Nicollette Sheridan Loses Bid For Second ‘Desperate Housewives’ Trial

By | Friday October 18, 2013 @ 9:30am PDT

It’s finally over — at least for now. LA Superior Judge Michael Stern today sided with ABC/Touchstone TV and granted a summary judgement dismissing Nicollette Sheridan’s latest attempt to for a new trial over being … Read More »

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Producers Praise Cable Nets’ Flexibility, Despite Tight Budgets: Cable Show

By | Wednesday June 12, 2013 @ 9:38am PDT

That was the overall consensus  from a panel of producers at the cable industry trade show this morning that featured Marc Cherry (who created Desperate Housewives), Mark Johnson (Executive Producer of Breaking Bad), and Joe Weisberg (creator of The Americans). “Some of the most exciting work is being done on cable,” says Cherry who’s about to introduce Devious Maids on Lifetime. Networks are “so hungry for viewers that they’re willing to take risks.” He relishes the opportunity to develop a series without having to generate 23 or more episodes. With the intense plotting of a soap opera “the workload is just overwhelming…You can kind of feel it around episode 14 where the story starts to not make sense.” With Devious Maids “I had every episode plotted out. I couldn’t do that” with Desperate Housewives. Weisberg says he “didn’t think I had it in me” to handle the broadcast networks’ demands. “In cable you could do 13 episodes and then take a couple of months off.” Read More »

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‘Devious Maids’ Pilot Sneak Will Be In English And Spanish In Reach-Out To Latino Viewers

By | Tuesday June 4, 2013 @ 10:30am PDT

The initiative makes sense for the upcoming Lifetime drama series, which was created by Desperate HousewivesMarc Cherry and counts Eva Longoria among its exec producers. Devious Maids is based on the hit Televisa telenovela Ellas Son La Alegría Del Hogar and centers on five Latina maids (Ana Ortiz, Dania Ramírez, Roselyn Sánchez, Edy Ganem and Judy Reyes) with ambition and dreams of their own while working for the rich and famous in Beverly Hills — with murder and intrigue thrown into the mix. The network is making the pilot episode available early on digital platforms beginning Sunday in both English and Spanish. The sneak peak comes ahead of the series’ on-air debut June 23. Following the premiere, Lifetime will make each episode available in both languages the day after its Sunday 10 PM airing. “We are thrilled to work with our distribution partners on making Devious Maids available in both English and Spanish to maximize the show’s crossover appeal among the broadest range of their customers”, said Rob Sharenow, Lifetime’s EVP and General Manager. Read More »

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Lifetime Picks Up Marc Cherry’s ‘Devious Maids’ To Series For 2013 Launch

By | Friday June 22, 2012 @ 12:30pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Marc Cherry‘s pilot Devious Maids is going to series at Lifetime. The cable network has handed a 13-episode order to the ABC Studios-produced project, originally developed for ABC where it received a pilot order this past season but missed … Read More »

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EMMYS: Marc Cherry On ‘Desperate Housewives’

By | Wednesday June 13, 2012 @ 10:59pm PDT

Ray Richmond is a contributor to AwardsLine.

Boardwalk EmpireIt’s only June, but this has already been kind of a rough year for Marc Cherry. The wrongful termination suit filed against ABC Studios and ABC by Nicollette Sheridan ended in a mistrial on March 19. A retrial was scheduled to go forward beginning Desperate HousewivesSeptember 10, but has been temporarily stayed pending resolution of certain issues. In May, ABC passed on taking Cherry’s new hourlong pilot Devious Maids to series, the same week that his Desperate Housewives wrapped its run on the network after eight seasons. (Devious Maids has since been shopped to Lifetime.) Yet Cherry refused to be downbeat in a recent interview, reflecting on the wild ride that was Housewives.

AWARDSLINE: When you look back, what are you proudest of with regard to this show?
MARC CHERRY: Well, personally I’m just proud that I created something that helped me pay my bills because I was so flat broke. You know, I was borrowing money from my mother to stay afloat, and that was kind of uncomfortable. Professionally, I think just the fact that the show had a very original voice. I created a tone for network television that they hadn’t really been seen before. And I have to admit that was really more of an accident. I was just writing the way I write. I got the right director and the right cast, and the recipe just worked, and I was flattered and thrilled that people seemed to like it. Read More »

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No Retrial For Nicollette Sheridan ‘Desperate Housewives’ Case, Appeals Court Rules

The pending retrial of Nicollette Sheridan’s Desperate Housewives wrongful dismissal case has been put on ice by the California Court of Appeals. In a ruling issued Friday the court said, “it is further ordered that the retrial currently set for September … Read More »

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Lifetime Eyes Marc Cherry’s ABC Dramedy Pilot ‘Devious Maids’

By | Wednesday May 30, 2012 @ 5:00pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

It is the end of the road for Marc Cherry’s veteran ABC dramedy Desperate Housewives, which ended its eight-season run this month, but it ain’t over yet for Cherry’s latest project, the Desperate Housewives-esque Devious Maids. Lifetime is looking at … Read More »

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UPDATE: New ‘Desperate Housewives’ Trial Set For Sept. 10

By | Wednesday April 18, 2012 @ 9:51am PDT

Desperate Housewives TrialUPDATED, 9:55 AM: Disney/ABC just objected in court to the judge’s start date for the retrial, so the start has been shifted to September 10. The trial is scheduled to run through September 25, and … Read More »

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UPDATE: No Verdict, No Settlement in “Desperate Housewives” Trial Today

By | Friday March 16, 2012 @ 4:20pm PDT

Freelance writer Dominic Patten is a Deadline contributor

UPDATE 4:50 PM: “The judge asked us to come down and speak to the other side,” defense attorney Adam Levin said outside Judge Bendix’s courtroom, “and we did so and absolutely nothing … Read More »

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‘Desperate Housewives’ Jury Says It’s Having Trouble Reaching Verdict

By | Thursday March 15, 2012 @ 4:32pm PDT

Freelance writer Dominic Patten is a Deadline contributor

The jury in former Desperate Housewives star Nicollette Sheridan’s wrongful termination suit announced to the court late Thursday afternoon that it is “having difficulty reaching a verdict.” After its first full day of deliberations, … Read More »

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UPDATE: ‘Desperate Housewives’ Trial Now In Jury’s Hands

By | Wednesday March 14, 2012 @ 3:00pm PDT

Freelance writer Dominic Patten is a Deadline contributor

Desperate Housewives Trial

2ND UPDATE, 3 PM: Closing statements are over and the jury has left the court to begin deliberations. As a civil trial, the 12-person jury — 9 women and 3 men — does not have to be unanimous in its verdict, but at least nine must agree.

Wrapping closing statements earlier in the afternoon, Levin went for ABC’s bottom line in the wrongful termination trial: “The evidence does not show that Ms. Sheridan made a complaint about an unsafe work environment.” During his rebuttal, plaintiff’s attorney Mark Baute went after Marc Cherry, whom he called “vindictive”. He said Cherry “was out of control,” over objections from Levin, adding, “the company,” to protect Cherry and the success of the series, “orchestrated a story.” Sheridan “got retaliated against and clipped.”

UPDATE, 12:27 PM: Defense attorney Adam Levin said during his closing statement that “the decision to kill off Edie was made long before the Sept. 24, 2008 incident”. “Mr. Baute has told you a complicated story of conspiracy,” Levin said, referring to the closing argument by Nicollette Sheridan’s lawyer. “What is the truth is much more simple.”

Calling it “desperate” to allege that “10 good citizens of California” would concoct a fake story to get rid of Sheridan’s character after the actress complained about Marc Cherry allegedly hitting her in the head, Levin took a much more professorial tone that the passionate Baute earlier in the morning. Employing props like on-screen transcripts, a giant timeline board, Post-It notes and Housewives’ writers’ story index cards (like the unfortunately worded “Steve drinks OJ”), Levin attempted to show the jury how the decision was made to kill off Sheridan’s character and how then-ABC Studios president Mark Pedowitz and then-ABC Entertainment president Steve McPherson approved the plan four months before the on-set head-hitting altercation. Read More »

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UPDATE: ABC Lawyer Rejects Claim That Network Tried To Delete ‘Desperate Housewives’ Emails

By | Tuesday March 13, 2012 @ 3:31pm PDT

Freelance writer Dominic Patten is a Deadline contributor

Desperate Housewives Trial

UPDATE, 3:31 PM: ABC’s VP Litigation Jean Zoeller said on the stand today that she would “absolutely not” tell anyone to delete or erase any correspondence or documents related to Nicollette Sheridan being fired from Desperate Housewives. Zoeller’s testimony came in direct response to potential bombshell testimony earlier today by Michael Reinhart, the Housewives crew member who said he received an email telling him to “possibly” delete any correspondence and documents concerning Sheridan leaving the show. Reinhart said he deleted the email immediately and court officials are examining the hard drive. Read More »

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Battery Charge Against Marc Cherry Dismissed In ‘Desperate Housewives’ Trial

By | Tuesday March 13, 2012 @ 12:03pm PDT

Marc Cherry Desperate Housewives TrialThe battery portion of Nicollette Sheridan’s lawsuit against Desperate Housewives creator/executive producer Marc Cherry has been dropped, with Cherry’s defense lawyer saying Cherry is ”no longer a defendant in this case.” … Read More »

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UPDATE: Steve McPherson Says Plan To Kill Off Nicollette Sheridan’s Character Came Before Slap, Calls Trial “Crazy”

Freelance writer Dominic Patten is a Deadline contributor

Desperate Housewives Trial

UPDATE, 2:57 PM: Former ABC Entertainment president Steve McPherson told the court this afternoon that he approved the killing off of Nicollette Sheridan’s Edie Britt character in May 2008, months before a head-hitting incident between Sheridan and Cherry on the Desperate Housewives set. He then told Deadline after his brief appearance on the stand that he is surprised the case ever got this far. ”It’s kinda crazy,” McPherson said outside the courtroom. “Both parties are really nice people, and I’m surprised it even made it to trial,” he said. McPherson, who left ABC abruptly in 2010, declined to discuss the Cherry-Sheridan incident but told Deadline it had nothing to do with the actress leaving the series. “We made the decision to get rid of the character six or seven months before anything happened — whatever happened,” he said, echoing his testimony.

On the stand, McPherson confirmed Cherry’s and Pedowitz’s previous testimony that he gave his approval of the decision on May 22, 2008. “I was running the network, they needed my approval to kill of the character”, he told the jury. “I gave my approval.” The alleged Cherry-Sheridan head-slapping incident occurred in September 2008. Under questioning from Cherry defense lawyer Adam Levin, McPherson said he had no emails or memos about the decision because “we wanted to keep it confidential”. He testified that the only people at the meeting in his office that day were himself, Cherry, Pedowitz and Housewives producers Sabrina Wind and Bob Daily. He added that he would have done exactly the same thing in regards to the killing off of any major character on any major network series. “We didn’t want it to get out”, he said. Read More »

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‘Desperate Housewives’ Trial: Nicollette Sheridan Was Kept In Dark About Plan To Kill Off Her Character

By | Thursday March 8, 2012 @ 6:30pm PST

Freelance writer Dominic Patten is a Deadline contributor

UPDATE 6:30 PM: Turns out Teri Hatcher’s Desperate Housewives job was on the chopping block too. George Perkins, the show’s long time line producer, testified this afternoon that Hatcher, the best known of the leads when the series debuted back in 2004, was under consideration to be let go to save money back in 2008. Also under discussion in an effort to cut costs as the series entered its fifth season were James Denton, who has played Hatcher’s love interest on the show from season one, Kyle MacLachlan, who played Marcia Cross’ second husband and Nicollette Sheridan, Perkins said.

Perkins said he was not privy to Cherry’s alleged meetings in May 2008 with then ABC Studios president Pedowitz and then-ABC Entertainment president Steve McPherson, expected to testify Friday, about the decision to kill off Sheridan’s character. Perkins, who stressed he was not good with dates and had a bad memory, told the court he first heard of the decision to cut Sheridan in early June or July of 2008 as production on Desperate Housewives fifth season was gearing up. As for the alleged head hitting incident between Cherry and Sheridan on Sept. 24, 2008 that is at the center of the battery case, Perkins’ testimony focused on his efforts to properly manage the fallout from it. Perkins sent an email to ABC Human Resources exec Lynne Volk and the show’s publicists later that day, in which he called what happened a “very minor incident.” Read More »

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‘Desperate Housewives’ Trial: Steve McPherson Set To Take The Stand Friday

By | Wednesday March 7, 2012 @ 4:50pm PST

Freelance writer Dominic Patten is a Deadline contributor

Marc Cherry Desperate Housewives TrialUPDATE, 4:45 PM: Here comes the big guy — former ABC Entertainment president Steve McPherson is slated to testify in Nicollette Sheridan’s wrongful termination and battery trial on Friday at 1:30 PM. McPherson, who left ABC in 2010, has been cited in testimony by Marc Cherry and former ABC Studios president Mark Pedowitz as having given the network’s permission to kill off Sheridan’s Edie Britt character in May 2008, four months before the Cherry allegedly struck Sheridan in the head during an on-set altercation. Sheridan claims she was eliminated from the show because of that latter incident.

Testimony today saw several witnesses take the stand out of order due to scheduling issues, and saw Cherry’s ongoing testimony pause yet again to accommodate those changes. Sabrina Wind, a Desperate Housewives producer and Cherry’s self-described “right-hand gal,” took the stand this afternoon and contradicted several statements her boss made during his testimony. Wind, visibly nervous, said she could not recall getting a call from Cherry shortly after the alleged head-hitting incident between him and Sheridan on September 24, 2008. Sheridan’s lawyer Mark Baute then read from Wind’s deposition last year, in which she said she “did not” receive a call from Cherry as he previously testified. Wind, in another contradiction to Cherry’s testimony, also said she did not keep the producer up to date on a human resources investigation into the alleged incident. Wind, who is Cherry’s partner in Cherry/Wind Productions, also said she knew of no discussions about financial savings or “unprofessional behavior” on Sheridan’s part as reasons for killing off the actress’ character. Read More »

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UPDATE: Mark Pedowitz Takes Stand In ‘Desperate Housewives’ Trial

By | Tuesday March 6, 2012 @ 4:00pm PST

Freelance writer Dominic Patten is a Deadline contributor

Desperate Housewives TrialUPDATE, 4 PM: Mark Pedowitz says Marc Cherry never discussed financial ramifications or Nicollette Sheridan’s alleged “unprofessional behavior” when the Desperate Housewives executive producer asked the then-ABC Studios president for permission to kill off the Edie Britt character in May 2008.

Contradicting testimony from Cherry that money and Sheridan’s professionalism were reasons for getting rid of the Britt character, Pedowitz did confirm today that he gave Cherry studio permission in a small meeting on May 22, 2008, to get rid of the character. “They were seeking permission from the studio to kill off the character,” Pedowitz said. Pedowitz, who left ABC Studios in January 2009, said Cherry told him the character was to be killed off because “there were no more stories to tell.” Later, Pedowitz told the jury, under questioning from defense attorney Adam Levin, that he had rejected an earlier attempt by Cherry to kill off the Britt character in season 3 of the series but he approved killing her off in season 5 because “the character in my mind had run its course.”

Pedowitz also testified this afternoon that in a later meeting that same day, then-ABC Entertainment president Steve McPherson “blessed” the decision to kill off the Britt character. Pedowitz said that in the meeting with McPherson, Cherry and others, there were “ongoing conversations” about if the Britt character was to leave the series, “sooner or later.” Pedowitz said that both he and McPherson wanted it to happen “later, “preferably in May,” around the time of the season finale. Read More »

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UPDATE: Marc Cherry Says Eva Longoria & Felicity Huffman Were “Relieved” That Nicollette Sheridan Was Exiting Show

Freelance writer Dominic Patten is a Deadline contributor

Desperate Housewives Trial

2ND UPDATE, 5 PM: Marc Cherry told the court that Nicollette Sheridan’s Desperate Housewives co-stars Eva Longoria and Felicity Huffman were “relieved” to hear that Sheridan’s character would be killed off the hit ABC series. They were, he testified, concerned that their deals might be affected by salary demands Sheridan might have been considering at the time. The show’s creator/executive producer testified that on or around the series’ 100th episode party on December 10, 2008 — more than two months before Cherry said he told Sheridan that she would be leaving the show – he told Longoria and Huffman that Sheridan’s character was being killed off to “calm them down”. Longoria and Huffman, both on the witness list for the trial along with fellow Housewives co-star Marcia Cross, were in Cherry’s office that December day to discuss conversations they had with Sheridan about all five stars renegotiating their contracts together to get a better deal out of the network. All five primary actresses on the hit series, along with Cherry, benefited from profit-sharing deals that grew the longer the series was on the air. Read More »

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‘Desperate Housewives’ Trial: Nicollette Sheridan Was Never A Star Of The Show, Defense Says

By | Friday March 2, 2012 @ 12:44pm PST

Freelance writer Dominic Patten is a Deadline contributor

Nicollette Sheridan was never one of the stars of Desperate Housewives, the lead defense attorney in her suit against Housewives creator/executive producer Marc Cherry asserted today. Lining up to show that the death of Sheridan’s character Edie Britt was not an unusual occurrence for a network show, defense attorney Adam Levin went to great lengths to show that the actress was not of the same stature as Marcia Cross, Eva Longoria, Felicity Huffman and Teri Hatcher on the hit ABC series. Levin cited pay differences between Sheridan and the other actresses; that Sheridan was not featured in a group shot in the show’s opening sequence; and that Sheridan was only nominated for a best supporting role by the Golden Globes in 2005 and never a best actress Globe or Emmy, as others on the show were. Read More »

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