Lifetime Designs a Winner


Southern sass and feminine charm reconvened on Lifetime Television's The Designing Women Reunion last Monday night, and the result was strong ratings for the female-skewing network.

All five original cast members — Delta Burke, Dixie Carter, Annie Potts, Jean Smart and Meshach Taylor — recalled their funniest and most memorable moments during the July 28 premiere of the reunion programming, which averaged a 3.1 household rating (3.3 million viewers) from 7 to 11 p.m.

The Designing fare ranked as the second-highest rated special in Lifetime's 19 years, trailing only The Golden Girls Reunion, which scored a 3.7 (4.2 million viewers) on June 2.

Given the success of these projects, Lifetime is seeking other opportunities for reunion specials, said Tim Brooks, Lifetime senior vice president of research, TV historian and author of The Complete Directory to Primetime Network and Cable TV Shows.

"Having two reunions with such high ratings certainly shows that there's an appetite for this," he said.

The special started with an Intimate Portrait
profile of Burke and was followed by the cast reunion, the series pilot and two cast-selected episodes.

Meanwhile, the channel is hoping to make Saturday night alright for drama, as it will unveil a second night of original series with the Aug. 2 debuts of Wild Card and 1-800-Missing at 9 and 10 p.m.

Wild Card, from Fireworks Entertainment, focuses on a former blackjack dealer turned insurance-fraud investigator, with Joely Fisher (Ellen, Inspector Gadget) in the lead role.

Missing, starring Gloria Reuben (ER) and produced by Lions Gate Television, centers on a no-nonsense FBI agent and a psychic who team up to find missing persons.