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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 25 June 2018

Candice Bergen to star in 13 episode revival of Murphy Brown

The series focused on Bergen as a tough TV journalist and ran for 10 seasons from 1988 to 1998

CBS has given a 13-episode, series production commitment to a revival of Murphy Brown with Candice Bergen reprising her role. Chris Pizzello / Invision / AP File
CBS has given a 13-episode, series production commitment to a revival of Murphy Brown with Candice Bergen reprising her role. Chris Pizzello / Invision / AP File

Candice Bergen is returning to TV in a revival of Murphy Brown, the agenda-setting 20th-century comedy.

CBS said in a Wednesday announcement that it's ordered 13 episodes of the sitcom for its 2018-19 season.

Diane English created the original series that starred Bergen as a hard-charging TV journalist. English is back as writer and executive producer for the reboot.

CBS suggested the show is ready to embrace the current zeitgeist.

"As its 30th anniversary approaches, Murphy Brown returns to a world of cable news, social media, fake news and a very different political and cultural climate," the network said in a statement.

Bergen, who won multiple lead-actress Emmys for the original, will be an executive producer, CBS says. The 71-year-old actress will be reprising her role, while other casting wasn't announced.

Watch a scene from the original show:

The series addressed hot-button social and political issues in the US, drawing applause and the ire of critics, including then-vice president Dan Quayle. It ran for 10 seasons from 1988 to 1998.

Murphy Brown became a focal point during the 1992 George HW Bush-Bill Clinton presidential campaign when Quayle criticised a plot line that had the unmarried Brown having a child. He said it damaged family values.

When Bergen won her second Emmy for the role that year, she jokingly thanked Quayle and "the members of the cultural elite".

Bergen won five Emmys for the role, finally taking herself out of the running in 1996 to give other actresses a chance. Overall, Murphy Brown captured a total of 18 trophies.

In the final season, a storyline about Brown's breast cancer revived audience attention to the show as its ratings fell. In one episode, Bergen's character smoked marijuana to ease the pain of chemotherapy, a move both praised and condemned.

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In a 1988 interview, the Oscar-nominated Bergen (Starting Over, 1980) said seeing the first script about an aggressive TV reporter fresh out of rehab persuaded her to take the job.

"I wasn't quite ready to do a television series, but then there were whispers about this pilot script," Bergen said, with people telling her, "'You know there's this pilot script that's as if it's been written for you.'"

Other cast members in the original series included Charles Kimbrough as Jim Dial; Joe Regalbuto as Frank Fontana; Faith Ford as Corky Sherwood and Grant Shaud as Miles Silverberg.

Robert Pastorelli, who played Eldin the housepainter, died in 2004.