After her Designing Women
spin-off, Women of the House
, was evicted by CBS in 1995, Delta Burke
all but disappeared from series television. What kept the popular diva away for nearly five years?
"There was some good stuff out there, but most of what I saw didn't have a part for a woman in her 40s," she candidly tells TV Guide Online.
Recently though, Burke bounced back with a recurring role on Popular, where she's playing yet another sassy ex-beauty queen, Cherry Cherry. And this fall, she co-stars with David Alan Grier (In Living Color) in the NBC sitcom DAG, where they'll portray the first lady and her Secret Service protector.
Though understandably choosier about roles given her prior setbacks, Burke wasn't worried about doing another comedy set in Washington, DC. (Critics demolished House for its poor attempts at political humor.) Aside from having Frasier as its plum Tuesday night lead-in, Burke finds DAG's writing better than she's accustomed to. "With so many sitcoms, you only have one note," Burke says. "[Grier and the first lady] do antagonize each other, but there's a great friendship that develops and a genuine caring. That's what sold me on it. Like with Suzanne Sugarbaker, I can be as bad and crazy as I want because my character does have this redeeming, human side."
In addition to wearing a Jackie O hairdo ? "It's late Jackie, but not late late Jackie!" she quips ? viewers will find Burke surprisingly svelte. "It's taken, like, forever," Burke says of attaining her trimmer figure. "Seven years of doing it very slowly, and it wasn't any fancy diet. It was just moderation. It takes a long time that way, but [the weight] actually stayed off. So I'm very thrilled about that."