Last summer, it was a mere feud. In the fall, it escalated into a flurry of faxes, accusations, counterclaims, and actress Delta Burke’s tearstained grievances to TV’s official sob sister, Barbara Walters. Now Burke and the producers of CBS’ popular Designing Women are taking it to the courts: Burke has filed a breach-of-contract suit against Columbia Pictures Television, claiming producers Harry Thomason and Linda Bloodworth-Thomason withheld her $55,000-per-show salary for a November episode she wasn’t in (she says she had the flu). If Burke wins and her contract is terminated, she’ll be free to leave, and we doubt the producers will waste a moment in shopping for a replacement.
Loni Anderson: She’s already been mentioned as a candidate for an opening at Sugarbakers and might serve with distinction as Suzanne’s demure cousin. Husband Burt Reynolds already works for the Thomasons on Evening Shade and hasn’t complained about paycheck problems yet.
Donna Karan: New York’s fashion queenpin is indisputably a designing woman.
Dolly Parton: She’s got the accent to play one of Charlene’s country kinfolk, the connections to get the job (she’s already made a guest appearance), and a demonstrated ability to get along with her coworkers, something Designing Women could use.
Wendie Jo Sperber: No, this isn’t a fat joke, just a plea that this enormously talented comic actress be paroled from the bloated Fox sitcom Babes and given a chance to show her stuff in a good ensemble comedy. She’s not exactly Southern, but she’d mesh well with everyone from Julia to Mary Jo.
Vanessa Williams: Like Suzanne, the 1984 Miss America is a former beauty queen with a hint of scandal in her past, and one who could put Julia’s liberal-but-prudish sensibilities to an interesting test.