Fans of 7th Heaven have grown up with the Camdens over the past 10 years and settled into the comfort of their hectic household. But before audiences had time to move on from last May's series finale, the CW announced that the beloved family drama would, surprisingly, return this fall (premiering tonight at 8 pm/ET). Just as new story lines are about to unfold, TVGuide.com talked with Beverley Mitchell who plays stubborn-but-honest Lucy about the show reopening its doors, the past decade on set, and what's in store for this emotional 11th season.
TVGuide.com: How does it feel to be part of the longest-running drama on television?
Beverley Mitchell: Oh, it's amazing. I'm so blessed, and it's such an honor to be a part of something that I can be proud of and something that I can show my kids when I grow up. [Laughs] It's great to hear that a child who is struggling with bipolar [disorder] was OK when he was watching our show because he didn't feel so abnormal. It's wonderful to know that we're making a difference in people's lives.
TVGuide.com: When did you find out that 7th Heaven was coming back for an 11th season, after it was announced that it was going off the air?
Mitchell: I found out the day before they flew me to New York for [the July] upfronts. We had heard the weekend before that there was a possibility, so we were all holding on for dear hope and just praying that it would come through. The next thing we knew, we were on a plane.
TVGuide.com: Was there shock? Hesitation?
Mitchell: Oh, no, no. We all fought for it. We all made sacrifices in order for the show to come back, but it's worth it. I have the best job in the world, so if I have to give back a little so I can get my job back, I have no problem doing that. These people are a part of my family, so when that fateful day comes when it's actually over, I'm not going to be OK.
TVGuide.com: Lucy has gone through a lot over the past 10 years. How would you sum up her journey?
Mitchell: She started off as a very insecure, childish little girl, and has definitely grown up a lot. She's become selfless. She's become a great mother, wife and daughter, but she's still the same quirky, goofy Lucy that she's always been. She definitely has her rants and raves and some people identify with that but the thing I love about her is she's always true and honest, and you always know exactly what's going on in her mind. She's never concealing any emotion. She'll give it to you.
TVGuide.com: With Mary (Jessica Biel) and Matt (Barry Watson) out of the picture, Lucy really took on an authoritative role. Do you think that was the original path for her?
Mitchell: I don't know if it was a planned thing. I think it's just like life when things happen, you're forced into a new situation. The way we are personally also shaped a lot of our characters because when you're on a show for so long the character becomes a part of who you are. I've always been the "big sister" to everyone on the show, to Jessie [Biel], Mackenzie [Rosman] and David [Gallagher]. I've been there for them for everything.
TVGuide.com: Who are you closest with?
Mitchell: Jessie is my best friend she is one of my maids of honor in my wedding [planned for 2007] but we're all very much a family.
TVGuide.com: The show really focuses on the children and how their relationships evolve. What would you have changed if you could go back and alter Lucy's story line?
Mitchell: I wouldn't have made her so whiny. I think a lot of people find her annoying, which is sad, because she's one of the most true characters. With that said, she has gotten so much stronger and tougher as life has changed her. Actually, I take it back, I wouldn't change anything. It's like when everybody says to me, "What's one thing you'd change about yourself?" I wouldn't change anything because all of my bad habits and all of my good habits make me who I am.
TVGuide.com: What can you tell us about the 11th season?
Mitchell: There's definitely a lot of stuff going on within the family, and the subject matter is going to hit home within the characters. It's very emotional, but at the same time absolutely hysterically funny. Lucy and Kevin have a big experience within the first few episodes. It's just nice to really get down and dirty now. Our fans have grown up with the show, so they can take that journey with us.
TVGuide.com: Will we be surprised by anything?
Mitchell: Oh, I think you'll be surprised by a lot! We're surprised every day, and that's what's so exciting about the show. It's like we all have this revival of life, a near-death experience. We're all like, "Woo-hoo!" Our eyes are wide [open], and we just go to work with the biggest smiles on our faces.
TVGuide.com: And you're recording an album as well. When is it coming out?
Mitchell: October 30. Actually, one of the songs that I wrote is going to be on the show. It's for the 7th Heaven fans, it's for country fans, it's for people who want to hear positive music that makes you throw your hands up and yell and scream and have a good time.
TVGuide.com: Have you always wanted to record an album?
Mitchell: Oh, yes. I love country music. I've always been a singer, and I just finally got the guts to do it. With 7th Heaven's end in sight, it was just like, "Uh-oh, what do I do?" This opportunity arose, and I decided to just go for it.
TVGuide.com: And now that there is no end in sight just yet, what do you hope happens to the Camdens during this new season?
Mitchell: I hope that the Camdens make a difference and prove to families around the world that they aren't perfect, and that the strength of the family really can endure anything. I just hope that when we do have to go out that it's one of those moments on television that is memorable, because the past 11 years have been an absolute dream come true, and I just don't want it to end.
Check out the new TV Guide for the story of how a 7th Heaven superfan got to write tonight's premiere!
Send your comments on this Q&A to: firstname.lastname@example.org.