Speculation about Kim Delaney's departure from "Army Wives" is true after all. Executive producer Jeff Melvoin has confirmed that the actress, who joined the show in its first season, will not return to the upcoming seventh season.
To accommodate to Delaney's exit, the writers have planned a shocking storyline. The show will kill off her character Claudia Joy Holden early in the next installment. "The first two [episodes] will be very emotional, and it will confirm that Claudia Joy is no longer among the living," Melvoin tells TVLine, before teasing, "Who survives the cliffhanger and who doesn't is going to provide a lot of the juice of the first two hours."
He further dishes, "It's been very wrenching for us to write, and I think it will be very wrenching for the audience to go through." On the show's future without Delaney, he gushes, "Kim and Claudia Joy have been the rock upon which we based the show. But we [have to] continue to move forward and keep the show fresh and unpredictable."
Meanwhile, Sally Pressman who is currently pregnant will return, but not as a series regular. "Sally, just like Kim, has been a huge part of the show's success," Melvoin shares, revealing that Pressman's character Roxy may have a short screen time in the first few episodes.
Catherine Bell (Denise), Wendy Davis (Joan), Alyssa Diaz (Gloria), Kelli Williams (Jackie), J.J. Soria (Hector) and Terry Serpico (Frank) will all return as series regulars, and so will Brian McNamara who portrays Claudia Joy's widower, Michael.
Joining these familiar faces are three new characters. They are a "18-year-old farm girl from Illinois," an African-American mother who has three children and "runs the kind of house that kids and adults want to hang out in," and a gorgeous, but bad girl named Maggie who is a member of the Airborne Division and is on her second marriage.
"It's the first time where we've done a blended marriage. Her second husband, who is a soldier, has a 14-year-old daughter who resents Maggie," Melvoin details the last mentioned character. "And she's got an 11-year-old son who's trying to fit in."
Speaking of the show's direction in general, he explains, "We're trying to return to the show's roots. The central conceit of the show is friendship that transcends rank [featuring] women from different walks of life and with very different outlooks. But it's not going to be like you just flip the page and suddenly you're looking at a different show... It's the same show with some fresh new colors."
"Army Wives" season 7 is slated to premiere in mid-2013.