Saying she is "not stupid enough to be vindictive," "Designing Women" producer Linda Bloodworth-Thomason vowed Tuesday to reconsider a season-opening script replete with jabs at Suzanne Sugarbaker, the character played by Delta Burke, who left the show after a power struggle with the producers.
A handful of TV critics who attended the filming of the episode last week in Hollywood came away with the impression that Ms. Bloodworth-Thomason, who wrote the script, was trying to pour salt on Ms. Burke's wound. (The episode is scheduled to air in September on CBS.)
Speaking from her office in Hollywood, Ms. Bloodworth-Thomason said she was stunned by the suggestion and that cast members, who had read reports critical of the show, were visibly upset when they arrived at the studio Tuesday.
"Meshach was in tears," she said, referring to Meshach Taylor, who plays Anthony on the show and was thought to be Ms. Burke's closest friend among the cast members at the end of last season.
"The cast, Harry [Thomason, co-producer] and I and all the producers thought it was a wonderful script," Ms. Bloodworth-Thomason said. "But maybe it's better to go back and take a second look. As President Bush would say, we want to avoid even the appearance of impropriety."
She denied she has a personal vendetta against Ms. Burke. "I'm too tired to conjure up a plot like that," Ms. Bloodworth-Thomason said. "We consider [the feud] over."
The "Designing Women" set "is a happier place" with out Ms. Burke, Ms. Bloodworth-Thomason said. "We agree that Suzanne Sugarbaker was an asset to the show. Unfortunately we had to deal with the reality of Delta Burke."
Ms. Burke could not be reached for comment.