Desperate Housewives Boss on Cast's Reaction to Show Ending: 'There Was a Touch of Shock'

It’s official: Desperate Housewives will end its eight-season run in May, ABC president Paul Lee confirmed Sunday morning at the Television Critics Association summer press tour in Beverly Hills.

“It’s an iconic show and we’re extremely proud of it,” said Lee. “I just wanted to make sure it had its victory lap.”

Housewives creator Marc Cherry, who made the decision in concert with Lee, said he didn’t want to overstay his welcome. “I wanted to go out when the network still saw us as a viable show and a force to contend with,” he told reporters. “We felt from a creative standpoint that this was the right time. I feel so good about it.”

Cherry admitted that “there was a touch of shock” when he informed the cast of the news. “I’ve spoken to over half of them,” he said. “It was bittersweet and lovely, because the women knew there was the possibility… They said some very lovely things to me about how I’ve changed their lives and careers. I truly, truly love every one of them. [They] fill me up with such emotion inside; I love my cast. [They're] people who are smart enough to be grateful.”

As for the inevitable spin-off question, Cherry said that he joked to Eva Longoria, “‘I was going to put you in a van and have you solve mysteries!’ The truth is I sort of thought about [a spin-off] a little bit, but as a writer … I don’t want repeat things I’ve done.” To that end, Cherry says that his next project, Hallelujah (now being redeveloped for ABC), is “such a different animal.”

Other highlights from the Alphabet net’s exec session…

HEAVENLY ANGELS? | Tapping into the past with shows such as Charlie’s Angels and the ’60s-flavored Pan Am really gives ABC “a leg up,” by playing to built-in audiences, Lee said. Of Angels, he raves, “We have to reinvent that show, and I think [Smallville EPs] Al [Gough] and Miles [Millar] have done that. It’s a beautifully made show.”

WOMEN AT WORK | Of the thus-far poorly received midseason comedy Work It, in which two men dress, Bosom Buddies-style, as women to land jobs, Lee joked that as a Brit, he is contracted to deliver one cross-dressing show a year. “I was brought up on Monty Python – what can I do?”

SUPER STUFF | With Marvel properties part of the Disney-ABC portfolio, Lee confirmed that the network is still “aggressively developing” small-screen takes on The Hulk and AKA Jessica Jones. He also reminded that an episode of Castle this season will feature a Marvel character.

ALL-STAR ROOKIE | Moving Rookie Blue out of the sleepy summer is “a very canny thought,” Lee acknowledged. “It’s a really good series, and I would be nothing but happy to see it in [the traditional TV] season.”

RIVER RIDE | The midseason horror-thriller The River packs a dynamic punch with its pilot, but in doing so raises questions about what it will look like as a series of any significant duration. Noting that exec producer Steven Spielberg is “really engaged” in the project, Lee said, “The second episode has so much heart to it but absolutely the same measure of intensity… I really think it’s a sustainable show.”

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22 Comments
  1. Josh says:

    How nice of him to make sure to discuss how much he’s changed their lives.

  2. Andrew Booher says:

    Truly sad news! I don’t understand why they are cancelling DH! The ratings are still relatively good. The fans deserve a season 9! Please sign the petition below. We can save it!

    http://www.change.org/petitions/american-broadcasting-company-abc-stop-the-cancellation-of-desperate-housewives-after-season-8

    • murley says:

      it isn’t canceling a show when the creator of it decides it is time to end it. it just means the show is coming to an end. it happens.

    • Luca says:

      If you don’t understand then you need reading lessons because the reason why the show creators are voluntarily ending the show with this coming season are right there in the article.

      Truth is that all shows must end. Better to have it be when the writers feel they have wrapped up a story than to drag it out and beat a dead horse until the ratings start to slide.

      Now if we could just get the networks to face the digital revolution and the fact that the Nielsen rating system blows huge chunks as well as the simple fact that not all stories need 5+ seasons to be told. TV would be a lot better all around

  3. Dave Stewart says:

    I think Rookie Blue is a heck of a series and I applaud ABC for not trying to hide the fact it is shot in Toronto. It is possible to have a decent cop show not set in New York. ABC should give the show a shot in the traditional TV season.

    • Mia says:

      Totally agree.

    • Samantha Meadows says:

      I personally think an extended season, all the way to 22 episodes, would make the show even better. They could flesh out the characters and tell more about their backstory and the storylines would feel less rushed. A full season would be awesome!

  4. CK says:

    Marc Cherry clearly agrees with the decision and since it’s his show, I don’t think it’s right to fight what he wants. He wants his show to go out on a high and feels like it’s the right time. The show is his creation and he is well within his right to choose when it ends.

  5. Sam says:

    Oh god, the Smallville people are behind the Angels reboot? Should we expect a total lack of romantic chemistry and very little sense of a cohesive plot? I can’t wait until the Angels go to China and it’s represented as a gazebo, a temple, and a harried Chinese woman who wears American clothing.

    • Ha says:

      Lol, ditto. I thought I was the only one that noticed that Clark (Tom Welling) and Lois (Erica Durance) had no romantic chemistry, they always had a brother sister vibe to me. Tom had more chemistry with Kristin Kreuk (Lana). *sigh* I think Charlie’s Angles has the same fate.

  6. TheFlyGuy2 says:

    This is awful. I really believe ABC is putting the cart before the horse on this one. DH still does well in the ratings. We CAN save it. Please sign this petition and send it to everyone you know. Petitions have saved shows before … Lets do it! Please sign this petition to stop the cancellation of #Desperate Housewives after season 8. We CAN save it! http://www.change.org/petitions/american-broadcasting-company-abc-stop-the-cancellation-of-desperate-housewives-after-season-8

    • Charlie says:

      THIS WAS THE SHOW’S CHOICE. Get that through your head. Petitions etc won’t work because Cherry is the one who said that he has no story left after this season and ABC is smart enough not to drag it out. Basically the same thing that happened with Lost only not 3 years ahead of the end date

  7. zhaquiri says:

    I love my cast. [They're] people who are smart enough to be grateful.”

    – What did he even mean by that? “Smart enough to be grateful.” Wow. Ryan Murphy still takes the cake in TV’s biggest behind-the-camera diva, but Marc Cherry comes in a very close second. Couldn’t even be civil enough to just let the past be the past; he just HAD to take a jab at Sheridan.

    • Luca says:

      What he means is in the context. he’s talking about having told them that yes this will be the last season. Instead of getting whiney about having to find jobs etc they are grateful for the time they had and will have this next season. Shows ending just comes with the territory as does characters so in that sense, perhaps it was a jab at Sheridan who didn’t take having her character killed off so nicely from what the reports say.

  8. Danny says:

    The show needs to end, it had a nice cliffhanger last year but lets be honest, it hasn’t been a really compelling show for years, they always built up this huge storyline every year and the end result was so predictable and mundane that it wasn’t worth the 22 episode build up. This is why cable networks have the right idea with shorter 12 episode seasons where you focus on quality and not filler. There would be one really great episode of DH and then it was like three episodes of filler, one good one and then five so-so episodes, it got really annoying.

  9. J. says:

    I honestly stopped watching Desperate Housewives after the show’s second season. I had seen episodes here and there afterwards, but it just wasn’t the same as the first season in my eyes. So the fact that it’s somehow managed to live on for eight full seasons is incredible and to be applauded. But the show has absolutely run its course and it’s time to let these lovely ladies move on.

  10. Ash says:

    The show was really good. I’m sorry to see it go, but not so much. That Susan character turned me off. She was annoying. Made me stop watching the show after the fifth season. They should have taken her out in the earlier seasons as her roles were just pathetic and so not “adorable”.

  11. rene says:

    Who care what Paul Lee or Marc Cherry think! DHW haas life of its own. And it’s still got a few seasons left yet! It’s a great show that could go without the original creator!

  12. Raul says:

    I think Marc Cherry made a smart choice ending the series before it got cancelled unlike Shonda Rhimes(creator of Greys Anatomy) which is gone to overstay and eventually fade away. I’m pretty sure Shonda is gone to want to end the series when Greys is getting 5-6 million viewers. Shonda should end Greys Anatomy before the ratings slip to the 6-7 million viewers stage! I love GA but I wouldn’t want something like that happening to the show!

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