McClain joined AMC in 1988 and remained with the show through 1996. McClain cited a desire to have a cool down period and remove herself from the hectic soap opera schedule as the reason for her exit. During her time away from Pine Valley, McClain attended acting school and wrote a one-woman play. McClain's time away from AMC was not all work, though, the actress also managed to find some time to do some traveling.
Throughout her absence from AMC, McClain was prodded by fans to return to the show. In fact, fans created online petitions to, in effect, pressure AMC executives to seek out McClain and ask her to return. Two years later, in 1998, McClain made the decision to return to AMC. The following year, McClain earned honors as the Favorite Return in the Soap Opera Digest Awards. This past year, McClain earned a nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in the Daytime Emmy awards.
Dixie has been in the foreground of several storylines since her return: she's suffered heart problems, been stalked by the crazy Leslie Coulson and, of course, re-married Tad. Now there are signs that the rigors of continued front-burner stories may have led McClain to once again request an out from the show.
McClain has hinted in past interviews that it was "unlikely" that she would renew her contract with AMC when it expired. However, an AMC spokesperson insists that Dixie will not exit the AMC canvas entirely. "She'll be coming back here and there," the spokesperson tells Soap Central.
Internet buzz has Tad and Dixie separating (or divorcing) yet again. The show's spokesperson declined to comment on the details of how McClain's character would exit the show and no "final" airdate has been announced.