Desperate Housewives Exclusive: The Ladies Are Staying — But For How Long?!

After months of negotiations, the four stars of ABC’s Desperate Housewives — Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman, Marcia Cross and Eva Longoria — are finalizing eight-figure deals to stay put on Wisteria Lane.

The new pacts, which are for one year with an option for a second, pave the way for ABC to renew the show for an eighth season — though it is unclear if that will happen right away or closer to the May upfronts.

The quartet’s new base salary would be around $325,000 per episode, up from the $275,000 they had been earning. With additional compensation factored in, including back-end and bonuses, the actresses’ paychecks are expected to soar to $375,000 per episode. If their option for Season 9 is exercised, their base salary is slated to go up to $350,000. All told, the two-year deal could net the ladies as much as $18 million apiece.

Like in previous salary renegotiations, Hatcher brokered her deal separately from Huffman, Cross and Longoria. Additionally, slowing the final stretch of the marathon talks was the fact that Cross hired a new attorney about a week ago. But I hear things are now down to the signature stage, with the deals expected to close as early as today.

With Hatcher, Huffman, Longoria and Cross on board — and with Vanessa Williams slated to return as well — the only question remaining is the extent of creator/executive producer Marc Cherry’s involvement. Fellow EP Bob Daily has taken over day-to-day duties on DH while Cherry works on his new ABC pilot Hallelujah. If the show lands on the network’s fall schedule, Daily would likely take over as primary showrunner.

Despite slipping in the ratings from its heyday, DH, along with Grey’s Anatomy, continue to be ABC’s strongest hourlong scripted series. Housewives‘ off-network syndication sale netted a so-so $500,000 per episode from Lifetime, but the show continues to be a hit internationally. With an eighth-season pickup, the series would to join eight other ABC series already renewed for next season: Modern Family, The Middle, Cougar Town, Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Castle, Dancing with the Stars and The Bachelor.