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  • Series Premiere Date: Nov 14, 1988
  • Season #: 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5 , 6 , 7 , 8 , 9 , 10
Murphy Brown Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 10 Critics What's this?

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Mixed or average reviews- based on 5 Ratings

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  • Starring: Jane Leeves, Joe Regalbuto, Lily Tomlin
  • Summary: Murphy Brown was created by Diane English. Murphy is the star reporter on a news magazine show called FYI. The show is based in Washington DC, which gives the FYI team more than enough material to work with. Murphy lives in a townhouse that she has been having repainted for the duration of the series, Eldin the painter may never finish the job, but Murphy doesn't seem to mind. Murphy owes her Betty Ford trip to Phil, he owns the local bar & restaurant where the staff and the rest of the political scene have lunch. Phil knows about everything going on in Washington. Jim Dial is the uptight senior anchor, a seasoned veteran, who accompanied Murphy on her trip to the Betty Ford Clinic. Frank is a single guy and constantly looking for a girlfriend, he is also Murphy's best friend. Corky is a former Miss America turned news person, she covers all the "hard" news. Miles is a young Harvard graduate, whose first "real job" out of school is as executive producer of FYI.

    Murphy has trouble keeping a secretary, in this guide the actors that play this small part has their appearance number placed after their names, take note of the increasing number after the character name of Secretary. Some secretaries had no dialog and did not get credited, others wound up on the cutting room floor, this accounts for holes in the numbering scheme. When Murphy became a new mother, she began to run through nannies the same way, they are also numbered after the character name of Nanny. After running through 6 of them, she makes the obvious choice for a nanny, Eldin, who prefers the term "Big Guy." It also takes Murphy four months to give the baby his name.

    After nine seasons in the newsroom, the series looked like it might take a different direction in the 10th season. Murphy may change careers and become a White House senior advisor. Amazing since in the past she had been banned from the White House press room on several occassions. True to form, when she does, it is only for a short time. When a commercial for the series aired during the 49th Annual Prime Time Emmy Awards, it seemed to indicate that Murphy's life would take a different turn. It certainly does when she faces her own mortality when she is diagnosed with breast cancer.

    Murphy Brown has done well with the Prime Time Emmy Awards with nominations in many categories and numerous awards for Candice Bergen as "Best Actress in a Comedy Series." So many in fact that she declined the nomination for 1996, allowing Helen Hunt to get the Emmy that Candice thought she deserved a few years earlier.

    First air date: November 14, 1988
    Last air date: May 18, 1998
    Original air time: Monday 9:00:00 pm (Eastern)

    Episodes: 247 Color Episodes + 1 Special

    Nielsen Ratings:
    (Top 30 or Better)
    #27 in the 1989–1990 Season
    #6 in the 1990–1991 Season
    #3 in the 1991–1992 Season
    #4 in the 1992–1993 Season
    #9 in the 1993–1994 Season
    #16 in the 1994–1995 Season
    #20 in the 1995–1996 Season
  • Genre(s): Comedy
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 10
  2. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. Reviewed by: Steve Sonsky
    Jul 23, 2013
    It's very, very funny. ... The ingredients are all here (neat star, clever writing, a talented, well-defined supporting ensemble) for a classy comedy hit in the Cheers or Mary Tyler Moore Show mold. [14 Nov 1988]
  2. Reviewed by: Clifford Terry
    Jul 23, 2013
    Appearing in her first TV series, Bergen brings in a full-court-press performance-stylish, sardonic and funny. Couple that with English's crisp dialogue, which consistently veers off just at the point it seems to be settling for the formulaic, and "Murphy Brown" comes up as a bright, promising half-hour. [14 Nov 1988]
  3. Reviewed by: John J. O'Connor
    Jul 23, 2013
    The supporting cast... is strong. And the star is wonderful. ... There's a nice urban, smart-alecky tone to ''Murphy Brown.'' Now it's up to the scriptwriters.
  4. Reviewed by: Marvin Kitman
    Jul 23, 2013
    Heretofore, I have never thought of Candice Bergen as a major comedienne like Andrea Martin or Catherine O'Hara. But I like her as Murphy Brown. She has the addictive personality of the character she plays, and can grow on you. [14 Nov 1988]
  5. Reviewed by: Harry F. Waters
    Jul 23, 2013
    There's lots to love about the CBS sitcom "Murphy Brown," even though Candice Bergen works too hard at grabbing her share. ... This sitcom sparkles with acerbic intelligence, though its fascination with the real TV world occasionally gets out of hand. [28 Nov 1988]
  6. Reviewed by: Joe Stein
    Jul 23, 2013
    It's all great fun, and the idea of putting a hard-nosed, highly competent journalist into situations where she must deal with neophytes and no-talents is rife with possibilities, especially since Bergen plays Murphy Brown as a complex, intriguing neurotic. Not everything works in the debut episode, but enough to mark this as a sitcom with possibilities. [14 Nov 1988]
  7. Reviewed by: John Haslett Cuff
    Jul 23, 2013
    It can't quite decide whether to reach for the smaller, literate audience or appeal to the crowd that needs a laugh track to appreciate a Chevy Chase pratfall. ... Still, there are some good sharp laughs despite the more obvious digs. [14 Nov 1988]

See all 10 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 1 out of 1
  1. Feb 15, 2014
    There's little doubt that this show was enjoyed by many back in the late 80s. However, as a 17 year-old male living in the 21st century, I felt very disconnected from this show. What was humorous then has now become comedy tropes, unfortunately.

    I could only bear to watch 5 episodes, so I honestly haven't completed the whole Season. Murphy Brown's a decent character herself but by now, all of her episodic plot-lines have been done to death. And Miles, the co-star, comes off as a pretty flat character. Otherwise, the ensemble did nothing but irritate me.

    Comedies can more or less get away with weaker elements if the humour is still there, but it's sadly not the case here. I probably laughed only about one time per episode, which was a slight relief from mostly boring TV. Again, this may have been funny in the 80s, but all I see now is out of date references and overused jokes.