Fall TV Preview

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.”