Sara Gilbert Jay R Ferguson 2

‘The Conners’ Spoilers: Candice Bergen Joins Cast In Surprising Role

Victoria Miller - Author

Dec. 30 2020, Updated 8:20 a.m. ET

The Conners has added another big name to the cast.

When the ABC sitcom returns from its holiday hiatus next month, Candice Bergen will be on board. The 74-year-old Murphy Brown star will play the mother of Darlene’s (Sara Gilbert) boyfriend, Ben (Jay R. Ferguson), according to Deadline.

In the episode, Bergen’s character Barb shows up at the Conner clan’s Lanford home after an unexpected death and delivers “shocking information from the past” to her son. The character is described as having “superior air and a sharp tongue,” and she is also not a fan of Ben’s relationship with divorced mom-of-two Darlene — until she gets a few drinks in her, that is.

In a new promo, which can be viewed below, Barb’s arrival is shown — and she starts things off with an insult.

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“They bust into houses like this on that program Cops,” she quips of the Conner abode.

The title of the episode may say it all about Ben’s relationship with his mother. The episode, set to air on January 13, is titled “A Cold Mom, a Brother Daddy and a Prison Baby.”

Bergen is best known for her role as a TV journalist on the CBS sitcom Murphy Brown. She played the character for 10 seasons, from 1988 to 1998 as well as in a short-lived 2018 revival. Her other television work includes a long stint on Boston Legal, where she played Shirley Schmidt for 91 episodes from 2005 to 2008. She is a five-time Emmy winner.

Ahead of ABC’s announcement, Bergen seemingly hinted at her Conners role in a recent interview with Vogue.

“I did a TV show when I was in L.A. last week, just to sort of get my brain moving again, which it refused to do so,” she said earlier this month.

In the same interview, she noted that doing Murphy Brown for 10 years gave her “a certain confidence in front of the camera that you can’t replicate.”

Still, she stopped short of saying she would ever want to star on a TV series again.

“No,” the actress said. “I mean, you know, if something comes up that’s interesting, I’m grateful and happy to do it. But to do television is a relentless pace.”

For her one-off role on The Conners, Bergen joins a long list of notable guest stars who have appeared on the show. Over its three seasons, the Roseanne spinoff has welcomed dozens of famous guests, most recently transgender actress Alexandra Billings. Past guests have included Juliette Lewis, Justin Long, Dan Aykroyd, Danny Trejo, Jennifer Grey, Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne, and more.


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