The Television Critics Association still has not seen the new Murphy Brown because they only just shot the first episode on Friday, August 3. Still, there’s enough excitement for the return of Murphy Brown for CBS to have a panel with Candice Bergen, creator Diane English, returning stars Faith Ford, Joe Regalbuto and Grant Shaud, and new cast members Jake McDorman and Nik Dodani.
The panel revealed Avery Brown (McDorman) is working for the Wolf Network (a not so subtle dig at Fox News), and they’ve built the set of Murphy’s townhouse in New York to accommodate Bergen. After the panel, Bergen spoke with reporters further about what to expect in the new Murphy Brown.
What problems does Murphy have with new secretaries now?
Candice Bergen: “That’s in the next episode. Just hopeless, hopeless candidates who become her secretary and she can’t believe that it keeps being visited on her. Why does this happen to me? Hopeless alcoholics and drug addicts. We have a quite stellar person applying for a job in this episode you will see.”
You’re always so busy, where does your energy come from?
Candice Bergen: (Laughing) “First of all, I’m not busy but I like to stay a little busy. I think fear of death.”
Did you miss Murphy?
Candice Bergen: “She’s a great character to play and it’s just been endlessly moving being back at this again. I can’t even explain it or understand it myself.”
Do you think about how exhausting the work was?
Candice Bergen: “We’re only doing 13 episodes which is far different than doing 22 or 25. 13 you always have the end of the tunnel in your view. A whole season just breaks grown men.”
With who we have in the White House now, does that Dan Quayle beef seem quaint?
Candice Bergen: “Yeah. That’s a great question. Yeah, what we have in the White House, it’s made for comedy if it weren’t so terrifying and so, so sad and so humbling. To travel today as an American, really you just keep your head bent. I mean, you’re just ashamed. I am. Not everyone is. Clearly not enough people are ashamed.”
How do you view the change in news and television since Murphy Brown left?
Candice Bergen: “News now, thanks to our President, seems to be in constant turmoil. I think it’ll be sort of reassuring to the press to see Murphy sticking up for the press and sticking up to the President for the press and news gathering has changed, and the release of it. I would think you guys feel in constant flux.”
What went through your head when you first heard the words “enemy of the people?”
Candice Bergen: “I don’t think I can say it on this, but I just thought we’re screwed.”
How are you preparing for the reaction you may get from Trump?
Candice Bergen: “Other than getting armor and going in a silo? I don’t know what the reaction will be. I’m trying to brace myself.”
What is one of your proudest career achievements?
Candice Bergen: “Oh, I think this show was by far the most fun and the most satisfying and engaging of anything. I’ve been very fortunate to be in wonderful projects, but this show… The character of Murphy is just unique and rich and weird, greedy and funny. So, it’s really an honor to play her.”
Was it easy to step back into the role? Did it just come back naturally?
Candice Bergen: “Yes, it did. Once you get on the soundstage, I’m so focused and my focus is not the steadiest but I’m just so focused just to be mindful of things and just to learn my lines, but it’s a great kind of engagement. You just want to do it justice is really what I’m trying to say.”
Has Murphy slowed down at all?
Candice Bergen: “No.”
What was the moment on set that you felt home?
Candice Bergen: “It’s been so weird to have this show impeccably recreated on a soundstage 3,000 miles away from where we originally shot it. It’s been hard to absorb that but when I’m working with all the original cast, Grant, Faith, Joe, it’s always very moving. I love working with them and they’re all even better now as actors than they were then so that’s good.”
How does Avery working for the Fox News-like Wolf news affect their relationship?
Candice Bergen: “Murphy does not want him to join the Wolf Network for obvious reasons. He’s a wonderful actor and I love working with him. So, the relationship is usually good humored but Murphy’s always greedy and she always wants more than a mother should want of her share of the pie. Avery has adjusted to her and is remarkably generous of spirit with her because she’s far from an ideal mother in many ways.”