December 19, 2018

The Radical Return of “Murphy Brown”

““If can’t remember a time when a TV show would be launched with such an explicitly stated political bias,” says Brooks, who literally wrote the book on TV history. “I certainly don’t say this very often—almost everything has a predecessor—but this is a case where it really is something new.”

It’s a calculated risk but perhaps inevitable in this age of divided politics. Fox, after all, recently revived Last Man Standing after ABC canceled it, a move star Tim Allen attributed to his conservative leanings both on- and off-camera.

And ABC revived Roseanne, seen as the first broadcast show to avidly court Trump voters after the 2016 election (the show has, of course, since been canceled and rebooted in the spinoff The Conners, but Brooks notes that despite the perception, Roseanne almost never directly addressed Trump).

Should Murphy become a hit the second time around—Brooks predicts it will need a weekly audience of 6 million to 10 million to stick, though its premiere should be much bigger—it’s possible this partisan approach to TV hit making will be imitated on broadcast. Hollywood never met an idea it didn’t knock off, after all. But don’t count on a widespread adoption.”

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