Annie Potts, Minus GCB

Celebrity Q&A, People
on July 30, 2012

What is Annie Potts doing now that “GCB” has been cancelled?
—Alicia Morrison, Casper, Wyo.

Potts, 59, has the title role in the upcoming Hallmark Channel movie “The Music Teacher.” She plays Alyson Daley, a high school music instructor on the brink of losing her after-school program, who, as a result, learns just how much she means to the students she taught.

“I have had so many fantastic teachers who changed my life,” the actress says of why she was attracted to the role. “It was my way of saying to my teachers, ‘I appreciate what you did. I get what you did.’ Teachers in our culture aren’t honored nearly enough. We give our children over to them for eight hours a day. Everything about that appealed to me and I love working with younger people.”

What may surprise viewers to learn is that the Nashville, Tenn.-born actress, who grew up in Franklin, Ky., originally began her career in musical theater, so she can sing. But a car accident in which she broke both legs in her early 20s put an end to those dreams when it became clear she wouldn’t be able to dance.

“Music was the first thing that really attracted me to theater,” she says. “I had all the cast albums. I wasn’t in my room listening to The Beatles, I was in my room listening to “The Sound of Music” or “The King and I” and singing along.

Potts, a self-proclaimed “workaholic,” will be looking for her next project because she had expected to return to “GCB” for a second season, not imaging the show would be cancelled by ABC. It was a role she really enjoyed playing because it brought back memories of her “Designing Women” co-star Dixie Carter.

“For me, approaching the role of Gigi, it was easy to project Dixie in it,” she says. “It is pretty easy for me to channel her. Every time I got stuck, I would say, ‘That isn’t quite right. How would Dixie do it?’ And there she would be.”