It's been roughly a decade since Reba McEntire had a main role in a TV series, but the country music icon returns on Wednesday night in Big Sky Season 3. Renamed Big Sky: Deadly Trails, the new episodes will follow Montana cop Jenny Hoyt (Katheryn Winnick), interim sheriff Beau Arlen (Jensen Ackles), and P.I. Cassie Dewell (Kylie Bunbury) as they work a number of mysterious wilderness cases, which includes a backpacker who has gone missing. Through their search, they meet Sunny Barnes (McEntire), who is the boss of a "family backcountry outfitter business," and who also appears to be inexplicably connected to multiple missing person cases.
McEntire is most well-known for her illustrious country music career, but she has also been acting for decades, going all the way back to her role as the gun-toting Heather Gummer in the first Tremors film in 1990. Over the next few years, she would turn up in small roles in films such as North and The Little Rascals. McEntire would later go on to star in her own show, Reba, for six seasons, from 2001 until 2007. Years later, she starred in another series, Malibu Country, although that show only ran for one season. Most recently, the singer appeared in a recurring role on Young Sheldon, a prequel spinoff of The Big Bang Theory.
Speaking to EW about how McEntire's came to be involved with the show, Big Sky showrunner Elwood Reid confessed, "Reba is someone who a lot of us grew up with. I had written a character, and I described her as 'Reba McEntire, circa Tremors.' I always loved that character." He continued, "So I called her and pitched her the character. We all have this image of Reba McEntire as being America's sweetheart, country music star. I was very nervous about pitching her this character that goes into some dark places."
Reid then shared how McEntire's boyfriend, who is also an actor, urged her to take the role. "I was pitching her, and I heard this voice in the background, 'Yes, hell yes, you're doing this,' and I saw Rex Linn, who's also her boyfriend. He said, 'I've been telling her she needs to do this for 10 years.' And then Reba stopped and said, 'Will you hire my boyfriend Rex?' I know Rex from Better Call Saul and lots of stuff that he's worked on. And I was like, 'Well, alright, that's two for one.'" Big Sky: Deadly Trails, the show's third season, premieres Wednesday, Sept. 21 at 10 p.m. ET, on ABC.