'Army Wives' Catherine Bell on Kim Delaney: 'We sure do miss her'

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catherine-bell-kim-delaney-army-wives-episodic-325.jpg Catherine Bell is noting the difference on the "Army Wives" set without fellow founding cast member Kim Delaney.

After making reduced appearances during Season 6 of the Lifetime drama series, Delaney is not returning as military spouse Claudia Joy Holden in Season 7, which begins Sunday, March 10. The character's absence reportedly is explained early on, and Bell -- who plays nurse practitioner Denise Sherwood -- acknowledges her continuing the show minus longtime colleague Delaney.

"We certainly do miss her," Bell tells Zap2it. "She's a great lady, but things happen and things change. It's just part of our industry."

After debuting on "Army Wives" last season, Kelli Williams is now a full-fledged co-star, and the show is getting an influx of new cast members. Brooke Shields will enter midway through the 13-episode run as an Air Force pilot; singer-actors Ashanti and Jesse McCartney, Torrey DeVitto ("The Vampire Diaries," "Pretty Little Liars") and Elle McLemore ("The Suite Life on Deck") also are joining.

"It feels like a good, varied demographic," Bell reasons of the merging of new and continuing regulars. "I mean, I grew up with Brooke Shields and her Jordache jeans! And Jesse McCartney appeals to the younger demographic, so it's a good mix, similar to what you find in Army life ... different ages, different backgrounds, different social and economic types."

"Army Wives" is a mainstay in a Lifetime series lineup that has been undergoing revisions, with last year's addition of Jennifer Love Hewitt's "The Client List" and the recent cancellation of "Drop Dead Diva." Bell says that "for sure," she keeps an eye on the programs that surround hers, "but I just say my lines and try to do a good job. Beyond that, what are you gonna do?"

"JAG" alum Bell believes "Army Wives" and "The Client List" -- which also returns March 10 to start its second season -- make a good one-two punch for Lifetime's Sunday lineup. And she's even more of a Hewitt fan now that they've met: "There was a Lifetime event honoring ladies for their charity work, and I sat right next to her. She's a really sweet girl."
Photo/Video credit: Lifetime