Perhaps the most interesting creative decision on CBS’ Murphy Brown was to have the hard-charging correspondent’s news-magazine show FYI air on the real CBS instead of a fictional network. That made for all kinds of surreal art-imitates-life-imitates-art moments, and not just the infamous Dan Quayle speech in which the Vice President criticized the fictional reporter for having a child out of wedlock. (The show’s writers responded by building an episode around the footage of the speech.)
The corporate tie-in allowed real-life CBS news personalities to appear as themselves on the show, even as its writers criticized them for doing so. (In one memorable instance, Connie Chung showed up to berate Candice Bergen’s Murphy for damaging her own credibility by playing herself in a cameo on a sitcom about a TV newswoman.) The changing news business was personified in the ongoing clash between the old-school Murphy and Corky Sherwood (Faith Ford), the former Miss America who knew nothing about current events but looked good as a newsreader. Of course, as Corky grew seasoned, Murphy ultimately made her over in her own image, winning in fiction a battle she probably would have lost in real life.
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