'Knots Landing' Cast Reunites

"Knots Landing" was one of the original primetime soaps that featured desperate, devious housewives serving up sex and scandal. It premiered on CBS in 1979 and ran for 14 seasons. Now, the cast is reuniting to celebrate one of TV's longest-running dramas. The "Knots Landing Reunion: Together Again" airs Friday night, 9 ET and PT on CBS.

It's back to the cul-de-sac for the cast of "Knots Landing," and it doesn't take long for the claws to come out.

The Early Show co-anchor Julie Chen got to speak to the cast, and she asked Donna Mills how it was to see everybody after all this time.

"They're absolutely the same! As funny and crazy and insane as ever," she replied.

For 14 seasons, audiences relished the passion, pain and promiscuity.

Said Michelle Lee, "The one thing that 'Knots Landing' had which was not seen on the continuing dramas of the day was a delicious sense of humor."

The women of "Knots," Michelle Lee, Joan Van Ark and Donna Mills, have been compared to earth, wind and fire, with Donna Mills bringing the heat as Abby, the conniving vixen everybody loved to hate.

Said Mills, "Sometimes, I would find people being very standoffish with me… and I couldn't understand."

Women?

"Yeah!" said Mills. "And I couldn't understand why. I thought, 'I haven't done anything to them.' And I began to realize that they thought I was going to be like Abby. And they were very trepidacious about, you know, what I was going to do. It's weird."

On "Knots Landing," marriage often meant mental illness, murder, missing twins and much more. Keeping it interesting was never an issue for Val (Joan Van Ark) and Gary (Ted Shackelford).

Said Van Ark, "What I'm surprised at this time around is how emotional it's been. And I'm getting all verklempt even now."

On the set of the old cul-de-sac, Chen asked Shackelford what memories stand out for him.

"I just walked over there, walked by my house, or the character's house, and I mean, I just remember so many times running out that door and having Val screaming at me," said the actor.

Nicolette Sheridan honed her "Desperate Housewives" persona on 'Knots,' saying that women really took to her character "because she was tough and she gave Sumner a run for his money."

The show was a launching pad for a young Alec Baldwin.

In tackling issues from drug addiction to homelessness, "Knots" was also one of the first primetime dramas to probe social problems.

"When they watched us, they were watching what was happening to them in America with all their dreams, their hopes and their problems," explained Michelle Lee.

Maybe that's the real secret to the success of "Knots." Beneath all the name-calling and cutthroat scheming, real friendships were forged, and those bonds remain unbroken 12 years after the show ended.

Chen observed to Lee that it was a great ride, and it's not over.

"It's not," Lee agreed, "'cause I'm a grandmother. Don't use that! If you use that you are dead meat. Dead! Ha ha ha!"
  • Ellen Crean

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