"Murphy Brown"
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2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002

20 items from 2016


TV Is Addicted to Addicts, But Does It Get Dependence Right?

14 June 2016 5:00 PM, PDT | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

There’s a lingering perception in pop culture that drug use is glamorous and au courant, something that builds character and renders a person sexy and intriguing, like an advanced degree in comp lit or the ability to acquire foreign languages easily. See Don Draper with a martini in one hand and a beautiful mistress in the other. Or Jessa on “Girls,” whose bohemian clothes and Rapunzel hair perpetuate the illusion that cocaine-cum-heroin junkies forever maintain the appearance of a Free People catalogue model. In real life, heroin junkies develop abscesses and hacking coughs, sores on their lips and acne. They look like ghosts. Even on “Nurse Jackie,” one of the decade’s most convincing portraits of drug addiction, there were just so many episodes where you had to suspend your disbelief — Jackie should have been dead by season two. Of course, then we would have missed out on five more seasons and Edie Falco’s most dynamic career performance, for which she won the 2010 Emmy for lead actress in a drama.

Because of addiction’s prevalence in our society — according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2014 there were 10,574 heroin overdose deaths in the U.S. — TV is teeming with characters struggling with drugs and alcohol, from “Shameless” to “Mr. Robot” to IFC’s “Maron” and the sobriety sitcom “Mom.” And some shows do it well; if ever a series unflinchingly — if, occasionally, satirically — captured the gory violence of the crystal meth trade it’s “Breaking Bad,” for which Bryan Cranston pretty much monopolized the actor in a drama series category, winning the Emmy an astounding four times.

The Television Academy, in fact, has a history of rewarding small-screen lushes. For his iconic turn as the perpetually soused Hawkeye on “Mash,” Alan Alda won two actor Emmys. Candice Bergen won the Emmy for actress in a comedy series five times for playing a recovering alcoholic on “Murphy Brown,” and Ted Danson scored two Emmys for playing sobered-up baseball player-turned-bar proprietor Sam Malone on “Cheers.” Even Jim Parsons, who plays socially challenged theoretical physicist Sheldon Cooper on the “The Big Bang Theory,” nabbed his first Emmy win for an episode in which he gets sloppy drunk. Hollywood, it seems, loves a character who can’t handle his booze.

But rare is the series that deals with addiction in a way that accurately depicts the frustrating, oft fatal, and sometimes even boring reality of what it is — a disease. There’s a general tendency among critics to assess shows on the strength of their entertainment value, and not how truthfully they convey what it’s actually like to be an addict — or live with one. “Ray Donovan” tackles heady addiction-adjacent subject matter like molestation and Irish-Catholic broods, and “Orange Is the New Black” features a cast of addict convicts, but there isn’t a small-screen counterpart examining, say, the lives of depressed, college-educated worker bees quietly dependent on benzo­diazepines. And there are millions of those people.

Granted, most facets of addiction probably wouldn’t make for good television. Comedies like “Broad City” and “Freaks and Geeks” aside, in the real world there is nothing less interesting than watching potheads get stoned.

A life of abstinence, however, can be hilarious, which is why comedies like “Mom” and “Catastrophe,” with all of their off-color, self-effacing wit, so successfully chronicle the journey of the addict in recovery. On “Mom,” Emmy-winner Allison Janney and Anna Faris play a sober mother-daughter team coping with booze cravings, romantic dysfunction, and the daily challenges of being sober physically — but not necessarily emotionally. On Amazon’s “Catastrophe,” Rob Delaney nails the part of an affectionate and loving but also conventionally narcissistic man-child who quit drinking after he “shit at [his] sister’s wedding.”

What’s especially refreshing about both of these shows is that they debunk the myth that once you get clean you’re suddenly “fixed.” Instead, they’re predicated on the fact that addiction is a disease that people live with for their entire lives, whether or not they’re actively getting wasted. What’s so commendable about “Mom” especially is that it examines what most people do not understand — that sobriety can be the most difficult aspect of alcoholism.

On the flip side, Freeform’s now-canceled “Recovery Road” was a show that missed the mark entirely, serving up a candy-coated rendering of rehab that belies most everything we know to be true. The series’ collective flaws are best summed up in one line, said by a high school guidance counselor to Maddie (Jessica Sula), a strung-out party girl she’s threatening with expulsion unless she moves into a sober living facility: “You can go to school by day and spend your evenings getting sober.” As if sobriety is a part-time job. Maddie tries to keep her situation a secret, and the surrounding adults seem Ok with that — even though honesty is one of the primary tenets of recovery. You can tell what the network was trying to do — create a show about addiction that parents could watch with their kids. But that’s a pointless task if it doesn’t ring true.

“Shameless,” for all of its outlandishness — patriarchal drunk Frank Gallagher (Emmy-nominated William H. Macy) has survived liver failure, a kitchen fire, and being tossed over a bridge into a river — is the series that perhaps most accurately captures the pervasiveness with which alcoholism wreaks havoc on a family. Everybody suffers. Everybody is powerless. Denial rips through the family line. Whether they are using or not, all of the Gallagher kids are living with the –ism.

When it comes down to it, no fictional TV series can definitively capture the brutal truth of how drugs and alcohol destroy people’s lives. Rather, it’s documentaries like Steven Okazaki’s brilliant and harrowing “Heroin: Cape Cod” — which focuses on eight young addicts — that paint the starkest, most blistering, and most realistic portrait of addiction. Because addiction isn’t pretty, and it’s often not something that you want to tune in to watch.

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- Malina Saval

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How 'Black-ish,' 'Transparent' and More Comedy Series Tackle Racism: "We Just Can't Run From Having These Conversations"

9 June 2016 9:00 AM, PDT | The Hollywood Reporter | See recent The Hollywood Reporter news »

Every couple of decades, sitcoms get serious. Back in the 1970s, race relations became a primetime topic on All in the Family, and Bea Arthur had TV's first abortion in an episode of Maude. During the '90s, Murphy Brown helped make single motherhood a front-page issue. Now, in 2016, it's happening again, with such super-topical issues as police shootings, gay marriage, xenophobia and transgender bathroom politics being played for laughs (mostly) on broadcast and streaming comedies. When ABC's Black-ish aired an episode in which the Johnson children asked their parents about the police shootings in Ferguson, Mo.,

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- Gregory Ellwood

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2016 Emmy Contenders: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy

2 June 2016 3:00 PM, PDT | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

At this point, the question isn’t whether Julia Louis-Dreyfus will score her fifth consecutive nomination for her role as President Selina Meyer on the HBO comedy “Veep,” but whether her winning streak will end. The actress has watched her character go from the titular vice president to leader of the free world, collecting a string of statues along the way. While Candice Bergen managed to score five wins for “Murphy Brown,” even she didn’t do it in a row.

But there are some new faces poised to take the prize this year, from Golden Globe winner Rachel Bloom (“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”) to Amy Schumer (“Inside Amy Schumer”), who is on a hot streak herself. In addition, many actresses who have never scored a nom are coming off great second seasons, including Ellie Kemper (“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”), Gina Rodriguez (“Jane the Virgin”), Tracee Ellis Ross (“Black-ish”) and Constance Wu (“Fresh Off the Boat. »

- Variety Staff

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Beth Howland Dies: Actress Who Played Vera On ‘Alice’ Was 74

25 May 2016 11:23 AM, PDT | Deadline TV | See recent Deadline TV news »

Beth Howland, who earned four Golden Globe nominations for her regular supporting role on the long-running CBS sitcom Alice, has died. She was 74. Her husband, Murphy Brown actor Charles Kimbrough, told the Associated Press that Howland died December 31 of lung cancer in Santa Monica. She began her career at 16 on Broadway in the original 1960 production of Bye Bye Birdie starring Dick Van Dyke. Howland appeared in four other Main Stem shows during the next decade then… »

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Alice's Vera, Beth Howland, Dead at 74

25 May 2016 7:38 AM, PDT | TVLine.com | See recent TVLine.com news »

Beth Howland, who is fondly remembered as high-strung waitress Vera on the 1970s/80s CBS sitcom Alice, died on Dec. 31 at the age of 74, following a battle with lung cancer. Howland’s husband, Murphy Brown vet Charles Kimbrough, told the New York Times that he refrained from announcing her death earlier, in keeping with her wishes.

Howland won the role of Vera Louise Gorman (which was played by Valerie Cutin in the 1974 Martin Scorsese film Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore) after a Warner Bros. TV exec saw her play anxious bride-to-be Amy in Stephen Sondheim’s Broadway musical Company. »

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Morley Safer, Legendary ’60 Minutes’ Reporter, Dies at 84

19 May 2016 9:10 AM, PDT | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

Emmy-winning newsman Morley Safer, one of the first reporters to convey the brutality of the Vietnam War to America’s TV viewers and a mainstay on “60 Minutes” for 46 years, has died, CBS News reports. He was 84.

Safer annouced his retirement just last week.

A longtime correspondent as well as a writer for documentary series such as “CBS Reports,” Safer described his legacy to broadcast journalism as “a pretty solid body of work that emphasized the words, emphasized ideas and the craft of writing for this medium.” The 12-time winner of News and Documentary Emmys, including a lifetime achievement award in 2003, from 39 nominations also won three Peabody Awards.

He left an indelible impression on broadcast journalism in 1965 with a key report from Vietnam broadcast on “CBS Evening News With Walter Cronkite.” The report depicted Safer accompanying U.S. Marines on a military action into a complex of villages called Cam Ne. »

- Laura Haefner

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The 2016 TV Pilots Most Likely To Become Series (Photos)

9 May 2016 6:14 PM, PDT | The Wrap | See recent The Wrap news »

Network executives are pondering which TV pilots to pick for their fall schedules. Here are some shows most likely to get a nod. Candice Bergen was the star of the classic sitcom “Murphy Brown.” Now she’s back in ABC’s “Pearl,” about a strong-willed matriarch battling cancer as well as her family members. Fox is going to try a reboot of “The Exorcist,” the 1970s horror classic about demonic possession, this time with Oscar winner Geena Davis in the starring role. “Parenthood” writer-producer Jason Katims is behind “Bunker Hill,” a new CBS medical drama about a cutting-edge hospital and the mysterious tech titan. »

- Scott Collins

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William Schallert, Former SAG President and ‘Patty Duke Show’ Star, Dies at 93

9 May 2016 10:52 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

Former SAG president William Schallert, best known as TV dad Martin Lane on “The Patty Duke Show,” died Sunday in Pacific Palisades, Calif. He was 93. His son Edwin confirmed his death.

His most memorable role was as beloved TV dad Martin Lane on “The Patty Duke Show” (1963-66). The performance still resonates: TV Guide slotted him at No. 39 on its list of Greatest TV Dads of All Time in 2004.

Schallert would be familiar to many for his memorable appearance on the famous “The Trouble With Tribbles” episode of the original “Star Trek” series: He played Nilz Baris, the agriculture undersecretary who is outraged to discover that the furry, endlessly reproducing aliens have devoured all the grain.

Schallert served as SAG president from 1979-81 and oversaw a three-month strike in 1980 that centered around rates and residuals for pay TV, videocassettes and videodiscs and included a successful boycott of the year’s primetime Emmy Awards. »

- Laura Haefner

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William Schallert, Former SAG President and ‘Patty Duke Show’ Star, Dies at 93

9 May 2016 10:52 AM, PDT | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

Former SAG president William Schallert, best known as TV dad Martin Lane on “The Patty Duke Show,” died Sunday in Pacific Palisades, Calif. He was 93. His son Edwin confirmed his death.

His most memorable role was as beloved TV dad Martin Lane on “The Patty Duke Show” (1963-66). The performance still resonates: TV Guide slotted him at No. 39 on its list of Greatest TV Dads of All Time in 2004.

Schallert would be familiar to many for his memorable appearance on the famous “The Trouble With Tribbles” episode of the original “Star Trek” series: He played Nilz Baris, the agriculture undersecretary who is outraged to discover that the furry, endlessly reproducing aliens have devoured all the grain.

Schallert served as SAG president from 1979-81 and oversaw a three-month strike in 1980 that centered around rates and residuals for pay TV, videocassettes and videodiscs and included a successful boycott of the year’s primetime Emmy Awards. »

- Laura Haefner

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Ask Alan: The best shows-within-shows, and cliffhangers that didn't surprise

6 May 2016 12:10 PM, PDT | Hitfix | See recent Hitfix news »

Happy Friday, everybody, and it's a pleasantly surprising one for me. Due to some scheduling complications with our video team, I thought there wouldn't be an Ask Alan ready for today. But it turns out the one I recorded earlier this week got completed before life got busy for the video guys. That said, there's a good chance that this will be the last Ask Alan for a couple of weeks, and hopefully not longer than that. In this one, I was asked to identify my favorite shows-within-shows — excluding ones where they were the whole point of the series, like Tgs on 30 Rock, Fyi on Murphy Brown, Sports Night on Sports Night, etc. — to talk about shows I wound up enjoying less because I was reviewing them weekly, and to identify other cliffhanger resolutions that were as unsurprising as what Game of Thrones did this week. As always, you can »

- Alan Sepinwall

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Beyond Fuller House: 9 Classic TV Shows That Could Come Back (and How We Imagine Them Happening)

2 March 2016 1:15 PM, PST | PEOPLE.com | See recent PEOPLE.com news »

"Hey, what other old shows could we bring back?" That's a question being asked all over Hollywood, now that Fuller House worked America up into a nostalgia frenzy. A little credit is due to the Disney Channel's Girl Meets World, which proved that these old shows could benefit from being bumped into the modern era and given a new generation of kids who need to learn life lessons. It's well into its reboot season, but right now Fuller House is the revival show that's generated buzz, press and more than a few conversations about pop culture nostalgia. If this »

- Drew Mackie, @drewgmackie

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Here's What Wgn America's Rural Thriller 'Outsiders' Has In Common With 'Star Trek'

19 February 2016 9:44 AM, PST | Indiewire Television | See recent Indiewire Television news »

Wgn America's latest effort to break into the premium drama game is easily one of the most unusual shows on television right now, in part thanks to an eclectic range of talent behind the camera, including executive producer Paul Giamatti, legendary producer Peter Tolan and creator Peter Mattei. Read More: Watch: The Hills Have Scary Guys in Wgn America's 'Outsiders' Trailer While this is Mattei's first major TV project, Tolan has been in the business for decades, starting with sitcom fare like "Home Improvement" and "Murphy Brown" before moving onto shows like "The Larry Sanders Show" and "Rescue Me." Indiewire sat down with the pair at the TCA Winter Press Tour to talk about their unique take on a clan of mountain dwellers who have created their own society in the woods, but find their way of life under attack from the outside.  Mattei was there from the beginning, »

- Liz Shannon Miller

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Donald Trump’s Blind Date With Candice Bergen Was a Disaster, Actress Says

12 February 2016 2:29 PM, PST | The Wrap | See recent The Wrap news »

Donald Trump may have mastered the art of the deal — but when it comes to women, he was no expert … at least not according to Candice Bergen. “We had a blind date in college,” the “Murphy Brown” star told People on Thursday. “It was a very short evening.” Apparently Trump and Bergen went out on a date when they were both attending the Wharton School of Business. Also Read: Trump Today: Slamming Ted Cruz, Retweeting Neo-Nazis ... Again (Video) “I have no memory of it,” Bergen said about their date. But the one detail that’s still seared into her brain is a doozy. »

- Itay Hod

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Candice Bergen Says Her Date with Donald Trump Was 'Short' - but She Does Remember His Burgundy Limo

12 February 2016 4:55 AM, PST | PEOPLE.com | See recent PEOPLE.com news »

Candice Bergen could have been a Trump. "We had a blind date in college," the actress told People at the American Songbook Gala Thursday evening in New York City about her brief encounter with Donald Trump. For Bergen, 70, the sparks just didn't fly. "It was a very short evening," Bergen said. Trump revealed last August that he had asked Bergen out when they were both attending the prestigious Wharton School of Business. And she still doesn't feel much of a connection to the Republican presidential hopeful. Bergen told reporters that she is a supporter of Hillary Clinton. "I have no memory of it, »

- Maggie Parker

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Candice Bergen to Return to TV in ABC's Cancer Comedy 'Pearl'

11 February 2016 12:00 PM, PST | Indiewire Television | See recent Indiewire Television news »

Candice Bergen is the latest '90s TV icon making a comeback.  The "Murphy Brown" star will play the titular character in the ABC comedy "Pearl," about a matriarch who decides to take control of every aspect of her family's lives when she discovers she has terminal cancer.  The series will mark Bergen's first regular small-screen role since ABC's "Boston Legal," which ran from 2005 to 2008.  The actress has lately made the news with the release of her memoir last year.  [via THR]

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- Inkoo Kang

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Candice Bergen Plots Return to TV Comedy with Pearl

10 February 2016 11:59 AM, PST | TVGuide - Breaking News | See recent TVGuide - Breaking News news »

Candice Bergen, who won five Emmys for her role as the titular TV reporter on Murphy Brown, will star in a pilot for ABC called Pearl. If the show is picked up, it will be Bergen's first starring role in a TV comedy since Murphy Brown ended in 1998.

Candice Bergen does not care if you think she's fat

...

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- Liam Mathews

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Candice Bergen Cast in ABC Comedy Pilot ‘Pearl’

10 February 2016 11:19 AM, PST | The Wrap | See recent The Wrap news »

Candice Bergen has been cast in ABC’s comedy pilot “Pearl.” Bergen will play Pearl, a larger-than-life family matriarch, who finds out she has cancer and becomes intent on controlling and orchestrating every aspect of her family’s life before she dies. The single-camera comedy from ABC Studios is written and executive produced by “Friends” alum Andrew ReichJim Field Smith will direct. Also read: ABC Orders 'Pearl,' Jake Kasdan's 'Speechless' to Pilot The Emmy-winning actress is best known for her role as the title character on the CBS sitcom “Murphy Brown.” She also previously starred as Shirley »

- Reid Nakamura

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Candice Bergen to Star in ABC’s Comedy Pilot ‘Pearl’

10 February 2016 11:01 AM, PST | Variety - TV News | See recent Variety - TV News news »

Candice Bergen will topline ABC’s comedy pilot “Pearl” as the titular character, a larger-than-life family matriarch, Variety has learned.

When Pearl finds out she has cancer, she becomes intent on controlling and orchestrating every aspect of her family’s life before she dies.

“Pearl” was one of the first comedy pilots ordered at ABC this season. The single-cam laffer hails from writer Andrew Reich (“Friends”), who will exec produce the pilot. Jim Field Smith (“She’s Out of My League,” “Episodes”) will direct the pilot. ABC Studios will produce.

Bergen’s casting is a “get” for ABC, bringing the “Boston Legal” and “Murphy Brown” alum back to television in a major role. Her other most notable credits include “Gandhi,” “Miss Congeniality” and “Sex and the City.” She recently had guest roles on “The Michael J. Fox Show” and “Battle Creek.”

Bergen is repped by ICM.

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- Elizabeth Wagmeister

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Candice Bergen To Topline ABC Comedy Pilot ‘Pearl’

10 February 2016 11:00 AM, PST | Deadline TV | See recent Deadline TV news »

Almost two decades after Murphy Brown ended its 10-season run, its star Candice Bergen is returning to broadcast comedy as the title character in ABC’s pilot Pearl. Written/executive produced by Andrew Reich and directed by Jim Field Smith (Episodes), the single-camera comedy pilot centers on Pearl (Bergen), a larger-than-life family matriarch who, after she finds out she has cancer, becomes intent on controlling and orchestrating every aspect of her family's life before… »

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Candice Bergen to Star in ABC's Cancer Comedy Pilot Pearl

10 February 2016 11:00 AM, PST | TVLine.com | See recent TVLine.com news »

If anyone can make terminal illness funny, it’s probably five-time Emmy winner Candice Bergen.

The former Murphy Brown herself has been cast as the title character in ABC’s comedy pilot Pearl, TVLine has learned.

The logline for the single-camera series is as follows: “When a larger-than-life family matriarch finds out she has cancer, she becomes intent on controlling and orchestrating every aspect of her family’s life before she dies.”

PhotosPilot Season ’16: Scoop on This Fall’s (Possible) New Shows, Who’s In Them

The project is written and executive-produced by Andrew Reich (Friends) and directed by »

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2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002

20 items from 2016


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