Twenty years ago today, on Oct. 5, 2001, the sitcom Reba debuted on the WB network.
Reba, which starred Reba McEntire, Christopher Rich, Joanna Garcia and Melissa Peterman, centered around McEntire’s character, Reba Nell Hart, who lived across the street from her ex-husband and his new wife. Her teenage daughter Cheyenne (played by Garcia) revealed in the debut episode that she was pregnant.
The first episode of Reba was delayed twice due to the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, but once the show hit the airwaves, it didn’t take long for it to become a favorite. The sitcom set a new all-time WB viewership record for any program in the Friday night slot and averaged more than 3.6 million viewers each week, which made its cancellation at the end of Season 6, in 2007, heartbreaking for both the cast and its audience.
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Reba, which aired on the CW network for its final season, was nominated for several major awards. McEntire earned a People’s Choice Award in 2002, for Favorite Female Performer in a New Television Series, for her role in the series.
McEntire returned to the small screen in 2012 for a new sitcom, Malibu Country, which aired on ABC. The show starred McEntire as the lead character, Reba MacKenzie, who was attempting to restart her own music career after she divorced her husband, a famous country singer, in the wake of his infidelity. Although Malibu Country, which also starred Lily Tomlin and Sara Rue, included guest appearances by Blake Shelton and Laura Bell Bundy, among others, the series was canceled after only one season.
In 2015, Reba began airing in syndication on TV Land. The show’s titular leading lady has said she’s all in to reboot the show — but it won’t be happening anytime soon.
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