Hillary Clinton appears on premiere of new ‘Murphy Brown’
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Hillary Clinton made a cameo appearance on the premiere of the “Murphy Brown” reboot as an applicant for a secretarial job who says she has “some experience with emails,” a line the show’s creator said Friday she was surprised that Clinton was happy to deliver.
The former secretary of state, first lady and presidential candidate played a doppelganger named “Hilary” with one L instead of two in a brief scene with star Candice Bergen on the first new episode in 20 years of the CBS sitcom on Thursday night.
It was a revival of a running gag from the original show, whose title character had a succession of terrible secretaries and was always having to interview new ones.
“Candice just threw out there, ‘Hillary Clinton would make a great first secretary,’” the show’s creator, Diane English, told The Associated Press in an interview Friday. “We were kind of hoping and praying that it would actually come to fruition.”
English wrote the script and sent it to Clinton’s people, and while it was tough to make the schedule work, they were fine with all the jokes.
“I was assuming that they were going to delete the email reference, but she liked it,” English said. “She thought it was funny.”
Clinton, unmistakable in a red pantsuit, tells Bergen she’s worked as a secretary before, in a wink to her days as secretary of state. Bergen tells Clinton she might be a little over-qualified and is left with an email address on a business card that reads “Hilary at you-could-have-had-me dot com.”
The scene had been omitted from advance screeners of the episode sent to critics. It was shot on a closed set with no audience about two weeks after the rest of the episode.
“The writers and the cast, even crew members didn’t know who was going to be walking on to that set,” English said. “I can’t believe it didn’t leak. Everything leaks.”
The episode earned moderate ratings, though not on par with the premieres of other reboots like ABC’s “Roseanne” or NBC’s “Will and Grace.” It came on a day when much of the nation, especially the politics-minded audience “Murphy Brown” attracts, had been watching the U.S. Senate’s dramatic and often bitter confirmation hearings for Supreme Court candidate Brett Kavanaugh.
“I think the country was riveted, and it put the country in a really down mood,” English said. “I got a lot of feedback saying it was good to laugh after that.”
The episode also included a brief tribute to Aretha Franklin, whose songs were often the heart and soul of the original show.
At one point, Brown happily agrees with her son that the password on her new Twitter account should be “ArethaForever.”
Many viewers probably assumed it was a line inserted after the death of the Queen of Soul last month, but English said it was actually included before anyone involved with the show even knew Franklin was sick.
English said issues with cost and copyright are keeping the songs out of the reboot, and she felt Franklin, and her importance to Brown, needed some acknowledgment.
“That was in the script from day one,” English said.