Murphy Brown TV Poster Image

Murphy Brown



Kids might not get memorable '90s sitcom.

What parents need to know

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.

Positive role models

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.

Not applicable

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.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

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

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the main character, Murphy, while a positive role model for women in the workplace, is incredibly sarcastic, and her wry one-liners might fly over the head of younger viewers. The show makes frequent references to politicians and other newsmakers of the late '80s and early '90s; that, plus the already-dated fashions and hairstyles, may make the series seem irrelevant to today's kids.

What's the story?

In the hugely successful sitcom MURPHY BROWN, which enjoyed a 10-year run on CBS and is now in syndication (and on DVD), 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?


Bergen won five Emmys for her role on Murphy Brown, and they were well deserved. 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. Adults will howl at Murphy's wry witticisms, but younger viewers might not get the jokes -- or find the late '80s and early '90s political references very relevant.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about workplace etiquette. 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?

TV details

Premiere date:November 14, 1988
Cast:Candice Bergen, Faith Ford, Grant Shaud
Networks:CBS, Syndicated
Character strengths:Integrity
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD, Streaming
Awards:Emmy, Golden Globe

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What parents and kids say

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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 your kid picks up things from TV, don't let them watch it. I guess maybe the reason I never picked up anything from it at that age is because of my conservative Christian morals. No sex before marriage, no swearing, et cetera.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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