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Questions with blue text were asked by the webmistress of this site, Anna.

Cast of Touched by An Angel

October 5, 2000 

TV Guide Online: Welcome John, Della and Roma! Thanks for coming tonight! Producer Martha Williamson will be joining us in about 30 minutes.

Dye: Hi.

Downey: Hello, we're back for season number 7.

Reese: Hello to everybody out there.

Question: First of all, thank you for doing such a wonderful show! Della, I loved "Living the Rest of My Life" from Season 6. You did a great job writing. To any of the cast: do any of you intend to write or work "behind the camera" this upcoming season?

Dye: I'm hoping to direct one.

Reese: I'm in the midst of writing one.

Downey: I'm hoping for a day off.

Question: Touched by an Angel is definitely one of the best shows on television right now. What is your reaction to the rumors going around that some people are trying to get it taken off of the air?

Reese: They started to try and keep us off the air in the beginning. It's the same thing that comes around. In the beginning they said we wouldn't last two weeks. There are always going to be some people who have a different approach.

Question: Roma, what are you and Reilly dressing up as this year for Halloween?

Downey: Riley is Dorothy and I am Scarecrow. Because she said she would miss him most of all.

Dye: She really did say that cause I heard it on set about 4 or 5 days ago.

Question: To any cast member: What is the hardest episode you ever had to do and why?

Downey: I guess for me one of the hardest, was the episode we dealt with on Ireland, cause it was so close to home. For the same reason it was also the most rewarding.

Dye: For me the hardest ones are always the ones where children are being victimized in some way. I have two godchildren and two nephews so I'm sensitive to that. Plus I've watched Riley grow up, so the Papa Bear comes out.

Reese: The Papa Bear? LOL

Dye: I totally stole that from Roma.

Reese: The hardest for me was the one I wrote. I was in it, I wrote it, and I wanted to change the direction several times. I was too close to it and it was my baby. I was too critical. I think that was the hardest. Most episodes are rewarding for me. I'm very happy with the work that Roma does and that John does. Touching people is very rewarding to me. You can just pick one and that would be the one.

Question: What is episode 1 going to be about?

Dye: We go back in time to the cowboy days of Colorado in the 1850s. Right Roma?

Downey: Yes. It's always fun to go back in time and do the Quantum Leap. We had the wonderful pleasure of working with Richard Chamberlain who plays a dual role as himself in modern day and his great grandfather in the 1800s. Tess takes him on a journey, by trying to get him to relive a story from the past to relive the truth. Della plays in the present day scenes and John and I do the time travel.

Dye: Roma plays a tracker and she looks pretty good in cowboy leather chaps.

Downey: And Della gets to sing, so that alone is worth the price of admission.

Reese: And I get to sing with Richard Chamberlain. That's a good thing. He is so magnificent. I enjoyed working with him. His work is so grand.

Question: What does the dove represent at the beginning and ending of the show? Is the dove one of God's helpers?

Dye: For me, I don't know if we ever talked about it. It reminds the audience that God is there.

Reese: It's a symbol saying that this has been worked out and there is peace.

Question: Question for John--How big a role in TBAA will Andrew be playing in this season's episodes? I want to see him have as much of a role as Monica and Tess.

Dye: So do I. It's been really fun to see the role expand over the years. It seems like it's continuing to expand and it's a lot of fun to do. And if you're really serious about writing about that. Call Les Moonves at CBS.

Question: Della: Will you sing more this season? I just love your voice...

Reese: Well first, thank you for the compliment. I hope to, but it's just that this is not a music show. It's a story. Sometimes we do the music and cause of the script we cut it up. I don't like that part very much. I like to sing very much.

Downey: I like to sing too.

Reese: Yes you do.

Dye: Standing by Della when she sings is one of the eight wonders of the world. When you stand by her when she sings, she totally vibrates. Actually, she'd be the eighth wonder. I rounded up.

Question: Do people expect you to behave differently because of the characters that you play on TV?

Reese: I hope not.

Dye: Ditto.

Downey: I think there is a lot projected onto us.

Dye: Although I do suspect that Della really is an angel.

Downey: When she's sleeping.

Reese: She loves me too. Sometimes it's really difficult to see, but she loves me to. She's mad that she can't sing and I can. She holds that against me in her heart.

Dye: And Della's mad that she doesn't have an Irish accent.

Question: What is the nicest thing a fan has ever done for you?

Reese: Turned the tv on.

Downey: I've had several fans make donations to charities I support, in my name.

Dye: When we first started the show, fans would send me something for my birthday. I'd write back if you want to do something, donate an hour of you time to charity of your choosing. Groups of fans send me articles on what they did on Jan 31st. That's really amazing.

Question: Does Andrew ever sing?

Dye: When he's in the shower. If you watch the show closely, you've never seen Andrew in the shower. So America has been spared.

Reese: He plays a little piano.

Dye: Badly. Roma and I will release a CD of duets by Christmas.

Reese: I think the best things for all of us would be to just forget it.

Question: Are all three of you really Christian in real life?

Reese: I am.

Downey: Me too.

Dye: Me too.

Downey: But saying that, I think that the show is a spiritual show, not a religious one.

Reese: I agree.

Dye: We don't support one denomination over another, or one religion over another, that's something I wouldn't be a part of.

Downey: The show isn't my God is better than your God. The show isn't about that.

Question: Roma, Anna (the creator of your official web site) read recently that you were in the play Death on the Nile in Louisville several years ago. Anna would like to know what character you played? Also, at some point, would you like to return to theatre?

Downey: Hello Anna. The pages are looking great. I think the character's name was Kay. It's a few years ago...Yes, of course, I'd love to return to the stage if the opportunity arises, but filming Angel for 10 months a year and filming a movie of the week in the 11th month, doesn't leave much time. Maybe when the series is over, in years to come.

Question: Is it true that Della is a spiritualist minister?

Reese: It is true. Yes, I'm a Pastor of a church called Understand Principles for Better Living Church, in Los Angeles, CA.

Question: What other projects do the three of you have in the works besides TBAA?

Downey: We all shot a film this summer, mine was called Second Honeymoon.

Reese: Mine was The Moving of Sophia Miles.

Dye: Mine was called Once Upon a Christmas. Downey: I have children's book coming on Mother's Day.

Reese: I have a children's book already out and my autobiography. I also have Angels and a set of black art available.

Dye: And I decided to take a nap.

Downey: I have a CD called Healing Angel, a collection of poems, prayer, and pose with Celtic Music.

Dye: And I've been approached by St. Martin's to write a book, we're in negotiations for that now.

Question: How's your foot, Miss Della?

Reese: It's perfect and that was just the movie. And it wasn't my whole foot, it was just my pinky toe.

Dye: It's still one of the funniest things anyone has ever seen on the scene.

TV Guide Online: We're now welcoming producer Martha Williamson to the group! Hi Martha!

Williamson: Hello.

Question: In the past you have told real life stories like the one about the artist Richard Bunkall. Are there any shows like that this season, and if so how did you hear about them?

Williamson: We are actually working on a story right now, a collaboration with a marvelous family we met, a young couple with two little girls, both of whom were born with sickle cell anemia. They have been guests on the set several times. Sadly, they lost one of their daughters to the disease. They have never ever lost faith. We were so encouraged by their courage and sharing the message of how to deal with and live through sickle cell anemia, that we are working on a story with their assistance.

Dye: Also about their righteous anger over health care.

Williamson: Absolutely, that girl never should have died. We're also doing an episode about Billie Holiday. My favorite part will be when Della sings "God Bless the Child". I've been waiting for that for seven years. Music is so important to our show and to all of us. One thing people don't know is that Roma sings a lot better than Monica does. Let's get the record straight while we can. I think my favorite episode so far, I just saw the rough cut of one of Nov sweeps shows. We incorporate the first silent movie, revelation scene. We do an actual silent movie from the 1920s. We recreated it. It is so exciting, I literally had tears running down my eyes. I was laughing and crying. And Roma, you make one of the greatest entrances in history. "Unhand that Woman!"

Downey: We even had a damsel strapped to a train, and a villain with a twirling mustache.

Dye: And this sort of Gothic film student tries to track down the director of the film. The director is played by Robert Loggia and he's terrific.

Williamson: The season premiere is this Sunday night and Della, I can't wait for you too see the first five minutes. We got a whole orchestra to back you up. Everybody was in the office and taping their toes watching it.

Reese: That's a good thing.

Williamson: It's a very good thing.

Question: Martha - how did you get involved with the show?

Williamson: CBS called and I answered the phone. How's that?

Dye: As my mom always says, there is no such thing as a coincidence. It's just God remaining anonymous.

Williamson: You look back over 7 years and see how God put everything in place, Della, Roma, John and Me. Everybody is here for a reason, there is no question about it.

Reese: We're a community. There have been children born here, and weddings here. People have grown here. We know them and we've played with their children. We know them and it's our own little community.

Williamson: That's absolutely right.

Question: How do you decide what topics to do episodes about?

Williamson: I would say, virtually every episode is a result of a response that somebody on the show has to something that has happened to someone close or to something in their lives. Roma has had ideas, John and Della have had ideas. We have people on the crew share personal experiences that inspire us to create a story. The most exciting thing is that we can be on 70 years and never run out of stories, cause God is involved in absolutely everything.

Question: Martha, do we know who won the essay contest yet?

Williamson: Yes we do, but I don't have it in front of me. I do know what the story is about. Johnson and Johnson hasn't announced it yet. So we shouldn't either. I think they will announce it tomorrow. We were so touched and encouraged by the number of people who had stories to share.

Question: John, could you give us an update on Journey to a Hate Free Millennium?

Dye: Last I have heard, it won a documentary prize at the Philadelphia Film Fest, a prize in Turin, Italy and maybe in Montreal. So the message is getting out there. That was a great perk to go along with the show and do something that I so passionately believe in.

Question: To Martha- Have you thought of making any other shows similar to TBAA for other stations?

Williamson: Not remotely ever, ever, ever. There could never ever be another Touched By An Angel. Unless God decided.

Question: Thanks for chatting with us! Can you tell us how many episodes have been filmed for the season so far?

Dye: Seven.

Williamson: Seven glorious episodes.

Dye: We just wrapped the seventh one this afternoon.

Question: What new characters will be introduced this season?

Williamson: So far what new regulars? We don't have any new regulars, but every year we introduce a new Angel to add to the celestial kingdom of Angels that float around. This year we will have at least one. An Angel who has never been a casework and keeps a scrapbook of Tess. He wants to be like Tess, but he's grown up and the Angels will teach him to give a revelation. We're also hoping to have guest angels return. We've got Bill Cosby on our wish list to make a comeback.

Dye: Every time Cosby is here, it's so much fun. He's great.

Reese: He certainly is. Question: Are we going to see any sequels to past shows this season?

Williamson: We haven't decided yet. One of the nicest thing is we keep getting calls from past guest stars saying, can you think of a way to create a sequel. The challenge is how do you create a story for someone who has seen the light. I think we succeeded quite well with Wynonna but it's not an easy task.

Dye: Any Androolers out there?

Williamson: There are a bunch of female ladies out there that adore John Dye.

Dye: No no, they adore Andrew. They want me cause Della is married and Roma won't have me. I'm planning on playing most of this season in a g-string. No more gray sweaters. I'll take it up with Nancy Cavellerro, a great costume designer.

Question: Roma, since the air date of your movie, Second Honeymoon has been changed, will your talk show appearances later this month (on Regis, CBS Early Show, and The View), also change, or will they air as planned, in October?

Downey: They will change as well, and will be rescheduled as soon as CBS gives me a new date. Probably early next year. My movie is a romantic comedy set in a exotic desert island.

Dye: She plays the movie in a bikini.

Reese: There is nothing absolutely angelic about that bikini. My movie is on during the Sunday of Thanksgiving.

Dye: And mine is December 10th. It's not on CBS, but on PAX. It's me and Kathy Ireland, who is not wearing a bikini. If it couldn't be Roma, might as well be Kathy Ireland.

Question: John, if the negotiation comes through, what will the book be about?

Dye: Details to follow. I'm not really sure. I think the book they want me to write and the book I want to write...that's what negotiations are about. Mostly, about playing an angel on tv and not being an angel in reality. Mostly about how rewarding it can be.

Question: I have heard that Della has performed many marriage ceremonies for celebrities. Is the ceremony a common religious one, or do you create a special one for each person?

Reese: Well I think that you should have your wedding the way you want to. The ceremony, the words that make it legal and the words that are described by the Bible as the way it should be are the same. I add a personal touch to everything I do.

Dye: That was the understatement of all time. Downey and Williamson: LOL! Question: When you are out do people call you by Tess etc.?

Reese: Not me. People have known me for so long, I'm just Della to them. They'll tell me that I play Tess. They'll say, "You're Della, you play Tess." Downey: I find that little children tend to call me Monica. Which is always very sweet.

Dye: Sometimes. Sometimes it's oh that's John Dye, but sometimes it's Andrew. But once they associate Andrew with the Angel of Death, that pretty much stops the conversation.

Question: This comment is for everyone involved with TBAA, I want to thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for being an inspiration to me. As a single mom, I worry about what is on television. You have brought quality television back.

Williamson: That's wonderful.

Reese: Thank you.

Dye: God Bless.

TV Guide Online: Thank you everybody!

Downey: Thank you.

Copyright 2000, TV Guide.