Note to CBS: Don’t Mess with ‘Designing Women’
A Designing Women reboot has been announced at ABC one day after the show’s creator, Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, tore into CBS’ Les Moonves in an first-person piece in The Hollywood Reporter.
“I’m very excited to be working with ABC,” Bloodworth Thomason told THR. “Normally I’m not a fan of reboots but Designing Women does seem to have the right fengshui for all that is going on right now. We could definitely have some fun.”
The network’s script commitment to the Designing Women reboot was announced Thursday, with Bloodworth Thomason and husband Harry Thomason returning as writers and executive producers. Dixie Carter, who played the iconic firebrand Julia Sugarbaker, passed away in 2010, and Meshach Taylor, a.k.a. Man Friday Anthony Bouvier, died in 2014.
It’s not clear if remaining cast members Delta Burke, Annie Potts and Jean Smart would be in the mix. In May, Potts told EW she supported the idea of bringing the show back.
“Every Monday night was a MeToo moment for us, and we were talking about it; we were very political. I’m sad that there’s not such a strong voice, I don’t think, in any singular show. Nobody is doing what we did then. So yeah, if [Linda Bloodworth-Thomason] wanted to write six episodes and do it in my hiatus, I would be there in a minute.”
Designing Women was groundbreaking in its time, addressing hot-button issues like racism, sexism and, in one heart-rending episode, AIDS stigma.
Les Moonves took over CBS in 1995, two years after Designing Women went off the air. But on Wednesday, Bloodworth-Thomason accused Moonves, who’s resigned as CBS chair after numerous accusations of sexual assault and harassment, of being vindictive and sabotaging her career. She already had a $50 million contract with the network, and the promise of five new series “with hefty penalties for each pilot not picked up.” But Moonves froze her out and rejected all her ideas, even when major talent showed interest.
“On the day I officially parted company with CBS, the same day Mr. Moonves said he would only pay a tiny fraction of the penalties, my incredulous agent asked what he should tell me,” she reaclled. “Mr. Moonves replied, ‘Tell her to go fuck herself!’”
Now that he’s gotten his just deserts, Bloodworth Thomason isn’t holding back.
“Mr. Moonves, in spite of the fact that I was raised to be a proper Southern female, and with your acknowledgement that I have never, in my life, spoken a single cross word to you, despite the way you treated me, may I simply say, channeling my finest Julia Sugarbaker delivery:’“Go fuck yourself!’
In addition to the Designing Women reboot, Bloodworth Thomason is working on her memoir, Rising Girl: My Adventures in Politics and Entertainment and is writing the book for a musical stage adaptation of First Wives Club.