03/11/2013 06:20 am ET

'Army Wives' Premiere: Women Mourn The Shocking Loss Of One Of Their Own (VIDEO)

Season 7 of "Army Wives" kicked off, and right away it was clear that this was going to be a very different year for the long-running drama. The wives were gathered to mourn the loss of one of their own. That one happened to be the original series lead, Kim Delaney's Claudia Joy.

"Feels strange, doesn’t it? Her not being here with us," Pamela said.

The show's executive producer, Jeff Melvoin, told TVLine that Claudia Joy's death serves "as a launching pad for an almost rebooted program." Fellow series stars Sally Pressman, Sterling K. Brown and Terry Serpico have also been reduced to recurring status, alongside Brigid Brannagh, who continues her recurring status from last season.

Stepping up to fill the gap will be plenty of fresh faces for the show, including the likes of Ashanti, Brooke Shields and Jesse McCartney. It's a bold new era for "Army Wives," as it moves in new directions, shining a spotlight on new castmembers.

The "almost rebooted" "Army Wives" continues on Sundays at 9 p.m. EST on Lifetime.

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Midseason 2012-2013