On This Day: ‘Reba’ Premieres on TV in 2001

by Keeli Parkey

Two decades ago, country music star Reba McEntire began to showcase her comedic talents on television. She did so with her popular sitcom. That series was simply – and appropriately – titled, “Reba.”

The popular comedy made its television debut on Oct. 5, 2001. That’s 20 years ago today!

The “Fancy” singer’s series made its debut on the WB Network. In the popular sitcom, McEntire played the character of Reba Nell Hart.

As fans of the show are aware, the premise of the show was that country music star’s character resided in a home located across the street from her ex-husband. Living with her ex was his new wife. The ex-husband, Brock, was played by Christopher Rich. Playing Brock’s new wife was Melissa Peterman.

Adding to the stress for McEntire’s character was that her daughter, Cheyenne – who was just a teenager – just became pregnant. This, of course, was a shock to Cheyenne’s mother, as was revealed in the first episode of the television series. Playing Cheyenne alongside Reba McEntire was JoAnna Garcia.

Interestingly, Oct. 5, 2001, was not the date the WB Network had in mind for the debut of “Reba.” The network wanted to debut the show weeks earlier. However, the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, delayed its debut – not once, but twice. Even so, once the sitcom hit their television screens most fans loved it. And they loved Reba McEntire’s work in the series.

‘Reba’ Sitcom Averaged 3.6 Million Viewers Each Week During Its Originaly Television Run

During its run, “Reba” set a record for the WB Network regarding viewership in its Friday night slot. The sitcom had an average of 3.6 million viewers week in and week out. “Reba” would go on to air for several seasons. Its popular television run came to an end after six seasons in 2007.

According to IMDb, there were 125 episodes of the sitcom that aired on television. The only three actors who appeared in each and every one of those episodes were Reba McEntire, JoAnna Garcia, and Steve Howey. Howey played the character of Van Montgomery in the sitcom. The series was created by Allison M. Gibson.

While they played rivals – at least at some points during the series – Reba McEntire and Melissa Peterman were actually very friendly with one another in real life. In fact, they have been best friends. Also, McEntire and Peterman were very fond of JoAnna Garcia. They were even bridesmaids at her 2010 wedding to Nick Swisher in 2010. Swisher is famous for being a professional baseball player.

Here’s another interesting fact about “Reba.” The character played by the country music icon was originally named “Sally.” However, Reba McEntire felt that using her real first name would bring fans into the show and help them connect with her character and with the sitcom.