On April 26, 2013, Hart of Dixie was renewed for a third season. The show was scheduled to move back to Mondays in the fall for its third season having been paired with Beauty & the Beast. The show's third season premiered on October 7, 2013.
On May 8, 2014, the CW renewed the show for its fourth season. On July 18, 2014, CW president Mark Pedowitz announced that Hart of Dixie would have ten episodes for its fourth season.
Fast-talking New Yorker and brand new doctor Zoe Hart has it all figured out—after graduating top of her class from medical school, she'll follow in her father's footsteps and become a cardio-thoracic surgeon. But when her dreams fall apart, Zoe decides to accept an offer from a stranger, Dr. Harley Wilkes, to work with him at his small practice in Bluebell, Alabama. Zoe arrives in this small Gulf Coast town only to find that Harley has passed away and left his half of the medical practice to her in his will.
She quickly finds that Southern hospitality isn't always so hospitable—the other doctor in town, Brick Breeland, is less than pleased to be sharing the practice with this young outsider, and his daughter, Lemon, is a Southern belle whose sweet disposition turns sour when she meets Zoe. Zoe's only allies are the mayor, former football star Lavon Hayes, her bad-boy neighbor Wade Kinsella, and handsome lawyer George Tucker – who just happens to be Lemon's fiancé. Zoe is out of her element and ready to pack her bags, but a surprise visit by her snobby New York mother leads to Zoe's decision to stay in Bluebell for a while; she soon discovers the charm of small-town life and a side of herself she didn't know was there.
The second season opens with Zoe being confused over her conflicting feelings for both George and Wade, with whom she just slept. Zoe decides that George is not ready for a relationship and tells him to date other people as she doesn't want to be his rebound. Following this, Zoe starts a casual relationship with Wade before they both agree to become an official couple. Later on in the season Wade has a drunken one night stand causing Zoe to end their relationship. After spending time mourning this Zoe realises she still has feelings for George who turns her away as he is now happily in a relationship with Tansy. In the finale Zoe has a one night stand with Wade, after which Wade declares his love for her, but she decides to spend the summer in New York to get some distance from her life. George decides to leave Bluebell and goes on the road with Lily Anne and her band.
Other storylines include Lemon re-entering the dating world and trying to prove herself as an independent woman without George or her father, Brick's relationship with the much younger Shelby, Lavon's election battle against Ruby and their subsequent relationship and George's unexpected relationship with Wade's ex-wife Tansy. In the final part of the season Lemon and Wade become the co-owners of the Rammer Jammer and constantly collide over decisions and how to run the bar.
After spending the summer in New York, Zoe makes the decision to return to Bluebell with her new boyfriend Joel (Josh Cooke) although it's clear she still has unresolved feelings for Wade, a situation which is made more uncomfortable as Wade and Joel become good friends. Brick refuses to give Zoe half of the practice back so she must settle for being his employee. Zoe also reaches out to the family of her late father, Harvey Wilkes. Although initially turned away she becomes close to her cousin Vivian who, in turn, starts a relationship with Wade. By the end of the season both of these relationships have broken down and Zoe declares her love for Wade. Wade is cautious to get involved with Zoe again, believing they do not have a future together after all they've been through. Zoe vows to prove Wade wrong.
Lemon starts to realize that she wants more from her life than just the Rammer Jammer, so decides to leave the business and look for something else. After tension between herself and Cricket she also decides to leave the Belles and re-assess her life. She has several short term flings during this time and becomes the owner of Fancies.
Lavon and Annabeth's relationship is tested as Annabeth longs for a stronger commitment. They must also deal with a house guest in shape of Lavon's cousin Lynly who begins a relationship with George but after realising there is still a spark between him and his ex Tansy she leaves Bluebell.
Annabeth begins to want more commitment from Lavon but when he is unable to give it to her they break up. During their separation Annabeth begins dating a new man but turns down his proposal when she realises she still has feelings for Lavon, however at the same time both he and George are racing to declaring their reignited feelings for Lemon.
Lavon must also deal with rising pressure as neighboring town tries to force a merger with Bluebell in order to take over and re-build over the area.
Cast and characters
Main cast and characters
Rachel Bilson as Dr. Zoe Hart; Zoe previously aspired to become a heart surgeon like her father, after four years of residency at a New York Hospital, she is refused a position at the hospital. Zoe moves to Bluebell, Alabama after learning her biological father was really a respected doctor in the small town. She is left with half his practice and constantly butts heads with the co owner of the practice, Dr. Brick Breeland. However she becomes a regular in helping the town through its never ending dilemmas. She has feelings for George, but chooses not to act on them until he is ready. She had a flirty friendship with Wade, but in Season 2, Zoe is in a monogamous relationship with him and is shown to really have fallen for him until she finds out he cheated on her. Season 3 explores a new dynamic between both Wade and Zoe and their new partners. Season 4 will see Zoe pregnant with a baby, which will mirror Bilson's real-life pregnancy.
Jaime King as Lemon Breeland; The daughter of town doctor Brick Breeland. She was engaged to George Tucker, but had a relationship with Lavon while George was living in New York. Prideful, conservative and somewhat uptight, Lemon begins a deep rivalry with Zoe when they first meet because she feels that Zoe is interfering in her "perfect" life and they often clash, owing to their different ways of thinking.
Cress Williams as Lavon Hayes; Mayor of Bluebell and a former linebacker for ten years in the NFL; he has a pet alligator named Burt Reynolds. It is revealed in season 1 that Lavon had an intimate relationship with Lemon, who was engaged to George. Lavon develops a close friendship with Zoe and often gives her meaningful advice on the town's traits.
Wilson Bethel as Wade Kinsella; A bartender and Zoe's neighbor. He has an eccentric personality. Initially he appears to be a stereotypical and prideful redneck who is fun loving, immature, unambitious, womanizing and sarcastic bartender who doesn’t care about anyone but himself. But slowly it is revealed that he seems to care deeply about the people around him (though he always puts his best efforts to hide his feelings). He falls deeply in love with Zoe and tries to make amends to his lifestyle and ambitions for her. For the most of Season 2 he is in a monogamous relationship with Zoe until he is caught cheating on her.
Tim Matheson as Dr. Bertram "Brick" Breeland (recurring, episodes 1–14; starring, episode 15–present); Lemon's father who is also a doctor and shares half of the local Bluebell practice with Zoe. He is often very critical of Zoe's medical diagnoses and inexperience of Southern hospitality. And is portrayed as an antagonist when he attempts to buy out Zoe's share of the business.
Scott Porter as George Tucker; A local lawyer in Bluebell that starts out engaged to Lemon Breeland (season 1) but calls off their wedding after learning about Lemon's affair with Lavon combined with his romantic feelings for Zoe. Zoe turns him down and George starts to date other women, and ends up with Wade's ex-wife Tansy in Season 2. In Season 3, he begins dating Lavon's cousin Lynly.
Kaitlyn Black as Annabeth Nass (Season 3; recurring, seasons 1–2); a member of the Belles and best friends with Lemon. In season 2 she develops feelings for Lavon, but decides not to pursue a relationship with him because of Lemon. Lemon gives her blessing, so Annabeth and Lavon start dating. She is also a good friend to Zoe.
Recurring cast and characters
Claudia Lee as Magnolia Breeland; Lemon's teenage sister and Brick's youngest daughter. She is first introduced in the episode "The Undead & The Unsaid" as being very troublesome and wanting attention from her family. She is sometimes rivals with Rose. She shows a softer side by consoling Lemon after George ends their engagement.
McKaley Miller as Rose Hattenbarger; a local teenage girl who admires Zoe very much. Due to her intellect, she considers herself an outsider among both her peers and parents.
Mircea Monroe as Tansy Truitt (formerly Kinsella); Wade's ex-wife and George's girlfriend in Season 2.
Ross Philips as Tom Long; a nerdy young man who use to have a crush on Zoe. He begins dating then later marries Wanda.
Mallory Moye as Wanda Long; Tom's girlfriend turned wife and waitress at the Rammer Jammer.
Josh Cooke as Joel Stephens; a New Yorker who finds himself a fish out of water in Bluebell. He is Zoe's boyfriend in Season 3.
Kelen Coleman as Presley; George's short-term girlfriend in episodes 5 and 6 of Season 2.
Wes Brown as Dr. Judson Lyons; Judson is Bluebell's local veterinarian. He has shown much romantic interest in Zoe, despite once sleeping with Gigi, Zoe's best friend from New York in Season 1.
Eisa Davis as Addy Pickett; the receptionist at the local practice. She often gives Zoe advice in Season 1.
Deborah S. Craig as Shelley Ng; a waitress at the local restaurant the "Rammer Jammer", where Wade also works in Season 1.
Nadine Velazquez as Didi Ruano; originally the receptionist at the local practice, she was later replaced by Addie. She then gets a job working as George's secretary. She has had in an on-and-off relationship with Lavon. She is known to be very ditzy and talkative in Season 1.
Rich McDonald as Walt Blodgett
Ann Cusack as Annie Hattenbarger, Rose's mother in episodes 20 and 21 of Season 1.
Maree Cheatham as Bettie Breeland, Brick's mother (grandmother to Lemmon). Overbearing and conservative, she often meddles in both Brick and Lemmon's lives for her own objectives.
Mary Gross as Old Lady #3 in episodes 2 and 3 of Season 1.
Megan Ferguson as Daisy
Nicolette Robinson as Tara Jane
Lindsey Van Horn as Amy-Rose
Development and production
On February 1, 2011, it was announced that The CW had ordered a pilot for Hart of Dixie. On May 17, 2011, the network officially picked up Hart of Dixie to series, set to air in fall 2011. The series marks the second time executive producer, Josh Schwartz, and series star, Rachel Bilson, have worked together on television. The first time the duo worked together was on the Fox teen drama The O.C., created by Schwartz. The show's executive producer, Josh Schwartz, compared the show to The WB classics such as Felicity, Everwood, and Gilmore Girls.
With the reveal of The CW's fall 2011 schedule, it was announced that Hart of Dixie would air on Monday at 9:00 pm Eastern/8:00 pm Central, following Gossip Girl. It premiered on Monday, September 26, 2011. On October 12, 2011 the series was picked up for a full season, which will consist of twenty-two episodes. Along with pick-up for all other CW dramas, Mark Pedowitz said "We believe in the creative strength of these dramas, and by giving them back nine orders we can give our audience the chance to enjoy complete seasons of all three of them." On May 11, 2012, The CW renewed the show for a second season, which premiered on October 2, 2012. The CW renewed the show for a third season on April 26, 2013.
On February 8, 2011, TVLine reported that Rachel Bilson was nearing a deal to star in the series. Her role was later confirmed by The CW in a press release. Soon after, Wilson Bethel joined the cast as Wade Kinsella, Zoe's "gorgeous bad-boy" neighbor.Scott Porter was later cast as good-looking lawyer George Tucker, a potential love-interest for Bilson's character.
Hart of Dixie's first season has received mixed reviews, scoring a 43 out of 100 on the review aggregator Metacritic.
TVGuide.com described the show as "Southern Exposure" and, in a later review, stated that the actors are better than the "cutesy" material, although Bilson is not convincing as a heart surgeon. Both TVGuide.com and Robert Bianco of USA Today stated that the show is potentially offensive to the South. Bianco also wrote that the show is shallow and far-fetched, with Bilson giving an unconvincing performance, such as acting surprised when calling herself a doctor. Tim Goodman of The Hollywood Reporter stated that the series is predictable and superficial, but "surprisingly touching". Goodman and Brian Lowry of Variety stated that Bilson does not look like a doctor, with Goodman writing that she looked too much "like a high-priced call girl" and Lowry writing that she looked like she belonged in "Barbie's medical dream house."
Writing for The New York Times, critic Neil Genzlinger wrote, "...the premiere, at least, doesn’t find a convincing way to balance the clashing strands: the city-mouse disorientation, the medical emergencies, the girlfights, the daddy issues, the young-pretty-and-available stuff."Los Angeles Times reviewer Mary McNamara described the show as, "a stack of familiar scenarios stitched together to form a pretty if not terribly substantial quilt."TVLine described the show as "Everwood-esque". TVLine later said: "Beautifully filmed with warm, cozy tones, the Southern setting utterly envelops the glowing Bilson", adding that Porter's appearance "wins us over and makes you forget that clunky intro" and despite the "rom-coms clichés, the pilot is super-efficient at introducing us to those who will be the key players in Zoe’s story, laying the framework for storytelling places to go."Tv Times magazine gave Hart of Dixie its lowest score of 2011–2012: 12 out of 100.