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Annie Potts Gets Emotional Over the Final Season of ‘Young Sheldon’

Plus, everything you need to know about Potts suiting up for ‘Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire’!

Not all spinoffs can match their predecessors, but The Big Bang Theory prequel Young Sheldon has kept audiences laughing — and tuning in — since it premiered in 2017. With the hit CBS series now in its seventh and final season, FIRST for Women visited Annie Potts on the Young Sheldon set to get the story.

Here, the Pretty in Pink and Toy Story alum reflects on her run as Sheldon’s beloved Meemaw, the longevity of her career, and whether she’d be interested in visiting her Designing Women pal Jean Smart on Hacks.

Plus, we’ve got the story on Potts suiting up for Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire, premiering March 22.

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

Young Sheldon Star Annie Potts Tears Up Over The End

Young Sheldon cast 2018 Raegan Revord_Annie Potts_Iain Armitage
Raegan Revord, Annie Potts and Iain Armitage in Young Sheldon (2018) ©2023 CBS Broadcasting

Saying goodbye is never easy, and shooting the final season of Young Sheldon is proving to be a doozy for Annie Potts, who plays Meemaw.

“I’m gonna cry right now,” says Potts, who was visibly choked up when FIRST for Women caught up with her after The Television Critic Association’s Young Sheldon press panel. “I love the children. It’s been a privilege to watch them grow up. When we started, Iain Armitage (who plays Sheldon) and Raegan Revord (who plays Missy) would get on my lap and kiss me and play with my fingernails, my ears. They were tiny and all day long, they would say — and still do! — ‘I love you, Miss Annie.’”

With Young Sheldon in its seventh season, the titular character is now 14 years old — and as we know from The Big Bang Theory, that’s when the brainiac leaves Texas to attend The California Institute of Technology (Caltech). While the show’s cancelation makes sense in the universe of the franchise, it still doesn’t make sense to Potts.

MUST-Read: 15-Year-Old Iain Armitage of ‘Young Sheldon’ Takes Credit For Reba’s Romance With Rex Linn: “They Are The Cutest Couple Ever!”

“I didn’t expect it,” Potts admits. “We are the #1 show on network TV and the #1 show on Netflix. Who cancels that?”

While Potts doesn’t understand the cancelation, she absolutely gets why the prequel about Sheldon Cooper and his family has found a second life on Netflix.

“We’re like ice cream with chocolate sauce on it,” she says. “People are like, ‘Give me, give me!’ The show is very consumable, because the episodes end up being about 18-19 minutes long – so you can watch three in an hour. Everybody’s used to binging and they love to watch that way. It’s a good fit there, and it’s a great show.”

As for why Young Sheldon has resonated with audiences, to begin with, Potts says, “Every family has an oddball in it – someone that they have to explain to others. So watching a family try to navigate around this brilliant, difficult thing is relatable.”

Young Sheldon Star Annie Potts Talks Meemaw and Her Men

Young Sheldon stars Craig T Nelson - Annie Potts as Dale and Meemaw
Craig T Nelson and Annie Potts in Young Sheldon (2019)Robert Voets/2019 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

One might argue Meemaw is a unique character, herself. In contrast to Sheldon’s righteous, bible-toting mother, his widowed grandma doles out no-nonsense advice, opened an illegal gambling parlor, and has run through a string of men – including Wallace Shawn’s Dr. Sturgis, Richard Kind’s Ira, Ed Begley Jr.’s Dr. Linkletter, and Craig T. Nelson’s Dale.

“They were all suitors… but Craig T. stuck,” Potts says with a grin. “He’s a little slice of heaven. I love that Craig T. We have the best time. We just laugh, all day.”

As for her character’s active libido, she chuckles, “Well, the writers seem to like to write that. I think they’re trying to support ideas that older women are still valued, valuable, and can be sexy.”

woman in hospital bed and woman standing over her
Annie Potts and Emily Osment in Young Sheldon (2022) Bill Inoshita/CBS ©2022 CBS Broadcasting, Inc.

With Meemaw a woman before her time, in many ways, it’s no surprise she’s bonded with Mandy – the mother of her first grandbaby, who’s played by Emily Osment.

“I love working with her,” says Potts. “She’s wonderful. And I love those scenes, because Meemaw saw in her a woman like herself – who was kind of kicking at being very feminist – but her timeframe has been different. She wanted to support and encourage that, and that’s how Mandy ended up at Meemaw’s house.”

MUST-READ: How Annie Potts Banishes Stress and Embraces Self-Care

Mourning Meemaw’s Home and Hollywood History

man and woman in destroyed home
Craig T Nelson and Annie Potts in ‘Young Sheldon’ (2023)Sonja Flemming/CBS ©2023 CBS Broadcasting, Inc.

Today, Meemaw’s house, which was also home to The Partridge Family, is no more. In Young Sheldon’s season 6 finale, it was leveled by a tornado. In real life, Warner Bros. leveled the entire, historic Warner Bros Ranch Lot — a studio also used for the outdoor scenes on Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, Gidget, and Friends, to name a few.

“My God, I’ve been working off and on over there for 50 years,” Potts marvels. “They were going to level the lot and turn it into something else. Perfect for us, because we used it for the tornado. But when I went to see it, it was like [gasps]. It really got me. And now I live in the neighborhood. I drive by it and the whole thing is flattened. It’s like a lot of history gone under.”

Since making her big screen debut in 1978’s Corvette Summer alongside Mark Hamill, Potts has seen a lot of change. With a resume that spans TV, film, and Broadway, she’s also managed to carve out a career in one of the toughest businesses around.  

“I’m 71 now, and I’m still here!” cheers Potts. “It hasn’t been all sunshine and unicorns, but I have endured. I’m sort of a workaholic. So thank God it’s kept coming, because I’m dangerous if I’m not working.”

Suiting Up for ‘Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire’

Annie Potts suited up for Ghostbusters Frozen with Bill Murray-Dan Aykroyd-Ernie Hudson
Annie Potts in Ghostbusters II (1989) c.Col Pics/Everett/REX

Speaking of keeping busy, even as Potts shoots Meemaw’s final season, she’s also set to return to the big screen in Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire in March. Potts, who made a cameo in the 2016 reboot, is reprising the role she played in the 1984 original and the 1989 and 2021 sequels – and this time, Janine Melnitz is stepping out from behind the desk and putting on the iconic Ghostbusters uniform! 

It’s a desperate situation, so it’s all hands on deck,” Potts teases of the movie in an interview with Empire. “It turns out Janine is quite capable – as most women tend to be when given the chance. The Ghostbusters are kind of superheroes, so it’s very nice to finally be seen in that way, too.”

Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire takes the action back to New York City, where new and old ghostbusters will unite to save the world from a new evil force and a second ice age. That means it will feature original Ghostbusters players Potts, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Ernie Hudson, as well as more recent additions to the ghost-busting family – including Paul Rudd, Finn Wolfhard, Mckenna Grace, Kumail Nanjiani, and Patton Oswalt.

Annie Potts Considers Life After ‘Young Sheldon’

Annie Potts w Young Sheldon stars final season
Annie Potts and cast of Young Sheldon (2023) Robert Voets/CBS ©2023 CBS Broadcasting, Inc.

With a new Ghostbusters movie to promote and several more Young Sheldon episodes to shoot, Potts isn’t sure what will come next.

“I don’t have a bucket list,” Potts admits. “Everything has always just appeared to me. Not that I don’t work for it and have people who are on it. I told my agents recently, ‘Well???’

“So much extraordinary work is being done on TV,” she adds. “We now watch like people used to read books. It’s like next chapter, next chapter, next chapter. Movies seem so abbreviated, but I think they’re little masterpieces.”

Ghostbusters Annie Potts and Hacks star Jean Smart on designing_women
Annie Potts and cast of Designing Women Columbia Pictures Television

While Potts is keeping her door open to new possibilities, the Designing Women alum would not mind if her former costar Jean Smart called her in for some fun on Hacks. “God, I would be on my bicycle over to Universal in a flash!” she cries.

In the meantime, she’s both dreading and looking forward to finding out how it will all end for Meemaw and her family in Young Sheldon’s one-hour series finale, slated to air May 16.

“We get these wonderful scripts, and I’ll just let them surprise me,” Potts says. “But I’ve got to stop crying. The whole cast is a mess!”

Young Sheldon airs Thursdays on CBS (check local listings) and streams on Paramount+. Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire premieres in theaters on March 22.

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