BEVERLY HILLS: Emmy-winning comedy “Murphy Brown” will return to CBS television for the first time in 20 years with an episode that addresses the #MeToo movement of women breaking their silence about sexual harassment, the series’ creator said on Sunday.
The new season starring Candice Bergen as a pioneering newswoman is scheduled to premiere on September 27.
Creator Diane English told reporters the fourth episode will be titled #MurphyToo. The episode was written months ago, English said, but her remarks came as CBS Corp itself is investigating sexual harassment allegations.
#MeToo sprouted on social media last year when women began sharing stories of sexual harassment and abuse amid widespread accusations against entertainers, businessmen and politicians.
A July 27 New Yorker article detailed claims by six women who accused CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves of sexually harassing them in incidents between 1985 and 2006.
Moonves has said he “may have made some women uncomfortable by making advances” decades ago, which he called mistakes that he regretted immensely, but that he understood “‘no’ means ‘no'” and had never used his position to harm anyone’s career.
CBS hired two law firms to investigate the allegations and the network’s broader culture.
The “Murphy Brown” cast and producers support the investigation fully, English said at a Television Critics Association meeting, adding that “none of us have had any negative experience in that regard at CBS.”
She said #MeToo was “a powerful movement” and that they wanted to do it justice on the show.
During the original 10-year run that began in 1988, “Murphy Brown” frequently tackled topical issues. English said the new episodes uphold that tradition.
“It’s always been a political show with something to say,” she said. “I’m focusing the show really through the prism of the press. The First Amendment and the free press is under attack like I’ve never seen before.”
The season begins with Murphy coming out of retirement to reunite with journalists Corky and Frank and producer Miles on a cable TV morning show.
Back in 1992, Vice President Dan Quayle famously attacked “Murphy Brown” when the character gave birth to a baby outside of marriage. Murphy’s son, Avery, now works as a liberal voice on a rival conservative channel called the Wolf network, cast members said.
“Murphy is a fierce mom, and she is a competitive mom,” Bergen said. “Avery has his work cut out for him.”