When it comes to Reba McEntire
's new fall sitcom, the WB has opted for the direct approach: The network has changed the name of country superstar's comedy from Deep in the Hart
to simply Reba
. "When you have Reba McEntire, you let people know it," a WB spokesperson tells TV Guide Online.
This isn't Reba's first makeover. The series which finds McEntire playing Reba Hart, a Texas soccer mom trying to hold her family together first was titled Sally, after her character's original name. Then came Reba, Deep in the Hart, and now Reba again. Reasons McEntire: "They decided I have a large fan base and that would give us a great head start."
So, why not stick with Reba from the beginning? One theory making the rounds is that the WB worried Reba would turn off the network's 'N Sync-lovin' viewership, many of whom might find McEntire unhip. In fact, insiders have suggested that Reba would have felt more at home on older-skewing CBS. "I disagree 100 percent, because it does deal with a lot of issues that teens will be interested in, and there's a lot of young people on the show," argues the 46-year-old performer. "It would also fit on CBS, but I think it will be great on the WB." Adds the WB rep: "All of our shows go through title changes; it's a normal process."
Of course, if the show doesn't catch on, McEntire can always head back to Broadway, where she's currently wrapping up her acclaimed stint as Annie Oakley in Annie Get Your Gun. Her final performance is June 22, at which time she'll pass her holster on to Wings alum Crystal Bernard. "She's going to be trailing me in the next couple of weeks," says McEntire, who is slated to film CBS's Annie Get Your Gun TV movie next summer. "We're good friends and I wish her all the best of luck. She's going to have a great time and do a wonderful job; she sings very well and she's very funny. I was a huge fan of hers on Wings."