The revival of Murphy Brown was definitely a long time coming.
Creator Diane English first started to consider whether to bring back her iconic character from the ’80s and ’90s in 2012, when former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin started to get under her skin. “Sarah was really the beginning of the Trump era, in a way that we had never seen before,” English tells EW. “She didn’t have much experience, had very strong opinions, and was extremely out-there. I really disliked her. I made a joke someplace like, ‘If CBS just gave me six episodes, that’s all I would need.’ It became moot, though, because [the GOP] was soundly beaten, so we never really visited it.”
But Warner Bros. TV never forgot about the crown jewel that was tucked away in its vault. Right in the midst of the reboot wave, the studio cut English a big, six-figure check to write a Murphy Brown spec script. But as game as English was about reviving her hit comedy, it ended up taking months to complete.
“It was hard,” she admits. “In the back of my head, I was thinking, “Is this gonna be a mistake? If we don’t do it as good as we did before, we’re going to just get ripped apart in the press. Who needs it at this stage in life? There was a legacy there, and I didn’t want to mess it up.”
So far, so good: The viewing public has yet to see one second of footage from the first episode — English wants to maintain the element of surprise for the Sept. 27 premiere — but anticipation for the 11th season is palpable. In this week’s EW fall TV cover story, the returning cast members, including Joe Regalbuto as Frank Fontana, Faith Ford as Corky Sherwood, and Grant Shaud as Miles Silverberg, talk about how they were immediately on board for the revival, and how many people seem ready to hear from a card-carrying liberal like Murphy.
“It’s surprising to me,” Regalbuto says. “Just before this became a reality, people started coming up and saying, ‘You guys should do your show.’ They would see these other revivals. And I would say, ‘Hmm.’ I knew it was a good idea.”
“The audience went nuts,” Bergen recalls of premiere night last month at New York’s Kaufman Astoria Studios. “They loved the show and were just desperately hungry for the other point of view.”
Our interview with Bergen and her costars is just one of the many features EW has packed into our annual fall TV preview. We’ll give you the scoop on 150 shows, including what’s in store for the new seasons of Outlander, Supernatural, and The Good Place, and we’re eager to share our cocktail-infused conversation with Jean Smart and Connie Britton to celebrate their debut of their new Bravo show, Dirty John. And did somebody call for a pimple-faced conjurer? We’ve got the deets on the return of Sabrina the Teenage Witch in the new Netflix drama Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
Keep your eyes peeled to EW.com for lots more content over the next few weeks!