'Designing Women' Reunite

Source: Entertainment Tonight - July 18, 2003

For the first time in 12 years, the entire cast of "Designing Women" came together in one place at the same time. The occasion? The first-ever "Designing Women" reunion, airing July 28 on Lifetime TV.

ET's JANN CARL was on the scene to get an exclusive interview with DELTA BURKE, DIXIE CARTER, ANNIE POTTS, JEAN SMART and MESHACH TAYLOR. Tune in tonight and get the Southern-fried dish!

"I didn't think I would cry so much," Delta admitted. And Dixie added, "Considering what I expected to happen, I did very well."

But it was Annie who really nailed down what the group was feeling. "It is like falling in bed with an old lover with whom you had a great affair, and nobody since has made you feel the way that lover made you feel," she told Jann. "That's what it has been like for us."

Despite the years apart, the "Designing Women" immediately re-discovered their old camaraderie. "We were always unguarded with each other," Jean recalls. "That first year when we did interviews, the interviewer would ask, "So is the honeymoon over yet? You can't have four women in a room and not fight." But there was never a feeling of competition."

That said, Dixie and Delta did address the rift that kept them from talking for several years, but wouldn't comment on what caused it. "We went from my being Delta's matron of honor in her wedding to two years later we weren't talking," Dixie says. "Then we had tragedies in our life, so we started to write."

"We didn't know how to make the move (back to each other)," Delta remembers. "I kept thinking she didn't want to hear from me. Luckily, she was stronger than me, and she made the first move."

During the rift Annie, Jean and Meshach all tried to remain neutral, so they were there for both Delta and Dixie during that trying time.

"Designing Women" put all five actors on the map and opened many doors -- Jean even met her husband on the set, which was a life-altering event. And for Delta, the opportunity to address her weight issue in front of millions of viewers was great therapy.

"Everybody in the known world was talking about my weight," she recalls. "I thought, 'Did I kill a busload of children to get this attention?'" Then I went to LINDA BLOODWORTH-THOMASON (executive producer), and said, 'We need to deal with the weight because so far we are pretending like it is not there.' Overnight she wrote this fabulous script. I was thrilled. It was very personally liberating for me."

When "The Designing Women Reunion" airs, supporting cast members HAL HOLBROOK, (Dixie's real-life husband), GERALD McRANEY (Delta's husband), RICHARD GILLILAND (Jean's husband) and DOUG BARR will add their memories as well.


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