Cast of "Murphy Brown" Reunites

In "The Early Show"'s continuing "Time Machine" series, the cast members of award-winning CBS show "Murphy Brown" reunited to remember their long run into television history.

Blast to the Past, 1990, with "The Early Show"
Remembering 1990
Photos: Back to 1990
1990 Quiz
Arifacts of 1990
Chilling with Vanilla Ice


"Murphy Brown" followed the backstage misadventures at a fictional television newsmagazine called "FYI."

Candice Bergen starred as the title character, a recovering alcoholic returning to work after a stay in rehab.

Bergen won a record-breaking five Emmys for the role, and was surrounded by one of the best ensembles in comedy.

The show tackled many controversial issues. In 1992 it made headlines when Murphy decided to become a single mother. She was criticized by Vice President Dan Quayle in a campaign speech.

In all, "Murphy Brown" ran for 10 seasons and won 18 Emmy awards.

Bergen, Charles Kimbrough who played Murphy's co-worker Jim Dial, Faith Ford, who played Corky Sherwood, Joe Regalbuto, who played Murphy's best friend Frank Fontana, and Grant Shaud, who played "FYI"'s executive producer Miles Silverberg, all appeared on "The Early Show."

"Early Show" co-anchor Harry Smith pointed out that this cast was an unlikely one, particularly because the CBS wanted other actors and actresses for the show.

Reflections on 1979

Heather Locklear, for instance, was a favorite for the role of Murphy Brown.
However, Bergen said, show creator Diane English pushed for Bergen to get the role.

Bergen said, "Diane just went back in (to executives) and said 'This is my show, and I believe in her,' and that's how I got it."

Ford said she auditioned several times, and was petrified when she finally met Bergen for the first time.

"I thought she will definitely not like me very much," Ford said. "I was just certain of it because my character alone had about two marbles to run together. But nevertheless, I was determined that the character of Murphy would end up liking Corky, and Candace also ended up liking me, so it worked out."

Many of the cast members said they weren't the first choice for the network, but they ended up a success together.

"I think the group of us together is what made the show work," Ford said. "If you separated any of us, it wouldn't have worked the same. I really do believe we really were an ensemble, we were like a family."

Ford added it was amazing that the shows were actually completed because the cast had so much fun, and they all had so much dialogue to learn on a week-to-week basis.

Bergen said the show had wonderful writing and writers.

"They don't write that much dialogue in shows anymore," Ford said. "I remember I used to get a whole page, and you're not supposed to have a breath in between. They don't do that anymore."

Regalbuto said the show tried to really give the impression of a newsroom, and Bergen turned out to be a surprise.

He said, "She worked hard, and loved to make a fool of herself. Whenever she did the stupidest thing, she was happiest."

Kimbrough joked that Bergen was always looking for a scene that didn't include her.

"She never had a scene off," Kimbrough said. "She said, 'I'm off this next scene, right?' 'No, turn the page.'"

Smith remarked that the show was fiction, but often made fun of current events. However, he asked the cast, what the reaction was among cast members when Vice President Dan Quayle remarked that it was wrong for a character to be a single mother.

Kimbrough said, "We were just baffled at first. Really strange. (He said), 'This is wrong -- a single woman with a child.' And we thought, 'This is a fictional character.'"

Bergen added that the single mother plot development was given a "great deal of thought."

Bergen said the single mother scenario was "reflective of was happening, and what's happening today." She said nobody felt that fathers were dispensable, as Quayle said in his speech.

Regalbuto said Quayle's remarks were "such a huge thing."

"It catapulted the show into a place that we didn't necessarily want to be. Everywhere you went, people who never watched the show were now watching," he said. "So it was a big moment for us."

Smith also quizzed the cast on their characters. Do you know the answers?

Q: How many assistants did Murphy Brown have in 10 seasons?
A: 93

Q: Corky was originally first runner up at the Miss America contest, but got the crown when the winner was forced to resign. Why did she resign?
A: She told everyone she loved animals, and no one took her literally.

Q: When Murphy's son Avery turns 1-year-old, Frank gave him a memorable birthday present. What famous singer did he get to sing at the party?
A: Barry Manilow.

Q: Where did Miles Silverberg go to college?
A: Harvard.
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