Brow Beat

Woman Who Designed Designing Women Redesigning Designing Women

Annie Potts, Jean Smart, Meshach Taylor, Delta Burke, and Dixie Carter in a Designing Women promotional photograph.
The original designing women from Designing Women, plus Meshach Taylor. CBS

Designing Women, a sitcom originally designed by Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, is now being redesigned by original series designer Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, TV Line reports. The original version of Designing Women, which was designed around four women who were designers—hence the title Designing Women—served up plenty of design, women, designing women, and women designing in its original run on CBS from 1986–1993.

Although Designing Women was originally designed to star Dixie Carter, Delta Burke, Annie Potts, and Jean Smart in the roles of the designing women, Burke and Smart left the show in the sixth season, and Julia Duffy and Jan Hooks were brought in to play new, different designing women. None of this was by design: Burke openly clashed with Bloodworth-Thomason, climaxing with a contentious interview with Barbara Walters about her experiences playing a designing woman on Designing Women. It’s unclear if Bloodworth-Thomason’s design for the Designing Women redesign includes the participation of any of the designing women from the original Designing Women, but Dixie Carter and Meshach Taylor—who, not being a woman, played the designing women’s assistant, rather than a designing woman—will definitely not be returning: Carter died in 2010 and Taylor in 2014.

All of this talk of designing women, Designing Women, and the design for the redesign of Designing Women can only mean one thing: ALF crossover episode!