Murphy Brown

TV review by
Lucy Maher, Common Sense Media
Murphy Brown TV Poster Image
Memorable '90s newsroom sitcom has great female role model.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 1 review

We think this TV show stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Underneath the show's frequent sarcasm and sometimes painful zingers, it emphasizes the importance of hard work, teamwork, and friendship. The characters care about one another and are always there for each other when necessary. A major theme is integrity.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Murphy is very wry and sarcastic, which at times makes her behavior seem insulting. She also famously became a single mother after deciding to go through with a surprise pregnancy. Aside from her sharp tongue, Murphy is a strong, independent female role model who overcame addiction and rose to the top of her profession. The FYI team members are good friends who support each other. 


Mild sexual innuendo. Most of the characters are single adults, and they have sexual relationships (nothing shown on-screen) with whoever they're dating.


Mild: "hell," "damn," etc.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Frequent social drinking at the neighborhood bar. Murphy is a recovering alcoholic.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Murphy Brown is a sitcom about a female news reporter/anchor in a wacky workplace. When the show originally premiered in the '80s, the title character, played by Candice Bergen, made waves as a positive role model for women in the workplace. Brown, a capable and successful reporter, can be pretty sarcastic, and her wry one-liners might fly over the head of younger viewers, and there are some sexy jokes and relationship issues. The show makes frequent references to politicians and other newsmakers of the late '80s and early '90s, which can serve as a gentle history lesson for teens watching now. While it may not seem groundbreaking today, this series, like Mary Tyler Moore before it, changed the game for women on TV.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bycoolcat April 9, 2008

This Show Rocks!

Murphy Brown is still my favorite TV Show;from the 1980s/1990s
Teen, 16 years old Written byChronoTrigger July 3, 2011

Corky Sherwood Forester Silverberg! xD

When this started being shown on Nick at Nite, and I was about 9, I watched it. I never picked up any bad behaviors from it. I loved the show, and still do. If... Continue reading

What's the story?

In the hugely successful sitcom MURPHY BROWN, which enjoyed a 10-year run on CBS, Candice Bergen plays the title character. Murphy is an ace reporter for a network newsmagazine series called FYI who struggles to balance her work and personal lives. Joining Murphy in the studio are Jim (Charles Kimbrough), the uptight senior anchor who's often the butt of Murphy's jokes; Frank (Joe Regalbuto), a reporter, a perennial bachelor, and Murphy's best friend; Corky (Faith Ford), a former Miss America turned journalist; and Miles (Grant Shaud), a young, cocky Harvard graduate who's the show's executive producer.

Is it any good?

The show -- which has often been compared to The Mary Tyler Moore Show -- is smart, the dialogue witty and topical, and the acting top-notch. Bergen won five Emmys for her role on Murphy Brown, and they were well deserved. Adults will howl at Murphy's wry witticisms, but younger viewers might not get the jokes. As the series goes on, the relationships between the characters deepen, and watching co-workers become friends and family is a pleasure.  

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about workplace etiquette in Murphy Brown. How do you do a job well and treat colleagues with respect? If you have a problem with someone you work with, how should you handle it? Is it ever OK to yell at or belittle a co-worker (or a classmate or a friend)?

  • How is the FYI team like a family? Are people more likely to become close friends with co-workers if they spend long hours at the office?

  • How do the characters in Murphy Brown demonstrate integrity? Why is this an important character strength?

TV details

Character Strengths

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