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Annie Potts: Face to watch

The actress replaces Susan Dey as the star of ”Love & War”

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It shouldn’t be too difficult for Annie Potts to make everybody forget that Susan Dey used to be the star of Love & War. From the moment the show started last season, Dey seemed to be trying to forget it herself.

Still, Potts doesn’t enjoy the inevitable comparisons with her predecessor, who left due to well-publicized creative differences. ”To me, this change is like having a new boyfriend,” she says. ”You know there have been other girls, right? But why waste time thinking about them? I mean, ‘How do I fit in? Am I better at this or that? Are these panties something she would wear?’ I’d rather avoid that.”

She can’t help pointing out a few differences, though. Dey’s upper-crust Wally ”was hard to like,” says Potts, 40. ”Like Diane on Cheers, people who are chilly and superior and prim are hard to make likable.” Potts says her spitfire new chef, Dana Palladino, will be ”mercurial and likable. She is a downtown girl, fun loving without being a cartoon.”

Sporting a shorn ‘do that might cause fans of the canceled Designing Women to do a double take, Potts isn’t bemoaning the demise of her previous series after a seven-year run. Heck, she’s still working. And she finds her new costar, Jay Thomas, a fine replacement for her Designing pals. ”He’s infectiously huggable,” she reports.

Moreover, she adds, ”I get paid real well to do what I think I do real well. Plus, I’m home to tuck my kids into bed and for dinner every night.” Home life includes her TV-director husband, Jim Hayman (Northern Exposure, Harts of the West), and their children, Clay, 12, and Jake, 1. ”I’m having my cake and eating it, too,” says Potts. ”That may seem bourgeois, but you know what? I don’t give a s—. It suits me just fine.”