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Trivia / Designing Women

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  • The Cast Showoff: In exchange for performing Julia's decidedly left-wing rants, Dixie Carter (a Republican) requested that the character be allowed to sing in a number of episodes.
  • Dueling Shows: With The Golden Girls, another Four-Girl Ensemble series that premiered a year earlier on NBC. Although both were quite popular, The Golden Girls won many Emmys and always had higher ratings (so much that Designing Women evrntually had to be moved to another night altogether.) Years later, both shows would air back to back on Lifetime.
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  • Hide Your Pregnancy: Averted with Jean Smart (see Real Life Writes the Plot below) but played straight with Annie Potts later.
  • Hostility on the Set: Delta Burke increasingly became unhappy with the direction of the show, namely with the long hours the cast worked and other labor disputes with executives, and publicly feuded with show creators Linda Bloodworth-Thomason and Harry Thomason prior to her departure. She and costar Dixie Carter also had a falling out due to the latter siding with the bosses. Eventually, Burke reconciled with them all (although she and Carter didn't speak to one another for ten years).
  • Irony as She Is Cast: As mentioned above, the very conservative Dixie Carter played the very liberal Julia Sugarbaker.
  • Real-Life Relative: Delta Burke's Real Life husband Gerald McRaney played one of Suzanne's ex-husbands; Dixie Carter's Real Life husband Hal Holbrook played Julia's longtime sweetheart, Reese Watson, until the character's death.
    • In the episode "The Naked Truth," Julia's visiting nieces are played by Dixie Carter's real-life daughters, Mary Dixie and Ginna.
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  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Jean Smart discovered she was pregnant the day that Charlene and Bill's wedding episode was filmed. Rather than stick her in a bunch of baggy clothes, Charlene was written to have gotten pregnant on the honeymoon, and baby Olivia was born the following New Year's.
  • Romance on the Set: Both Delta Burke and Jean Smart met their husbands, Gerald McRaney and Richard Gilliland, respectively, when they guest-starred on the show.


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