×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Listen: Candice Bergen and Diane English on Revisiting ‘Murphy Brown’ in Trump Era

Welcome to “Remote Controlled,” a podcast from Variety featuring the best and brightest in television, both in front of and behind the camera.

In this week’s episode, Variety’s managing editor of TV, Cynthia Littleton, speaks with “Murphy Brown” star Candice Bergen and creator/executive producer Diane English about the revival of the CBS sitcom, which bows on Sept. 27.

Listen to this week’s podcast for free below and at Apple Podcasts:

Murphy Brown’s” creator and star speak candidly about how the rise of Donald Trump drove them back into business together, 20 years after the original CBS comedy signed off. The pair also offers a glimpse into how the show is tackling a wildly different media landscape, and discusses the emotional journey of reuniting with cast and crew members.

English was a rare example of a female showrunner at the helm of a network primetime series in 1988 when “Murphy Brown” began its original 10-season run. English admits to battling doubts about whether she could find Murphy’s voice again.

“I was afraid that I wasn’t going to be able to write the show at all,” English says. “When I finally did force myself to sit down and do it — because the script was due — it just came out of me.”

Bergen, a five-time Emmy winner for the original series, has every confidence that English and the writing team she’s assembled have the right stuff. The revival features Murphy now working for a cable TV morning news program. Her 25-year-old son Avery (the kid whose birth famously stirred Dan Quayle’s ire back in 1992) is also in the family business, but working for the rival Wolf network.

“You would not believe how she went for it” on politically charged humor, Bergen enthuses. “This show is fearless. She’s sticking her head in the mouth of the lion and flossing. It’s just totally fearless.”

Returning to the world of “Murphy Brown” allows the show to comment on how much technology has changed the way we live now and how the TV news business operates.

“There’s so much technology that has come and changed our lives,” English says. “Taking these characters into this world is really rich.”

The election of Donald Trump as president was the final push that English and Bergen needed to bring “Murphy Brown” back to life. English is energized to have a platform to comment on the chaotic world of national politics and how the hyper-active media landscape influences all of it.

For the episode that will air a few days before the Nov. 6 midterm elections, English made a point of building a story around the extreme political polarization in the country, as reflected on air and at the polls.

“We’re going to cut between (election coverage on) the Wolf network and Murphy’s network and how differently they see this particular event,” English says.

New episodes of “Remote Controlled” are available every Friday. Subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud, or anywhere you download podcasts. You can find past episodes here and on Apple Podcasts.

Let us know what you think of Variety’s podcasts! You can email us at podcasts@variety.com to offer comments, suggestions, and ideas for interview subjects you’d like to hear from.

More TV

  • Jussie Smollett Good Morning America

    Jussie Smollett Angrily Denies Complicity in Attack

    Attorneys for “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett issued a statement Saturday denying that he orchestrated his Jan. 29 assault, and saying he is “angered” and “devastated” by recent developments in the case. Chicago police want to interview Smollett, after learning new evidence from two Nigerian brothers who were released on Friday night. Local media outlets have [...]

  • Jussie Smollett Empire

    Chicago Police Want to Talk to Jussie Smollett as New Evidence Emerges

    Chicago police are seeking to re-interview “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett, after new evidence emerged in his alleged assault. Smollett has claimed that two men attacked him at 2 a.m. on Jan. 29, yelled racial and homophobic slurs, poured bleach on him, and put a noose around his neck. The Chicago Police Department has consistently said [...]

  • Five Takes on Canal Plus, Federation’s

    Just Days Left to Catch Canal Plus’ ‘The Bureau’ on MyFFF

    The most lauded of titles on this year’s MyFrenchFilmFestival, UniFrance’s online showcase featured by over 50 OTT services around the world, may not be a film but a drama series. With four seasons aired, and a milestone in world sales on a French TV show, slow-boiling espionage series ‘Le Bureau des légendes’ (“The Bureau”) is [...]

  • Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith

    Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith Dies at 78

    Walt Disney Archives founder Dave Smith, the historian who spent 40 years cataloging and preserving the company’s legacy of entertainment and innovation, died Friday in Burbank, Calif. He was 78. Smith served as Disney’s chief archivist from 1970 to 2010. He was named a Disney Legend in 2007 and served as a consultant to the [...]

  • TV Writer Christopher Knopf, Former WGA

    TV Writer Christopher Knopf, Former WGA West President, Dies at 91

    Prolific Emmy-nominated television writer Christopher Edwin Knopf, former president of the Writers Guild of America West, died in his sleep of congestive heart failure on Feb. 13. He was 91. Knopf was born in New York and attended UCLA, leaving during his senior year to join the Air Force during World War II. He finished [...]

  • Jussie Smollett The Black AIDS Insitute

    Jussie Smollett Case: Two Suspects Released Without Charges as New Evidence Emerges

    After two days of questioning, the Chicago Police Department announced Friday evening that it has released two suspects in the Jussie Smollett case without filing charges. Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said that detectives had developed new information in the case. Police no longer consider the men to be suspects. “Due to new evidence as a [...]

  • GOTHAM: L-R: Guest star Cameron Monaghan

    TV News Roundup: Fox Drops 'Gotham' Final Season Trailer (Watch)

    In today’s TV news roundup, Fox released a new trailer for an upcoming episode of “Gotham” and Disney has announced the cast for its upcoming “High School Musical” series.  FIRST LOOKS Showtime released a new trailer and the official poster for the upcoming fourth season of “Billions,” premiering March 17 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. In [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content