Already have an account?
Get back to the

15 Behind-the-Scenes Secrets You Never Knew About ‘Designing Women’

Do you remember which country music sensation made a guest appearance in the show?


Every week from 1986 to 1993, Americans watched four sassy, smart, Southern women speaking their minds on the hit sitcom Designing Women. The series followed four lively ladies —the late Dixie Carter as Julia Sugarbaker, Annie Potts as Mary Jo Shively, Jean Smart as Charlene Frazier-Stillfield and Delta Burke as Suzanne Sugarbaker — who work together to run interior design firm Sugarbaker & Associates. And while we loved to see them shine on our screens, the cast of Designing Women had their fun behind the scenes as well.

Jean Smart looked back fondly on her time on the show in a 2022 interview with Variety: “There weren’t a lot of shows that were just about women back then. Linda [Bloodworth-Thomason] is such a good writer that she made the characters so distinct from each other,” Smart said. “A lot of times, back in the day on sitcoms, you could practically all trade lines and nobody could tell the difference. The jobs are kind of all the same.”

Smart continued, “I would kill to play a part like that again — someone who’s kind of sweet and gullible. It’s funny, in some ways I see myself more that way than some other roles I’ve played recently.”

Smart isn’t the only member of the cast who fondly remembers their time on the show. “Somewhere in the second or third year, I felt like the stories weren’t going my way, that I was more of an ancillary character. I wasn’t very happy at work at the time,” Annie Potts, who played Mary Jo Shively, recalled to Glamour in 2022.

“So anyway, a friend of mine was sick and at Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles. I was lost trying to find her room and kept going down every corridor. After 15 minutes of being lost, I realized that every room I had passed had their TV on and was watching Designing Women. To me, that was the universe’s way of showing me how I needed to think differently about my success. The show brightened their life a little bit; it helped them forget their pain or forget their problems.” And brightened lives it sure did!

15 Designing Women behind-the-scenes secrets

Here, take a walk down memory lane with a look back at the romances, friendships and behind the camera secrets of Designing Women.

Use left and right arrow keys to navigate between menu items. Use right arrow key to move into submenus. Use escape to exit the menu. Use up and down arrow keys to explore. Use left arrow key to move back to the parent list.