The co-stars drop by “WWHL” to share how they scored Hillary Clinton for the revival’s premiere, favorite episodes and what it was like working with Aretha Franklin.
Candice Bergen and Faith Ford dropped by Andy Cohen’s "What What Happens Live" clubhouse Wednesday night to dish on all things "Murphy Brown" as the classic sitcom returns to the air after two decades.
The co-stars are living a surreal dream with the revival of their long-running sitcom on CBS, and both women said they are more relaxed and grateful than ever. "I’m just more aware of how fortunate we are," Faith told Andy.
While they were there, they were happy to head down memory lane with Andy to look back at the original ten-year run of the series, and they weren’t afraid to explore both the good and the bad. Faith, in particular, had no hesitation in naming both the worst guest star the series had, as well as when she feels the show jumped the shark.
Worst Guest Star
Candice said she "blocked it out" of the show’s jump-the-shark moment, but it appears to be seared into Faith’s memory banks. "Wasn’t it the orangutan? Didn’t you think that was jumping the shark?" she asked Candice.
She did hesitate briefly before revealing who the series’ worst guest star was. Not surprisingly, it is one of the myriad stars who dropped by to play Murphy’s inevitably and always quickly fired secretary.
"I know who it is for you, but I’m afeared I shouldn’t say it," Faith said of this person, but Candice didn’t stop her and so she carried on. "You had a secretary, Michael Chiklis. It wasn’t the best marriage, I guess."
Chiklis is perhaps best known as "The Commish" and for his leading role on FX’s "The Shield." He also portrayed Marvel Comics’ The Thing in a couple of terrible "Fantastic Four" films that are best left unwatched. Or perhaps you recall his sitcom "Daddio," which may have been worse!
One thing Candice was more than happy to talk about was how they scored the premiere’s biggest surprise and guest star when Hillary Clinton applied for that infamous secretarial role. "It’s a beautifully written scene and Hillary, in fact, loved the scene and loved that she was poking fun at herself," Candice said. "And I thought that it would help her sort of move on to the next step."
In the scene, Hillary Clinton plays Hilary Clendon, a woman who gets mistaken for the former presidential candidate all the time. She joked about being secretary of a very large organization and having "some experience with emails." The scene was short and sweet, not outstaying its welcome, and proved one of the highlights of the politically-charged premiere.
Advice from Aretha
When Aretha Franklin agrees to do your show, you do what you can to accommodate her. At the time, "Murphy Brown" filmed in Los Angeles and Aretha living in Detroit. And, of course, she famously didn’t fly. And so, according to Candice, they traveled with a skeleton crew to New York where they meet the Queen of Soul and her entourage.
"It was a spectacular couple of hours with Aretha," Candice recalled. "She sat down at the piano and I sat on the piano bench next to her; it was such a thrill."
But there is one huge difference between Aretha Franklin and Candice Bergen. "She sang ‘Natural Woman’ and then I had to shriek along with her, and she just basically said, ‘Don’t quite the day job.’" Thankfully, that was advice Candice was more than happy to take.
With 247 episodes in the show’s initial run, and the fact it premiered 30 years ago, you might think it would be difficult to pick out a favorite, or even a few favorites, but Candice showed no hesitation in picking out three stand-out episodes.
She agreed with Faith Ford that the show’s infamous Thanksgiving episode was a definite highlight, but got a huge kick out of the one where Murphy tried to dress and act younger for the much-younger man she was dating. At the same time, "Murphy Brown" also had its more heartfelt and serious moments, and Candice fondly recalls the episode where Murphy gave birth to her son, Avery.
Now, of course, the adult Avery is portrayed by Jake McDorman and co-stars on the eleventh season of the modern classic, airing Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. ET on CBS.
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