You Can't Stream 'Murphy Brown' Anywhere and Here's Why

Murphy Brown is coming back to CBS starting Sept. 27, leaving you plenty of time to catch up on past seasons. However, there's one problem: Murphy Brown is not streaming anywhere.

Despite the hype going into season 11, the news-centric sitcom is not available on CBS All Access, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video or any other streaming service.

Decider dug into why that is and came up with two main reasons for this: production rights and music rights.

On the production ends of things, Murphy Brown is produced and distributed by Warner Bros. Television.

CBS and Warner Bros. collaborate on many projects like Murphy Brown and ratings heavy-hitter The Big Bang Theory. However, that difference between CBS owning and just airing a property puts enough of a road block in the way to prevent the show from heading to CBS' streaming service.

Decider confirmed this theory with CBS All Access, saying that is why the sitcom was not added on the service with the other CBS-produced shows.

That issue seems like it could be easily untangled, but the music rights issue is probably near insurmountable.

The show featured heavy use of Motown songs as the show's stand-in theme songs, as well as in numerous scenes. They can not simply be dubbed out and replaced.

Decider uses the example of the very first episode of the series. One of the most important scenes features Murphy (Candice Bergen) singing along to a recording of Aretha Franklin's "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman." It's impossible to cut that scene in a way that takes the song out of play.

This issues also caused the show's first season to be the only one released on DVD. That product is out of print, with numerous Amazon viewers leaving long-winded reviews about how the Warner Bros. should pay for the music rights and give the show a proper re-release.

The renewed interest in Murphy Brown has stirred up some more online calls to bring the show to streaming services or at least a DVD run.

"The true question here is when will Murphy Brown work through their music issues so we can watch old episodes on a streaming service?" Fresh Fiction's Gwen Reyes wrote during Saturday's Television Critics Association event.

Another fan recently suggested, "It would very much be appreciated if you got the rights to the Murphy Brown series and started streaming it! Warner Bros. TV, hi ... if you could pair with Hulu on making this deal happen (and keeping the OG music) ... it'd be greatly appreciated."


Murphy Brown's 11th season will premiere on Thursday, Sept. 27 at 9:30 p.m. ET.

Photo Credit: CBS