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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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UPDATE: Nicollette Sheridan Re-Enacts Confrontation With Marc Cherry In Court: “I Couldn’t Believe He Hit Me”

By | Thursday March 1, 2012 @ 3:15pm PST

‘Desperate Housewives’ Trial Puts Behind-The-Scenes Drama In Spotlight

Freelance writer Dominic Patten is a Deadline contributor

UPDATED, WRITETHRU: An emotional Nicollette Sheridan, with a stern-faced Marc Cherry sitting in front of her, today detailed in court the events of an alleged on-set incident in September 2008 that escalated into a purportedly violent confrontation between her and Housewives creator/executive producer Cherry. Her testimony came on a day that Deadline learned that attorneys might be paring the witness list in order for wrongful termination and battery trial to finish by Judge Elizabeth Allen White’s March 12 target. Sheridan’s lawyer Mark Baute told media late in the day that he thought the defense had no intention of calling the other Housewives stars — Eva Longoria, Marcia Cross and Felicity Huffman — currently on the list.

Sheridan, aided by her co-counsel Patrick Maloney, twice re-enacted for the jury how she says Cherry struck her the morning of September 24. The incident is an anchor of Sheridan’s suit. With Sheridan on the stand playing Cherry and Maloney playing the actress, the incident looked far more than a light tap on the head, as Cherry has claimed. “Mr. Cherry approached me from the left-hand side,” Sheridan told the court, “and hit me upside the head.” Sheridan said Cherry struck her with an open-palm right hand on the left side of the head with “a hard hit” … Read More »

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UPDATE: Nicollette Sheridan Will Be First On Stand As ‘Desperate Housewives’ Trial Wraps Opening Statements

By | Wednesday February 29, 2012 @ 4:35pm PST

Freelance writer Dominic Patten is a Deadline contributor

3RD UPDATE, 4:35 PM: Stephen McPherson killed Edie Britt. That’s according to defense lawyer Adam Levin in his opening statement late this afternoon. Levin claims that the former ABC Entertainment president gave Desperate Housewives creator/executive producer Cherry the OK to kill off Nicollette Sheridan’s character on the series — months before an alleged head-slapping incident between the actress and Cherry. Levin told jurors that on May 22, 2008, Cherry along with fellow Housewives exec producer Bob Daily went to then-ABC Studios boss Pedowitz and asked him if they could kill off Sheridan’s character in a “tentpole” Season 5 story arc. Pedowitz agreed, and that same day the group went to McPherson with the idea. “The evidence will show,” Levin said, “that Mr. McPherson agreed”. Along with Sheridan and Cherry, who were both in court today, Pedowitz, Daily and McPherson are scheduled to testify in the two-week trial. “People die all the time on television”, Levin said, citing the collective decision. “It can increase buzz and revenue”. Levin also all but claimed that Sheridan’s assertion that Cherry hit her on set in September 2008 was the actress attempting to generate buzz and revenue for herself. Sheridan, “suffered no injury” when Cherry “lightly tapped” her on the head while giving her on-set direction that day. “She didn’t even have a red mark; she didn’t even take an aspirin,” Levin told the jury, dismissing the plaintiff’s contention that the actress was “hit hard,” as her lawyer claimed earlier. “The evidence will show she went to her trailer and the first call she made was to check her voicemail”. Concluded Levin: “Ms. Sheridan was not battered nor wrongfully terminated”. The trial continues Thursday.

2ND UPDATE, 4:15 PM: Both opening arguments have ended. Sheridan is schedule to be the first witness on the stand tomorrow morning at 9:15 and is expected to testify all day Thursday and the entire half-day session Friday. Read More »

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UPDATE: Jury Selection Still Underway In ‘Desperate Housewives’ Trial

By | Tuesday February 28, 2012 @ 4:38pm PST

Freelance writer Dominic Patten is a Deadline contributor

UPDATE, TUESDAY 4:40 PM: A jury has still not been seated in the case, and selection will resume tomorrow at 1:30 PM once the potential juror panel has been replenished. Once selection is completed — hopefully by late in the afternoon — opening statements will begin. However, with Judge Elizabeth Allen White being strict about ending proceedings at 4:15 PM, it is unlikely opening statements will get far. Sheridan and Cherry were present in court all day Tuesday. Read More »

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