Once NBC’s revival of Will & Grace became one of this season’s biggest hits—and ABC scheduled a Roseanne return for midseason—it was only a matter of time before a rival decided to bring back another ’90s hit.
And now, CBS has announced it will be bringing back Murphy Brown next season, with Candice Bergen reprising her role as the anchor of fictional TV newsmagazine series FYI.
“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,” CBS said in a release. Diane English, who created the original sitcom, which aired on CBS from 1988 to 1998, will return as writer and executive producer for the 13-episode season, with Bergen also executive producing.
During its 10-season run on CBS, Murphy was nominated for 62 Emmys and won 18 of them, including five trophies for Bergen as best actress in a comedy.
CBS is hoping Murphy Brown will follow in the footsteps of Will & Grace, which became one of NBC’s biggest hits when it returned this season. NBC Entertainment president Robert Greenblatt was so certain of the revival’s success that he ordered a second season a full month before the first one debuted.
ABC has scheduled a March 27 return for ’90s hit Roseanne, with Roseanne Barr and the show’s original cast returning. Earlier this month, Roseanne’s producers told reporters they think their show’s revival could help “heal” families who are split over Trump.
But not all revivals are created equal. While The X-Files’ return was one of broadcast’s biggest shows two seasons ago, ratings have cooled for its current Season 11, which is trailing its lead-out 9-1-1 in the ratings. And buyers are concerned about Roseanne, particularly after the cast’s disastrous appearance onstage during ABC’s upfront event in May. Prison Break was met with a muted reception last season, while a new version of 24, without star Kiefer Sutherland, was canceled after one season.
As Greenblatt recently discovered with Heroes Reborn, not every revival will connect with audiences, especially without the original cast. In hindsight, Greenblatt told Adweek last fall, he now realizes “it’s hard if you have to recast everything and start over.”
Revivals, he said, “are hard to do, especially if you can’t get the original creators and some of the cast. The X-Files is a rarity because [David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson] wanted to come back and do it again. It’s hard to recapture that.”
But when the original cast returns, as was the case with Will & Grace, Roseanne and now Murphy Brown, the networks are more hopeful that those shows’ audiences will come back as well.