Diane Sawyer look like Dame May Whitty. The ''F.Y.I.'' staff is taking bets on whether a month's stay at the clinic will stale or wither Murphy's infinitely aggressive ways. Returning to work in Washington, she stuns her co-workers with the sweetest of smiles and compliments. Then she walks into her office and moments later can be heard screaming: ''O.K., which one of you turkeys got his fingerprints all over my Emmy?'' Everyone relaxes.
With her more visible vices now reduced to a compulsive chewing of pencils (the No. 2 variety), Murphy is eager to hear how badly the ratings dropped during her absence. ''They didn't,'' she is told. ''Oh, come on,'' says the incredulous star. Worse, the show has a new executive producer, Miles Silverberg (Grant Shaud), who is still in his early 20's and not exactly committed to Edward R. Murrow's principles of electronic journalism. He already has a protegee, a former beauty queen named Corky Sherwood (Faith Ford), who, on her tryouts, has ''tested through the roof.'' Someone charges that Corky, who is not sure how to pronounce Shiite, is planning a feature on the dark side of liposuctions. Murphy sneers: ''She thinks Camus is a soap.''
We are, obviously, in the familiar world of sitcom, a splash of exaggeration here, a smack of caricature there. Success depends on everything from positioning in the schedule to the sharpness of the wisecracks. The casting is also crucial, and it's here that ''Murphy Brown,'' created by Diane English, looks especially promising. The supporting cast, which includes Pat Corley, Charles Kimbrough, Joe Regalbuto and Robert Pastorelli, is strong. And the star is wonderful.
Apart from looking more gorgeous than anybody has a right to be, Ms. Bergen has style. I mean style in the manner of early Rosalind Russell or original Mary Tyler Moore. Ms. Bergen can do and say the most ridiculous things and yet remain positively elegant. In one scene, Murphy, who is a Motown fanatic, begins singing along to Aretha Franklin's recording of ''(You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman.'' Murphy is clearly not Aretha, but Ms. Bergen carries off the failed effort with winning aplomb.
The first episode, written by Ms. English and directed by Barnet Kellman for Shukovksy/English Productions, has some clever comedy routines. There's Murphy on the phone sweet-talking the Secretary of State into an exclusive interview with the promise that she'll regale him with her Ted Koppel impersonation. And then there's Murphy dropping everything to take an ''urgent'' call from the house painters who may or may not be willing to show up on time. She announces with pride to one of the painters that ''30 million people watched me on television tonight.'' ''Yeah?,'' says he, ''I won 10 bucks at Lotto.'' There's a nice urban, smart-alecky tone to ''Murphy Brown.'' Now it's up to the scriptwriters.
An Article from The New York Times
Review/Television; 'Twist of Fate' Concludes
By JOHN J. O'CONNOR
Published: January 9, 1989
On the weekly series front: Tonight's episode of ''Murphy Brown,'' on CBS at 9, directed by Barnet Kellman from a script by Steven Peterman and Gary Dontzig, demonstrates once again why this is the sharpest and snappiest new show of the season. In the title role, Candice Bergen is the best thing to have happened to weekly television in years. Tonight Murphy discovers that she is no longer on the invitation list for the Inaugural Ball in Washington. Her gleeful reports on the Iran-contra mess may have had something to do with it.
The episode opens with Murphy on the phone, telling the caller that she can't possibly do anything about getting tickets for the ball. ''Goodbye, President Nixon,'' she says, hanging up. By the program's midpoint, she is once again on the phone, begging the caller to help her get a ticket. No way. ''Goodbye, President Nixon,'' she says again. Meanwhile, there is an outside chance that her tickets may have been sent to Murray Brown, the nice man who sells newspapers and candy in the office lobby. It's all very silly, very funny, and very well done.
An Article from The New York Times
WASHINGTON TALK: Briefing; Flattered but . . .
By DAVID BINDER & CLIFFORD D. MAY
Published: January 18, 1989
It was one of those Washington dilemmas: Daniel Schnur, a Bush campaign worker for 18 months until last November's victory, had received tickets to a Presidential inaugural ball, but his girlfriend was so involved in the inaugural activities that she could not go as his date.
Enter television, sort of. In the Jan. 9 episode of ''Murphy Brown,'' a CBS comedy program, the heroine of that name, a television reporter played by Candice Bergen, discovers that in contrast to past inaugurations, she was not invited to this one.
So, at the suggestion of a friend, Mr. Schnur, who is 25 years old, called the actress's agent and invited ''Murphy Brown'' to be his date.
The agent said Miss Bergen was flattered by the invitation but that ''taping conflicts'' prevented her from accepting.
Never mind. Mr. Schnur, soon to join the Republican National Committee as a press secretary, has found another date.
An Article from The New York Times
'Murphy Brown' Stays on Top of the News
By JEREMY GERARD
Published: October 16, 1989
The writer was a relative newcomer to situation comedy, a high-stakes, high-pressure world that eats talented writers for breakfast and often spits them out by noon. The beautiful film actress was nobody's idea of the star of a half-hour series.
Last month, both women won Emmy Awards for their work on the freshman season of ''Murphy Brown,'' a weekly CBS series about a Washington-based television news magazine not unlike CBS's own ''60 Minutes.''
And if the program has not won the blockbuster ratings of ''The Cosby Show'' (on NBC) or ''Roseanne'' (on ABC), it has provided CBS with a strong, popular offering that most critics love; it has conferred a modicum of power on Diane English, the writer who created ''Murphy Brown'' and who with her husband, Joel Shukovsky, is a co-executive producer. It has also turned around the career of Candice Bergen, which, in the movies at least, had come to something of a standstill. Every Monday night she demonstrates a gift for the self-conscious, slightly self-mocking tone that gives ''Murphy Brown'' its edge.
''It was like going on a five-year blind date and just before the doorbell rings you wonder, 'What have I done?' and then it turns out to be Mr. Right,'' Ms. Bergen said of the first season, in a recent telephone interview from California. Close to the News
Part of the appeal of ''Murphy Brown'' is Ms. English's skill at putting a satiric spin on breaking news stories. ''We really like the topicality,'' Ms. English said in a separate interview. ''We try to shoot as close to air date as possible.'' Bryant Gumble's famous critical memo to his ''Today'' show boss was the inspiration for one recent episode; on another, the unnamed network that presents Murphy Brown's program, ''F.Y.I.,'' tried to impose a new anchor whose looks outweighed his journalistic acumen.
In tonight's episode, one abundant in Pirandellian twists, the entertianment division of the network that presents ''F.Y.I.'' is developing a comedy series about a weekly television news magazine. Morgan Fairchild plays the actress who turns to Murphy for help in researching her role as the sitcom's star news anchor. The episode also features a cameo appearance by CBS News's latest star, Connie Chung.
''The show is getting better,'' said Ms. English, whose first series, ''Foley Square,'' was a failure but was followed by the more popular ''My Sister Sam.'' ''The show to me now has more edges. And as I've gotten older, I've grown more edges. Joel and I were interested in the way broadcasters were becoming more famous than stars. We thought it was time to combine them, and be able to take some pokes at politics and at the medium we function in.''
Ms. English, a former English teacher from Buffalo who learned about television in an experimental unit at WNET, the major New York City public television station, conceived Murphy as the child of a serviceman to explain why she had been all over the world. Ms. Bergen changed that, making Murphy the child of a diplomat, to give her the added sophistication she felt the journalist needed. Murphy Brown entered the ''F.Y.I.'' studio in the opening episode last year with the staff knowing she had been at the Betty Ford Clinic, undergoing rehabilitation for alcohol abuse. From the outset, she was a character with a history and an attitude. 'She Has an Edge'
''There was a real power to the writing,'' Ms. Bergen said. ''It came from a very confident and sure intelligence. I loved that she has an edge. It's not interesting to me to play comedy that's benign; I loved Murphy's irony, her wit, her silliness. I love the occasional moments of dopiness. You get this incredible range with Diane.''
Another part of the show's appeal has to do with the ensemble Ms. English and Mr. Shukovsky have built around Ms. Bergen, a group whose work together is matched in television comedy only by the cast of ''Cheers,'' on NBC. They include the ''F.Y.I.'' regulars, Murphy's resident house painter, the writing staff and Barnet Kellman, the director.
''I needed virtually everything I could get from a director,'' Ms. Bergen said. ''All I had was the instinct that I thought I could do comedy. I needed someone who could help me to detail a performance. Barnet is remarkable: I don't know how he knows these things, that it will be funnier if you pick up the cup of coffee on the second syllable. His sense of comedy is so sure.''
Mr. Kellman, who has staged many theater productions and was a director of Ms. English's previous sitcom, ''My Sister Sam,'' recalled that ''we all wondered if she could do it.''
''Diane went to meet her and said, 'She is this person.' '' Other Projects Planned
Then it was his turn. ''You walk into a room and you realize it's really Candice Bergen and she really is beautiful - otherworldly beautiful,'' he said. After the reading, he, too, was convinced. ''She looks like a thoroughbred but acts like an underdog. I got on her side immediately.''
Ms. English said that she and her husband were planning other projects, and that there was a danger in working as hard as she has since ''My Sister Sam'' was immediately followed by ''Murphy Brown.'' The couple also hope to profit more from ''Murphy's'' success, she said.
''We have a master plan in mind to form an independent company and nurture other writers,'' she said. ''It's very hard to do this job every day for four years without a break.''
The writer said the show will remain fresh by remaining topical. One consequence is that it has drawn many requests from viewers to address specific issues. To most, she demurs.
''We have the perfect format to make it a platform for our own views,'' Ms. English said. ''We get requests to do a show about this or that, but we can't allow ourselves to become vulnerable to that; the choices have to be internal. We plan a show about advertisers pulling ads from a controversial episode of 'F.Y.I.' We want to show all points of view, but ultimately a point will be made at the end - and it will be whatever I decide it will be. A lot of responsibility comes with doing the show.''
An Article from The New York Times
Review/Television; An Updated Mary Richards in 'Murphy Brown'
By JOHN J. O'CONNOR
Published: November 27, 1989
She's bright and beautiful and not married. She works in television news. With a ''family'' consisting largely of colleagues at the office, she heads the kind of acting ensemble that, periodically and magically, can make the much-abused sitcom format memorable. Nearly 20 years ago, she was the adorably spunky Mary Richards on CBS's ''Mary Tyler Moore Show'' (Sept. 19, 1970 to March 19, 1977). Now, Mondays at 9 P.M. on the same network, she's ''Murphy Brown,'' played with marvelously stylish elan by Candice Bergen. The sitcom doesn't get any better than this.
Over the last year - the series began on Nov. 14, 1988 - ''Murphy Brown'' has evolved from a clearly promising idea, developed by Diane English, into a landmark series. The casting is inspired, making the characters of Jim (Charles Kimbrough), Frank (Joe Regalbuto), Corky (Faith Ford), Miles (Grant Shaud) and Phil the bar owner (Pat Corley) every bit as vivid and appealing as the old MTM gang: Rhoda, Phyllis, Lou, Ted, Murray and Sue Ann.
Barnet Kellman's direction has become a master course in comic timing. And the scripts - some of the top writers are the producers Tom Seeley, Norm Gunzenhauser, Russ Woody and Gary Dantzig - can be simultaneously topical, thoughtful and hilarious. In short, everything comes together with uncanny precision. There is no predicting the phenomenon. The creators of ''The Mary Tyler Moore Show,'' James L. Brooks and Allan Burns, came out of ''Room 222.'' Ms. English and her husband, Joel Shukovsky, now the ''Murphy Brown'' executive producers, did ''My Sister Sam.'' The leap from pleasant to brilliant is still dazzling.
Television entertainment does indeed reflect changing times. In the beginning, the 30ish Mary Richards was going to be divorced but that particular status made network executives nervous. So Mary simply became a single working woman whose sex life was implied, very lightly, in passing. Often uncertain and frazzled, Mary could get admirably tough, even militant, when pushed too far.
Murphy, in her 40's, is given far more latitude. In the very first episode, she announced her stay in the Betty Ford Clinic for an alcohol problem. As the star reporter for a network news magazine, she is highly competitive and confident. Marriage may not be a top priority at the moment but an occasional high-sizzle affair is accepted as a matter of course. And when you least expect it, the gorgeous, talented Murphy turns wonderfully goofy.
The ''Murphy Brown'' format is kept remarkably flexible, moving easily from broad farce to genuinely touching moments. From week to week different regulars become the plot centerpieces, sometimes supported by surprise guests. Recently, for instance, the militantly fluffy Corky beat out Murphy for a prestigious industry award with an essay on ''A Woman's Touch at West Point.'' Corky's agent turned out to be the supremely gross Al Floss (Alex Rocco) from CBS's ''Famous Teddy Z.'' Al immediately set about getting ''my little Corkala'' the perks befitting an award winner, finally having Corky assigned to stories that normally would go to Murphy. Realizing she was in over her head, Corky ended up telling Murphy, ''Boy, was I wrong,'' then adding, sweetly and ominously, ''but I'm gaining on you.''
Last Monday, in an episode featuring a brief appearance by Walter Cronkite (who once also popped up on ''The Mary Tyler Moore Show''), Mr, Kimbrough's strait-laced, uptight Jim, chief anchor of the ''F.Y.I.'' magazine, suddenly turned oddly distant, leaving the office gang puzzled (''You guys,'' said somebody with mock exasperation, ''if you want to solve a mystery, focus on Deborah Norville''). It was then decided that what Jim needed was a ''roast'' to lift his spirits. Of course, the last thing Jim needed, feeling his life was in a rut, was to be publicly insulted by friends and peers (''If he were any more stoic, he'd be dead''). The perfect touch: one guest speaker ridiculing Jim's stiff manner was Irving R. Levine, the veteran NBC News economics reporter whose lack of color on camera is an affectionate legend in the business.
Tonight, in a special hourlong show, the focus shifts almost entirely to Murphy as she wins a Robert F. Kennedy journalism award and finds her real family descending upon her. Her father, Bill (Darren McGavin), is now married to a much younger woman (Susan Wheeler) and is eager to introduce a dubious Murphy to her infant stepbrother. Her mother, Avery (Colleen Dewhurst), a London art curator, revels in the kind of formidability that leaves no doubt as to major influences on Murphy.
Mom and Dad have long been partial to insulting each other. Have things changed? ''No,'' says Murphy, ''Noriega is still in Panama and there's another Republican in the White House.'' The Browns are described as kind of like a Fellini version of ''The Waltons.'' Could they pull off the image of a family just for Murphy's big night? Phil observes: ''If the Reagans could do it for eight years, you guys can do it for one night.''
There are, admittedly, a few trouble spots visible on the ''Murphy Brown'' landscape. The use of guest stars has its pitfalls, not least in the prospect of the device becoming fashionable and the series becoming a mecca for publicity agents, just the sort Murphy would assiduously avoid. And some of the running jokes are becoming tired. The weekly change of Murphy's secretaries begins to pall when one aspirant, exceedingly polite and dressed in a conservative suit, opens his purse and begins to put on lipstick. And the character of Eldin (Robert Pastorelli), the house painter whose job is never finished, has been just about squeezed dry.
But these, presumably, are minor glitches. For the time being, ''Murphy Brown'' is one of those special television concoctions that somehow seem to make a half-hour flit by in 10 minutes. The series usually leaves you wanting more. And in the world of entertainment, there's no compliment more coveted.
An Article from The New York Times
TELEVISION; Everyone Has Advice for Murphy, Especially Real-Life TV Journalists
By NEAL KOCH;
Published: September 29, 1991
At the start of the fall season, "Murphy Brown" catapulted to the top of the ratings when the lead character, played by Candice Bergen, faced an unexpected pregnancy. But the series is noteworthy for more than its 35 share (the percentage of sets tuned to the program): Lucy Ricardo, after all, grabbed a 70share nearly 40 years ago when she announced her pregnancy in the same CBS time slot, Mondays at 9 P.M.
Murphy is the star anchor of the fictional investigative news program "F.Y.I.," 42 and unmarried. Her predicament, coming after several pregnancies among high-profile real-life network newswomen, is only one of the latest examples of the ways in which the series blurs the lines between real and fictional characters. Indeed, when one of Murphy's colleagues, Jim Dial, played by Charles Kimbrough, learns of Murphy's plan to have her baby and continue working during her pregnancy, he exclaims: "Oh, good Lord! This could be the worst decision anyone's made in television since Rhoda's wedding."
This kind of reference, wherein television comments upon itself, confuses fiction with reality and has led the Nickelodeon cable channel to begin broadcasting a series of specials aimed at teaching children to distinguish between the two. "We're addressing the issue that real life is not like sitcoms," explains Linda Ellerbee, the former network newswoman who is producing the specials, which are entitled "It's Only Television." Says Ms. Ellerbee, "People confuse real life and television all the time."
Some dispute the notion that this is anything new. "You never heard of Shakespeare?" says Don Hewitt, executive producer of "60 Minutes." "All good drama is based on real life."
But lately on "Murphy Brown," the crossover between newsroom and sitcom has become a staple. For example, guest stars on "Murphy Brown" have included Walter Cronkite (relating how he first met Jim Dial as a young newsman), Connie Chung (warning Murphy not to risk her credibility by accepting an invitation to appear as herself on a sitcom), Irving R. Levine (roasting his "old friend" Jim Dial), Kathleen Sullivan, Larry King and Ms. Ellerbee. "Just mixing the real people with the fictional people is a real kick for us," says Diane English, the creator of "Murphy Brown."
That kick extends to translating the experiences of television journalists into fictional television. According to Ms. English, Mr. Hewitt's much-publicized run-in last February with Meredith Vieira, the "60 Minutes" correspondent who was expecting her second child, inspired an exchange between Murphy and her boss, Gene Kinsella (played by Alan Oppenheimer), on last Monday's episode. When the 42-year-old Murphy confirms that she's pregnant by her ex-husband and resists her boss's efforts at "damage control" (a shotgun marriage to Miles, her 27-year-old executive producer), Kinsella proclaims: "Brownie, I am corporate. I'm responsible for a multi-million-dollar operation that does not thrive on taking risks. I don't see that I have any choice but to take you off the air."
Eventually, Kinsella changes his mind and keeps Murphy on "F.Y.I." Asked about this story line, Mr. Hewitt, who says he removed Ms. Vieira from "60 Minutes" not because of her pregnancy but because she was taking too much time away from work to be with her children, responded: "Pregnancy plot lines? Uh, I don't have any problems with them."
While Mr. Hewitt plays down his connection to "Murphy Brown," he is said to be actively providing its producers with ideas and advice to help keep the show accurate and entertaining. "He's sort of our de facto consultant," says Ms. English.
Perhaps that shouldn't be surprising, given that Mr. Hewitt once tried to hire Ms. Bergen as a "60 Minutes" correspondent after he read that she wanted to be a journalist. (Mr. Hewitt says she turned down the offer when he declined to let her work part time while continuing an acting career.)
Mr. Hewitt is not alone in his interest in "Murphy Brown." Some top television news stars frequently telephone the show's producers with suggestions and advice. Dan Rather has called to stress the importance of diet to a news anchor, according to Ms. English, and even suggested that Murphy deal with a network sports broadcast that runs long, delaying the start of "F.Y.I." Just such an event produced headlines in 1987 when Mr. Rather walked off the set of the "CBS Evening News" after the live broadcast of the U.S. Open tennis tournament went into overtime.
That incident was never transformed into an episode of "Murphy Brown," but an idea by Mike Wallace, another correspondent on "60 Minutes," supposedly was. According to Ms. English, Mr. Wallace pitched the suggestion that Murphy go to jail for protecting a source: "He said that when your career's flagging, there's nothing better than a stint in the slammer," she told an audience of Hollywood executives last year. (Mr. Wallace says he doesn't remember making the suggestion.)
In one episode from the season just ended, the "F.Y.I." news team performs miserably at a corporate retreat aimed at encouraging teamwork. Inspiration for the episode came from an ABC News producer who says he attended a similar function with his colleagues -- with similar results.
And many of those close to the show suggest that Murphy herself may have been partly modeled on one of Ms. Bergen's friends, the ABC newswoman Diane Sawyer.
The commingling also appears to be extending from the television screen into real life. This Thursday, after a tribute to "Murphy Brown" at the Museum of Television and Radio in New York, the show's executive producers and cast will attend a dinner with people from CBS News. Their host will be Howard Stringer, the former president of CBS News who has since graduated to become the president of the CBS Broadcast Group. He's the boss of both Don Hewitt and Murphy Brown.
An Article from The New York Times
Review/Television; A Baby Shower Can't Hurt Ratings
By JOHN J. O'CONNOR
Published: May 11, 1992
Johnny Carson's departure only seems as if it's been going on for nine months as NBC keeps milking the hype and ad-rate machines. In the end, on May 22, Mr. Carson will no doubt depart quietly, still nurturing his treasured privacy. Over on CBS, meanwhile, "Murphy Brown" will be bringing a real -- well, sort of -- nine months to a conclusion with the birth of a baby. That entails a completely different kind of nurturing.
This, friends, is a sweeps month. Ratings are crucial to the prices networks can charge advertisers in coming months. What to do? The industry calls it stunting; that is, do anything to attract more attention. Weddings, births and sentimental departures are favorite tactics.
The calculated big moments for Johnny and Murphy are hardly coincidental. Just look at the current marriage boom: the characters of Adam and Eve on "Northern Exposure" (CBS); Paige and Kenny on "Life Goes On" (ABC); Dorothy and Lucas on "The Golden Girls" (NBC); Woody and Kelly on "Cheers" (NBC); Whitely and either Dwayne or Byron on "A Different World" (NBC). What kind of cad would ever suggest that the networks march in a creative lockstep?
On occasion, though, the ploys do work beautifully. All it takes is a talent for spiking tired situations with a hefty shot or two of originality. "Murphy Brown," as might be expected, does just that tonight at 9 with a baby shower and then again next Monday with the birth itself. Getting Murphy pregnant was not the most promising idea in the world, and a couple of the subsequent scripts decidedly bode ill for the series. But these two episodes bring the show's current season to a conclusion that finds Murphy and gang at the very top of their form.
As the blessed event draws closer, Murphy's testiness is taking on the proportions of holy terror. Murphy, who now envelops the nonpregnant Candice Bergen's performance like a second skin, waddles around the television offices of the "F.Y.I." news magazine looking like some dreadfully out-of-sorts Santa Claus as she mutters something about her leg veins resembling the Interstate.
She considers baby showers cruel and unusual punishment. Of course, Corky (Faith Ford) has already sent out the invitations. Calming down in Corky's chintz-covered office ("It's like walking into Victoria's Secret," sneers the mother-to-be), Murphy has a few pointed questions. Are gifts guaranteed or optional? Are the invited guests deadbeats or people who can afford expensive Scandinavian baby furniture? Frank (Joe Regalbuto) starts complaining that he can't go "just because he's a guy." In the course of 22 minutes, Michael Patrick King's script hits a good many buttons.
Well, as is obvious from the ads, the shower goes on, and the guests are Murphy's television peers, women from network news and magazine formats. NBC is generously given an opportunity to hog the CBS showcase with Katie Couric and Faith Daniels, both of "Today," and Mary Alice Williams from "Sunday Today With Garrick Utley." But also included are Paula Zahn from CBS's "This Morning" and Joan Lunden from ABC's "Good Morning, America." Says Murphy in mock horror: "Ohmigod, it's a blond street gang."
Now would be a perfect opportunity for a learned essay on the fading line between news personalities and entertainers. But that's another column, a standard evergreen. What does come through clearly is the need for anyone prominent on television to be a performer. It should be noted that Walter Cronkite was one of the first newscasters to participate in "Murphy Brown." And just last week, Geraldo Rivera was on "Perry Mason," portraying a tabloid-television host eerily like himself. So it should come as no surprise that tonight's visitors hit their marks and deliver their lines like performing pros. That's precisely what they are.
The shower? It's packed with wonderful lines and inspired poking. "O.K., everybody," shouts Corky, setting up a group photograph, "everybody say 30 share." Next week's birth? Depend on "Murphy Brown" to put a memorably wacky spin on the familiar, managing in the process to drag in everything from underwear and bathing suits to a stapler and Maryland crab cakes. Slipping in the songs "Chantilly Lace" and "A Natural Woman" are just two of the more memorable touches. And, for all of the laughs, you won't get away without being deeply moved.
As Murphy might succinctly put it when happily bowled over, "Aw, jeez." Murphy Brown A Chance of Showers Directed by Peter Bonerz; written by Michael Patrick King; produced by Shukovsky/ English Productions in association with Warner Brothers Television; Diane English and Joel Shukovsky, executive producers. At 9 P.M. tonight on CBS. Murphy Brown . . . Candice Bergen Phil . . . Pat Corley Corky Sherwood-Forrest . . . Faith Ford Jim Dial . . . Charles Kimbrough Eldin Bernecky . . . Robert Pastorelli Frank Fontana . . . Joe Regalbuto Miles Silverberg . . . Grant Shaud Katie Couric . . . Herself Faith Daniels . . . Herself Joan Lunden . . . Herself Mary Alice Williams . . . Herself Paula Zahn . . . Herself
An Article from The New York Times
Views on Single Motherhood Are Multiple at White House
By MICHAEL WINES,
Published: May 21, 1992
Thailand is in turmoil, the Federal deficit is ballooning and hot embers of racial resentment still smolder in the ruins of inner-city Los Angeles. But today the high councils of government were preoccupied with a truly vexing question: Is Murphy Brown really a tramp?
A day after Vice President Dan Quayle suggested that the television show has served to hasten the erosion of family values by glorifying unwed motherhood, the White House first applauded, then dithered, then beat a befuddled retreat.
President Bush's spokesman, Marlin Fitzwater, heartily endorsed Mr. Quayle's remarks early today, but returned minutes later to pacify the 38 million people -- some of whom vote -- who saw the fictional Ms. Brown deliver a baby boy on the show's season finale on Monday.
By midday, he had declared the show's star, the actress Candice Bergen, to be his "personal favorite," adding, "I'm willing to meet with her any time, any place to discuss this."
Ms. Bergen was traveling today and could not be reached for comment, her publicity office said.
The show's creator and longtime producer, Diane English, issued a statement in Hollywood on Tuesday saying: "If the Vice President thinks it's disgraceful for an unmarried woman to bear a child, and if he believes that a woman cannot adequately raise a child without a father, then he'd better make sure abortion remains safe and legal." Today, she declined further comment. This Is Not a Joke
Korby Siamis, who wrote the episode with Ms. English, said through her agent that she had agreed to let Ms. English make all statements on Mr. Quayle's criticism.
Mr. Quayle, undeterred and pleased by his rare emergence on the nation's front pages, pressed his assault against the CBS television program today in Los Angeles.
And the President, besieged by questions about Mr. Quayle and the fictional Ms. Brown, first took a determined stand in support of stable, loving families, then threw up his hands.
"I don't know that much about the show," he said at an appearance with Prime Minister Brian Mulroney of Canada, who was here to discuss a trade pact and seemed bewildered by the fracas. "I've told you, I don't want any more questions about it."
Later, after the cameras stopped rolling, an exasperated Mr. Bush turned to Mr. Mulroney and said: "I told you what the issue was. You thought I was kidding."
In fact, the most serious politics were at work here. The President's political advisers have advertised for months that Mr. Bush would try to make the decline of American morals and family values a major campaign issue, and the disintegration of the two-parent family was the theme of the President's most recent speech, on Sunday at the University of Notre Dame.
Advisers to Mr. Bush's re-election campaign were described as delighted by the attention given to Mr. Quayle's message on family values, which appeared in some major newspapers near articles on an appearance by Gov. Bill Clinton of Arkansas, the likely Democratic Presidential nominee, before an enthusiastic crowd of gay and lesbian supporters.
Mr. Quayle told an audience in San Francisco on Tuesday that America suffered from "a poverty of values," and that "the anarchy and lack of structure in our inner cities are testament to how quickly civilization falls apart when the family foundation cracks."
"Bearing babies irresponsibly is, simply, wrong," he said. He added that the Murphy Brown character "doesn't help matters" by "mocking the importance of fathers, by bearing a child alone and calling it just another 'life style choice.' "
CBS executives declined to comment on Mr. Quayle's remarks. But a senior executive at the network who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that at a shareholders meeting last week the issue of the unwed pregnancy on "Murphy Brown" was criticized by a representative of the conservative media watchdog group Accuracy in Media.
In the popular television series, about a star reporter for a television newsmagazine, Ms. Brown chose to have the baby, fathered by her former husband, rather than have an abortion.
Today, some advisers to the Vice President were said to be puzzled by Mr. Fitzwater's belated efforts to soften Mr. Quayle's criticism.
"A lot of people out there agree with what he's saying," a campaign official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said of Mr. Quayle. "The press will make fun of it, but in the meantime, the cards and letters are going to come pouring in."
Other officials said Mr. Fitzwater spoke at the direction of senior White House officials who feared that Mr. Quayle's criticisms would alienate single parents and fans of the television series.
Asked early today about Mr. Quayle's speech, Mr. Fitzwater said that Mr. Bush shared "society's concern" about "television networks' production and writers and their glorification of social situations."
"We are certainly concerned about family values and the breakup of the American family, and again our concern is with the television networks and the production people who need to be aware of the ramifications of their programming," he said. 'Not Comfortable'
Minutes later, however, Mr. Fitzwater pre-empted his attack, saying he was "not comfortable getting involved in criticism" of the "Murphy Brown" show. Indeed, he said, the program exemplifies "pro-life values, which we think are good," he said. "She is having the baby."
"In many ways, it does dramatize the difficulty of the social questions involved, questions it's good for the American people to see and grapple with," he added. "It demonstrates strong family values."
Still later, Mr. Fitzwater returned to express admiration for Ms. Bergen's talent and beauty, joking, "I'll meet with Candice Bergen any time, any place to discuss this."
At his afternoon appearance with Prime Minister Mulroney, Mr. Bush, visibly annoyed by reporters' shouted questions, snapped: "O.K., everybody give me a 'Murphy Brown' question. I've got one answer right here for you. What's your 'Murphy Brown' question?" 'The Best Environment'
"I believe that children should have the benefit of being born into families with a mother and a father who will give them love and care and attention all their lives," he then said."That is the best environment in which to raise kids -- not always possible, but that's the best environment. And I think it results in giving a kid the best shot at the American dream, incidentally. It's a certain discipline, a certain affection."
Mr. Bush said he was deeply concerned by the presence of "an awful lot of broken families" in the nation. But, he added, "I'm not going to get into the details of a very popular television show."
In Los Angeles today, Mr. Quayle was greeted at every stop and in six local television interviews with questions about the "Murphy Brown" program, and he responded by stepping up his attacks on what he called the lax moral values of Hollywood.
"My complaint is that Hollywood thinks it's cute to glamorize illegitimacy; Hollywood doesn't get it," he said after a stop at the Bret Harte Middle School in South-Central Los Angeles, where he met with students and parents. "I wish they were here on the streets with me today to talk to these kids about the future, to talk about education, to talk to the parents. But they're out there in the world of comfort. They ought to come with me out to where the real America is."
Much of Mr. Quayle's trip to California has been spent at Republican fund-raising events at comfortable country clubs, not in South-Central Los Angeles, but his remarks nevertheless drew loud applause from a crowd of onlookers.
The Vice President warmed to his subject later today, telling reporters, "Probably the only reason they chose to have a child rather than an abortion is because they knew the ratings would go up higher having the child."
Bathed in the glow of national publicity, he dismissed the comments of the President's spokesman about the positive attributes of the "Murphy Brown" program with a smile.
"I think it's important what I say and what the President says," Mr. Quayle said. "Marlin Fitzwater supports whatever I say."
An Article from Time Magazine
Dan Quayle vs. Murphy Brown
Monday, Jun. 01, 1992
IF FOR NOTHING ELSE, DAN QUAYLE DESERVES POINTS for audacity. In modern America taking on a popular TV character, even a fictional one, is politically more precarious than taking a clear stand on a substantive campaign issue. And yet the Vice President dared to argue last week in a San Francisco speech that the Los Angeles riots were caused in part by a "poverty of values" that included the acceptance of unwed motherhood, as celebrated in popular culture by the CBS comedy series Murphy Brown. The title character, a divorced news anchorwoman, got pregnant and chose to have the baby, a boy, who was delivered on last Monday's episode, watched by 38 million Americans. "It doesn't help matters," Quayle complained, when Brown, "a character who supposedly epitomizes today's intelligent, highly paid professional woman" is portrayed as "mocking the importance of fathers, by bearing a child alone, and calling it just another 'life-style choice.' "
Quayle, aides explained, meant to "stir a debate" over "family values" and Hollywood's treatment of them. And so he did. A New York Daily News headline set the tone: QUAYLE TO MURPHY BROWN: YOU TRAMP! Switchboards at the White House and on TV and radio talk shows lit up with callers, pro and con. Carl Rowan, a liberal black columnist, sided with Quayle, while Hillary Clinton, wife of the Democratic presidential contender, panned him as typical of "an Administration out of touch with America" and its growing ranks of single mothers.
Other critics suspected that the Vice President's remarks fit into a calculated strategy to suggest that L.A.'s rioters, who were mostly black and Hispanic, have in common with feminists and other Democrats a shoddier moral standard than nice people (who therefore should vote Republican). But Quayle denied any such intention, and the subsequent flip-flopping by the White House looked anything but calculated. Press secretary Marlin Fitzwater at first criticized Murphy Brown for "the glorification of life as an unwed mother," then later told reporters that the TV character was "demonstrating pro-life values which we think are good." That in turn brought an angry denial from Quayle, who, in some backpedaling of his own, insisted that he had "the greatest respect" for single mothers.
President Bush, who can read a Nielsen rating as well as an opinion poll, declined to criticize "a very popular television show." He praised Quayle's speech in a private call to the Vice President, but failed to adopt the message as his own. Throughout the improbable spectacle of a White House pitted against a sitcom character and her real-life defenders, there was a serious undercurrent. The growth in fatherless families, after all, is encouraged less by television than by welfare policies that punish poor mothers who marry -- policies that Bush and Quayle should change if they are serious about this subject.
An Article from The New York Times
Back Talk From 'Murphy Brown' to Dan Quayle
By BILL CARTER,
Published: July 20, 1992
"Murphy Brown" will seek revenge on Vice President Dan Quayle in the opening episode of the hit CBS comedy series next September, Diane English, the show's creator, said in an interview here.
In a special hourlong story, she said, the series will respond to the Vice President's charge that Murphy Brown, the fictional anchor of a television news-magazine show, is symbolic of the denigration of American family values by what he has called a "cultural elite" in Hollywood.
No one connected with the show would specify what the show would say about Mr. Quayle, but Ms. English labeled the episode "Murphy's Revenge."
Mr. Quayle's press office accused Ms. English today of twisting the Vice President's words and planning to come back at him to take commercial advantage of the attention the incident has received.
Mr. Quayle said last May that the Murphy Brown character "mocks the importance of fathers" because she bore a child out of wedlock in the concluding episode this past television season.
Ms. English issued only a short official response to Mr. Quayle last May, saying the Vice President's opposition to unmarried mothers reflected a hypocritical inconsistency with the Bush Administration's abortion policies. Saturday she was willing to describe the extent of her anger at the Vice President. She said she had been offended and upset by the attack, which she called "political" and "irresponsible." 'I Have Better Writers'
Ms. English said she had issued an open invitation to debate the issue with Mr. Quayle, "anytime, anywhere," but had received no response. "I'm sure he won't debate me," she said. "I have better writers."
Ms. English, who had also been the executive producer of the series, officially left "Murphy Brown" after last season. She is now producing a new comedy for CBS.
But it was her decision to create the pregnancy theme for the character, so the new producers and writers conferred extensively with Ms. English about framing the show's counterpunch.
She said that Mr. Quayle would "absolutely be mentioned by name" and that the response would be in no way subtle. "I think it will be very apparent," she said. "I think there was an attack made on single mothers and I think that's going to be the heart of the matter."
David Beckwith, the press secretary to the Vice President, said on Sunday that Mr. Quayle's attack had not been against single mothers. "The genius of the Hollywood elite," Mr. Beckwith said, "is to twist what he said to try to get people to believe their version of what he said." He said Mr. Quayle had criticized the show for "glorifying" Murphy Brown's choice to have a child out of wedlock as an acceptable "life-style choice."
Ms. English said she agreed that it was valid and even welcome to raise questions about how Hollywoood treats family issues, but, she said: "Where was he four years ago? Three years ago? Where was he last year?" Asked whether she was implying that the Vice President's motivation was political and insincere, she said, "That would be extremely correct." 'She's Delusional'
Mr. Beckwith said: "She's accusing us of being political and then her show is going to come back at us with a political comment. If they weren't feeling the heat they wouldn't be responding the way they are. She sees a commercial advantage in doing this."
As for Ms. English's challenge to debate the Vice President, Mr. Beckwith said, "She's delusional."
Jeff Sagansky, the president of CBS Entertainment, took an unusual position for a network executive in also criticizing Mr. Quayle's motivation and his decision to pick on a show the Vice President has admitted he never even watches.
"I think it was clearly political," Mr. Sagansky said. "I think to comment on a show he hasn't seen is slightly irresponsible, too." Mr. Sagansky, citing recent polls, also added, "I think Dan Quayle is going to have a lot of time next year to discover all the family values that are, in fact, on television."
Ms. English said she especially took offense at the implication that she was a member of some kind of cultural elite.
I don't know who the cultural elite are," she said. "The Vice President is a man who lives in a big house and has lots of money and wears very expensive suits, drives around in a limousine and comes from a family of newspaper heirs." Difference in Background
She added: "I'm not what he thinks I am. I come from a very blue-collar family. My grandparents and parents still live in the same house I was born in. In my neighborhood I was the only one who went to college. I went to a state school because we couldn't afford for me to go to some of the places I'd been accepted.
"And to be singled out as this evil person who's tearing down the moral fabric of America was very upsetting to me and to my family. And I thought it was enormously irresponsible and very political."
An Article from Time Magazine
Murphy Brown: Smoke Without Fire?
Thursday, Nov. 06, 1997
By CHRIS TAYLOR
WASHINGTON: It will undoubtedly be the biggest boost for the flagging ratings of Murphy Brown since Dan Quayle used the fictional TV reporter and single mom as a political football. Hours before Wednesday's episode of the CBS sitcom, Drug Enforcement Administrator Thomas Constantine decided to issue a lengthy statement blasting the show's creators as "dangerous" and accusing them of "trivializing drug abuse."
What's the fuss about this time? It seems Brown played by Candace Bergen has contracted breast cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy. To relieve her suffering, another character provides Murphy with horrors! a marijuana cigarette. Clearly, this must be another blatant play for ratings, calculated to offend Mr. Constantine and the entire DEA.
Or is it? "I'm sorry if we've upset Mr. Constantine. Obviously he hasn't seen the show," said Marc Flanagan, the show's executive producer. "We are not advocating the medical use of marijuana." According to Flanagan, his writers were merely acting on the advice of physicians and cancer specialists who revealed that, in the real world, many cancer patients do relieve nausea with marijuana when other drugs don't work. Dan Quayle had better hold plans for a comeback.
An Article from CNN
Curtains close on influential 'Murphy Brown'
Tuesday, May 19, 1998
LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- It has been a landmark television season, filled with finales from many groundbreaking and long-running shows. First, "Seinfeld" ended with lots of media hoopla, then "Ellen" made a quieter exit. Monday night, it was "Murphy Brown"'s turn to go quietly into TV history, closing shop after 10 seasons on the air.
The sitcom "Murphy Brown," in which Candice Bergen played a tough, flawed journalist who co-anchors a network news program, was a ratings powerhouse in its youth. The show was known for taking on tough issues, starting with single motherhood -- the birth of Murphy's baby launched the show into the same political system which it lampooned every week.
'Am I glamorous?'
Then-Vice President Dan Quayle told the U.S. public that "Murphy Brown" glamorized single motherhood.
"I'm sure the media elite doesn't understand what i'm talking about, but the American people do," he said.
"Glamorized ... am I glamorous?" was the response from an incredulous Bergen.
As Quayle now tells it, his 1992 campaign comments about Murphy's pregnancy launched the current political focus on family values.
In middle age, "Murphy Brown" began a slow decline, drawing fewer viewers and influencing the political landscape less. Yet even as the show's end was near, its creators were still confronting important issues, tackling breast cancer over the past season.
Tear-filled final taping
Several stars came by to help with the send-off, including Julia Roberts and Bette Midler. In the show, the gang from the network news program "FYI" gathers in the bullpen for one last time.
The final taping was an intimate one, shared among friends, family, cast and crew.
"I remember the pilot like it was yesterday," Bergen told her colleagues gathered at the studio. "From the day I read that script, there was some kind of destiny to it."
Nearly everyone involved says their lives were changed by their years with the show. And nearly everyone was near tears as the cameras recorded their final lines.
"I think actually what was a struggle was this morning," said Joe Regalbuto, who played correspondent Frank Fontana on the show. "We all came in and all of us, everything just started flooding up."
Faith Ford, who played the perennially chirpy co-anchor Corky Sherwood, was in the same mood.
"I really tried to hold it when they did the first ovation," she said. "When I came out, though, that really caught me off-guard and I thought, you have to stop because I have to hold on."
'I was handed a gift'
Even Bergen, who excelled in playing a hard-nosed, hard-shelled journalist, admitted she was feeling a little weepy: "I couldn't hold it together today. George Clooney asked me if I was OK, and I practically collapsed. I couldn't stop crying, I had to go off sobbing like an idiot."
Bergen brought cast members into her dressing room, and presented each with a wristwatch as a parting gift. "That was the first tip that we were going," said Lily Tomlin, a relative newcomer to the show -- she stepped in as "FYI" news director after Christopher Rich (as Miles Silverberg) left.
"I'll start to cry now," Tomlin said, just for being "included the way I was included."
The show earned 18 Emmy Awards over its 10 seasons and 245 episodes. Now, as it all comes to an end, Bergen recalled her favorite line from the finale, saying that it captured her feelings about her time as Murphy.
The line was, "My point is that you never know what life has in store for you. But I do know that I was handed a gift the moment I walked into this place, and I thank God for that."
Correspondents Sherri Sylvester and Daryn Kagan contributed to this report.
To watch clips of Murphy Brown go to https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=murphy+brown+full+episodes
For the Un-Official Murphy Brown Webpage go to https://web.archive.org/web/20090830081607/http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/Picture/5957/index.html
For Tim's TV Showcase go to https://web.archive.org/web/20130406183750/http://www.timstvshowcase.com/murphy.html
To hear "Reflections on Urban America" (Dan Quayle's Murphy Brown speech)go to https://digitalcollections.hoover.org/objects/60435
To read about how Dan Quayle was right go to https://web.archive.org/web/20001212191300/http://eserver.org:80/bs/02/Rubio.html
For some Murphy Brown-related interview videos at the Archive of American Television go to https://interviews.televisionacademy.com/shows/murphy-brown
For two great reviews of Murphy Brown go to http://www.museum.tv/eotv/murphybrown.htm and https://web.archive.org/web/20080601031726/www.televisionheaven.co.uk/murphybrown.htm
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Keywords: Murphy Brown cast (Links Updated 1/8/18)