REUNION SHOWS Before Wisteria Lane, there was 'Knots Landing'
A two-hour retrospective will reunite the 'Knots' cast.
The ladies of "Knots Landing" don't exactly cotton to the notion that they were the predecessors to "Desperate Housewives."
"We were never desperate," jokes Michele Lee, who played Karen McKenzie on the CBS prime-time soap that ran from 1979-93.
"Oh, we were better than that," says Donna Mills, forever known as the show's villainess, Abby Ewing.
But they agree that "Knots," which ran for 14 seasons, does owe the interest in a reunion in part to the success of ABC's "Housewives."
This fall, CBS is devoting a two-hour retrospective to "Knots." The main cast members, including Joan Van Ark, Kevin Dobson, Lisa Hartman Black and Ted Shackelford, will return, too.
Producer Michael Filerman, whose producing partner Henry Winkler was behind the "Dallas" retrospective last year, says comparing "Knots" to "Housewives" is a compliment.
"I don't know if ['Housewives' is] 'Knots Landing,' but I like the comparison," he says.
"Housewives" has also gone into an area that "Knots" did not: It is one of the most nominated series going into the 2005 Emmy race. And while "Knots" was a solid ratings winner, "Housewives" has darted out of the gate as a TV phenomenon.
"Knots" and "Housewives" also share another important link: Actress Nicollette Sheridan has had vixen roles on both shows. She'll also pop up on the "Knots" gathering. Doug Savant, who is one of "Housewives' "desperate husbands, also had a minor role in "Knots" during a flashback scene.
The series, a spinoff from "Dallas," followed the travails of newly united couple Gary and Valene Ewing as they moved to a Southern California suburb.
While the show earned good ratings, it drew little Emmy notice each year. Former cast members include Don Murray, Alec Baldwin, Julie Harris, William Devane, Red Buttons, "JAG" star David James Elliott, Ava Gardner and Brian Austin Green.
Lee, who appeared in all 344 episodes, says she did not want to do a reunion when the idea first came about.