‘Reba’: Reba McEntire Wasn’t Supposed To Be the Show’s Lead Character

Country star Reba McEntire has a history in acting, too. McEntire was even the star of her own show, Reba, which ran from 2001 to 2007. The show focused on McEntire’s fictional life after her divorce from husband Brock (Christopher Rich), who was cheating with a woman named Barbra-Jean (Melissa Peterman). But it turns out Reba wasn’t even supposed to be the show’s main character.

Reba McEntire (right) and Melissa Peterman in 2015
Reba McEntire (right) and Melissa Peterman in 2015 | Ethan Miller/Getty Images for Celebrity Fight Night

‘Reba’ followed Reba McEntire’s blissfully disorganized family

McEntire signed onto the show back in 2000, and the series followed Reba Hart’s family life now that her husband had left her for another woman. The show highlights the bizarre relationship between Reba and her ex-husband’s new wife, Barbra Jean, as Barbra Jean considers Reba to be her best friend despite that she stole Reba’s husband away.

Throughout the series, the family faces plenty of trials and tribulations, including when Cheyenne, Reba’s high school-age daughter, announces she’s pregnant in the show’s first episode. Reba’s middle child, Kyra (Scarlett Pomers), becomes somewhat of a rebel throughout the show, and Reba tries to balance raising her kids, dealing with her ex-husband and his new wife, and building a career for herself in real estate. Though the show was a hit for six seasons, Reba wasn’t actually supposed to be the main character.

Christopher Rich, Reba McEntire, and Melissa Peterman
Christopher Rich, Reba McEntire, and Melissa Peterman | Kevin Winter/ImageDirect

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The show was reportedly supposed to belong to Sally Field

Prior to Reba signing onto the show, producers had another idea for its concept: A show called Sally, which would subsequently star actress Sally Field. McEntire initially revealed the details of the former show on an episode of Live! With Regis and Kelly, according to IMDb.  

It’s unclear why Sally Field turned down the script, but when Reba was cast, the show’s name of Sally was originally kept. However, according to McEntire, those plans changed when the show was first filmed in front of a live audience. At that point, producers decided they wanted McEntire to go by her own real name, and as a result, Reba was born.

Certain aspects of McEntire’s character mirrored her own life, such as her birth place in the show — McAlester, Oklahoma. The show’s theme song, “I’m a Survivor,” which McEntire recorded, ended up reaching no. 3 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs list in 2001.

JoAnna Garcia, Reba McEntire, and Melissa Peterman
JoAnna Garcia, Reba McEntire, and Melissa Peterman | Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

Reba McEntire grew close to her ‘Reba’ family through the years

Though Reba has been off the air for nearly 15 years, the cast has remained close. Those on the show had good relationships while filming, and McEntire and Christopher Rich had even previously appeared in a movie together.

McEntire and actress Melissa Peterman also grew extremely close during filming, and they’ve said in recent years that they’ve kept up that friendship. The two still spend time together when they can and chat all the time. But in 2017, McEntire revealed to Fox News that it would be “impossible” to do a Reba reboot because the cast is simply too busy with other projects and life events.