Designing Women

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Designing Women
Designing women cast 1986 1991.jpg
Original cast (1986–1991)
Created by Linda Bloodworth-Thomason
Starring
Opening theme "Georgia on My Mind"
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 7
No. of episodes 163 (list of episodes)
Production
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 25 minutes
Production company(s) Bloodworth/Thomason Mozark Productions
Columbia Pictures Television
Distributor Columbia Pictures Television Distribution
(1992–1995)
Columbia TriStar Television
(1995–2002)
Sony Pictures Television
(2002–present)
Release
Original network CBS
Original release September 29, 1986 (1986-09-29) – May 24, 1993 (1993-05-24)
Chronology
Followed by Women of the House (1995)

Designing Women is an American sitcom created by Linda Bloodworth-Thomason that aired on CBS from September 29, 1986, until May 24, 1993, producing seven seasons and 163 episodes. The comedy series Designing Women was a joint production of Bloodworth/Thomason Mozark Productions in association with Columbia Pictures Television for CBS.

The series centers on the lives of four women and one man working together at an interior designing firm in Atlanta, Georgia called Sugarbaker & Associates. It originally starred Dixie Carter as Julia Sugarbaker, president of the design firm; Delta Burke as Suzanne Sugarbaker, Julia's ex-beauty queen sister and the design firm's silent partner; Annie Potts as head designer Mary Jo Shively; and Jean Smart as office manager Charlene Frazier. Later in its run, the series gained notoriety for its well-publicized behind-the-scenes conflicts and cast changes. Julia Duffy and Jan Hooks replaced Burke and Smart for season six, but Duffy was not brought back for the seventh and final season, and she was replaced by Judith Ivey.

Premise

Main cast

Episodes

Season Episodes Originally aired Nielsen ratings[1]
First aired Last aired Rank Rating
1 22 September 29, 1986 (1986-09-29) May 11, 1987 (1987-05-11) N/A N/A
2 22 September 14, 1987 (1987-09-14) March 28, 1988 (1988-03-28) N/A N/A
3 22 November 14, 1988 (1988-11-14) May 22, 1989 (1989-05-22) N/A N/A
4 28 September 18, 1989 (1989-09-18) May 21, 1990 (1990-05-21) 22 15.3
(Tied with Full House)
5 24 September 17, 1990 (1990-09-17) May 13, 1991 (1991-05-13) 10 16.5
(Tied with The Golden Girls)
6 23 September 16, 1991 (1991-09-16) May 4, 1992 (1992-05-04) 6 17.3
7 22 September 25, 1992 (1992-09-25) May 24, 1993 (1993-05-24) N/A N/A
R 1 July 28, 2003 (2003-07-28) N/A N/A

Filming locations

The exterior of the house seen in the series as the location of the Sugarbaker's design firm, a normal house with a front door with only two windows on both sides of the door, is located in the historic Quapaw Quarter district in Little Rock, Arkansas. Additionally, the home of Suzanne Sugarbaker seen in the series is the Arkansas Governor's Mansion, also in the Quapaw Quarter. Both homes are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Critical reception

When the show debuted in CBS's Monday-night lineup in 1986, it garnered respectable ratings; however, CBS moved the show several times to other time slots. After dismal ratings in Sunday night and Thursday night time slots, CBS placed it on hiatus and was ready to cancel the show, but a viewer campaign saved the show and returned it to its Monday night slot. The show's ratings solidified, and it regularly landed in the top 20 rankings.[2] From 1989 through 1992, Designing Women and Murphy Brown (which also centered around a strong, opinionated female character) aired back-to-back, creating a very successful hour-long block for CBS, as both shows were thought to appeal to similar demographics. The show was a top 30 hit for three seasons, from 1989 to 1992, in which the 1989–1992 seasons made it the most successful of the time and helped CBS, which struggled in the ratings around the late 1980s.[3]

Political views

Show creators Linda Bloodworth-Thomason and Harry Thomason were strong supporters of longtime friend and then-Democratic nominee for President of the United States, Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary. In one episode, Julia is stranded in the airport while attempting to attend Clinton's first inauguration. Additionally Charlene mentioned working for Clinton during his Arkansas governorship. Yet another Clintons-related joke was the introduction of the prissy character, Allison Sugarbaker, who makes it quite clear to the other "Designing Women" that she attended Wellesley College (Hillary's alma mater). One episode revolved around Julia running for commissioner, where she debates on television against a conservative candidate, to whom she eventually loses. In reality, Dixie Carter was a Republican who disagreed with some of the liberal views expressed by her onscreen character, although she did become a Clinton supporter.[4]

Awards and nominations

Year Association Category Recipient Result
1991 BMI Film & TV Awards BMI TV Music Award Bruce Miller Won
1992 Won
1987 Casting Society of America Artios Award for Best Casting for TV, Comedy Episodic Fran Bascom Nominated
1989 Nominated
1990 Nominated
Directors Guild of America Outstanding Directing – Comedy Series Harry Thomason (For episode "They Shoot Fat Women, Don't They?") Nominated
1991 GLAAD Media Awards Outstanding Comedy Episode Won
1990 Golden Globe Awards Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy Nominated
1991 Nominated
1987 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series Jack Shea (For episode "The Beauty Contest") Nominated
Outstanding Costume Design for a Series Cliff Chally (For episode "Oh Suzannah") Nominated
1988 Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series Linda Bloodworth-Thomason (For episode "Killing All the Right People") Nominated
Outstanding Editing for a Series - Multi-Camera Production Roger Bondelli (For episode "Killing All the Right People") Nominated
Outstanding Achievement in Hairstyling for a Series Judy Crown and Monique DeSart (For episode "I'll Be Seeing You") Won
1989 Outstanding Comedy Series Harry Thomason, Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, Pamela Norris, Tommy Thompson, Douglas Jackson, and David Trainer Nominated
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series Meshach Taylor Nominated
Outstanding Costume Design for a Series Cliff Chally (For episode "Come On and Marry Me, Bill") Nominated
1990 Outstanding Comedy Series Harry Thomason, Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, Pamela Norris, Tommy Thompson, Douglas Jackson, and David Trainer Nominated
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Delta Burke Nominated
Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series Harry Thomason (For episode "They Shoot Fat Women, Don't They?") Nominated
Outstanding Editing for a Series - Multi-camera Production Judy Burke (For episode "The First Day of the Last Decade of the Entire Twentieth Century") Nominated
Outstanding Costume Design for a Series Cliff Chally (For episode "The Rowdy Girls") Nominated
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy Series or a Special Larry Lasota, Anthony Constantini, Doug Gray, and Rick Himot (For episode "Tornado Watch") Nominated
1991 Outstanding Comedy Series Harry Thomason, Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, Pamela Norris, Tommy Thompson, Douglas Jackson, and David Trainer Nominated
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series Delta Burke Nominated
Outstanding Costume Design for a Series Cliff Chally (For episode "Keep the Home Fires Burning") Nominated
1992 Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series Alice Ghostley Nominated
1990 Television Critics Association Outstanding Achievement in Comedy Nominated
2003 TV Land Awards Most Memorable Female Guest Star in a Comedy as Herself Dolly Parton Won
Favorite Guest Performance by a Musician on a TV Show Ray Charles Nominated
1987 Viewers for Quality Television Best Quality Comedy Series Won
Best Writing in a Quality Comedy Series Linda Bloodworth-Thomason Won
Best Directing in a Quality Comedy Series Jack Shea Won
1988 Best Quality Comedy Series Won
Best Supporting Actor in a Quality Comedy Series Meshach Taylor Won
Best Writing in a Quality Comedy Series Won
Best Directing in a Quality Comedy Series Won
1989 Best Quality Comedy Series Won
Best Actress in a Quality Comedy Series Delta Burke Nominated
Dixie Carter Nominated
Annie Potts Nominated
Best Supporting Actor in a Quality Comedy Series Meshach Taylor Won
Best Writing in a Quality Comedy Series Won
Best Directing in a Quality Comedy Series Won
1990 Best Quality Comedy Series Won
Best Actress in a Quality Comedy Series Delta Burke Nominated
Dixie Carter Nominated
Best Supporting Actor in a Quality Comedy Series Meshach Taylor Won
Best Supporting Actress in a Quality Comedy Series Alice Ghostley Nominated
Best Writing in a Quality Comedy Series Won
Best Directing in a Quality Comedy Series Won
1991 Best Quality Comedy Series Nominated
Best Actress in a Quality Comedy Series Delta Burke Nominated
Dixie Carter Nominated
Best Supporting Actor in a Quality Comedy Series Meshach Taylor Nominated
Best Writing in a Quality Comedy Series Nominated
Best Specialty Player Alice Ghostley Won
1992 Best Actress in a Quality Comedy Series Dixie Carter Nominated
1991 Writers Guild of America Episodic Comedy Linda Bloodworth-Thomason (For episode "The First Day of the Last Decade of the Entire Twentieth Century") Nominated
1994 Young Artist Awards Best Youth Actress Recurring or Regular in a TV Series Lexi Randall Nominated

DVD releases

Shout! Factory has released all seven seasons of Designing Women on DVD in Region 1.[5]

DVD name Ep # Release date
The Complete First Season 22 May 26, 2009
The Complete Second Season 22 August 11, 2009
The Complete Third Season 22 March 2, 2010
The Complete Fourth Season 29 September 14, 2010
The Complete Fifth Season 24 December 6, 2011
The Complete Sixth Season 23 April 3, 2012
The Complete Seventh and Final Season 22 July 17, 2012

On September 2, 2003, Sony Pictures released The Best of Designing Women, a single-disc DVD featuring five episodes ranging between seasons one through four: "Designing Women (Pilot)" (season 1), "Killing All the Right People" (season 2), "Reservations for Eight" (season 2), "Big Haas and Little Falsie" (season 3) and "They Shoot Fat Women, Don't They?" (season 4).

On September 28, 2010, Shout Factory released Designing Women, Volume 1, a single-disc DVD featuring seven episodes from the first season: "Designing Women (Pilot)", "A Big Affair", "Design House", "I Do, I Don't", "New Year's Daze", "Monette", "And Justice for Paul". Further selected episode volumes have yet to be announced.

On June 5, 2012, Shout Factory released Designing Women – 20 Timeless Episodes, aimed for casual fans to enjoy the series without buying full season sets. The 2-disc DVD set included the following episodes, ranging from seasons one through five: Disc 1 – "Designing Women (pilot)" (season 1), "New Year's Daze" (season 1), "Monette" (season 1), "Oh Suzannah" (season 1), "Ted Remarries" (season 2), "Killing All the Right People" (season 2), "Heart Attacks" (season 2), "Return of Ray Don" (season 2), "Big Haas & Little Falsie" (season 3), "The Wilderness Experience" (season 3). Disc 2 – "The Naked Truth" (season 3), "Stand & Fight" (season 3), "Nightmare from Hee Haw" (season 3), "Julia Gets Her Head Caught in a Fence" (season 4), "Julia & Suzanne's Big Adventure" (season 4), "Foreign Affairs" (season 4), "A Blast from the Past" (season 5), "And Now, Here's Bernice" (season 5), "This is Art?" (season 5) and "The Pride of the Sugarbakers" (season 5).

Reruns

CBS ran reruns of the show in their daytime lineup at 10:00 a.m. (EST) from April 1991 to June 1992. Subsequently, Designing Women aired on the Lifetime cable network for over a decade. Despite its popularity, the show left the network on August 4, 2006. A 90-minute retrospective special, The Designing Women Reunion, aired on Lifetime on July 28, 2003, reuniting Burke, Potts, Smart, Carter and Taylor in which they shared memories from their time on the series, and also featured interviews with the Thomasons and various writers. Actors Alice Ghostley, Hal Holbrook, Gerald McRaney, and Richard Gilliland also took part in the special.

The series also aired on Nick at Nite beginning October 2, 2006; however, it quickly left and later appeared on its sister network TV Land, airing at various late-night and morning times occasionally until the network lost the rights to air the show in 2008. The series also aired on ION Television in 2007, Monday through Thursday at 7:00 & 7:30 pm ET.[6]

The program currently airs on the Comedy Gold (formerly TV Land Canada) in one-hour blocks every day at 11 am and 5 pm EST. TV Guide Network also began airing a one-hour block weekdays at 11 am EST in October 2011 and currently airs a two-hour block, weekdays from 3:00 pm (EST & PST) to 5:00 pm (EST & PST).

As of May 2014 reruns air on the LOGO network. In recognition of the show's 30th anniversary, GetTV began running "Designing Women" in June, 2017 with nightly blocks featuring 30 fan-favorite episodes. The show will go into a regular time slot after these 30 episodes. Also in June 2017, FETV is also showing reruns of the show.

References

  1. ^ Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle (2007). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946-Present (Ninth Edition). Ballantine Books. p. 1692-1693. ISBN 978-0-345-49773-4.
  2. ^ VIRGINIA ROHAN (April 14, 2002). "'Once & Again' won't be back". North Jersey Media Group. Archived from the original on June 10, 2007. Retrieved July 13, 2007.
  3. ^ Brooks, Tim and Marsh, Earle, "The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable Shows 1946–present," 7th edition
  4. ^ "Star of TV's 'Designing Women'". Washingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2016-09-29.
  5. ^ Designing Women: The Final Season: Dixie Carter, Annie Potts, David Trainer: Movies & TV. Amazon.com. Retrieved on April 21, 2012.
  6. ^ ION Television July: Designing Women and Who's the Boss? Join Line-Up; Still Standing Joins Atlanta TBS; Network Notes. Sitcomsonline.com (June 8, 2007). Retrieved on April 21, 2012.

External links

  • Designing Women on IMDb
  • Designing Women at TV.com
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