“Desperate Housewives” creator Marc Cherry says his cast members were saddened, but definitely not blindsided when he spoke to many of them over the last few days to break the news that the show would end its run at the end of the 2011-2012 television season.
“I’ve spoken to over half of them. It was actually kind of bittersweet and lovely, because the women knew that it was a possibility, but they didn’t know [for sure], so there was a touch of shock, but not completely,” Marc told reporters at the ABC portion of the Television Critics Association Summer Session in Beverly Hills on Sunday.
On Sunday, ABC confirmed the rumors – that the show would end after eight seasons on the air – and Marc said that as he spoke to the cast, they felt proud of the work they’ve done so far as they head into what will now be their final residency on Wisteria Lane.
“With everyone I spoke to it was just like, ‘Wow, look what we’ve done together,’” he recounted. “People said some very lovely things to me about how I changed their lives or careers and I said it right back to them because what they have done for me, as a group of people, was amazing and I truly, truly love each and every one of the people I was talking to Friday.”
Marc said Doug Savant, who plays Felicity Huffman’s on screen husband, Tom Scavo, was more than grateful.
“Doug Savant, he said, ‘Marc, what can I do for everything you’ve done for me?’ I’m like, ‘Just keep in touch for the next few decades.’ He’s been great. So many of them are people who fill me up with so much emotion inside,” Marc continued. “I love my cast.”
Marc admitted he even considered a spin-off because he’s become so close to Eva Longoria, who plays Gabrielle Solis.
“In my phone conversation with Eva… [I joked], ‘I’m just gonna put you in a van and have you solve mysteries,’” he laughed. “She is such a joy and we were both laughed and got a little teary on the phone together.”
As for the final season, Marc said it will go back to the mystery that opened Season 1 – the death of Mary Alice Young (the voice of “DH,” Brenda Strong).
“We’re going back to the roots of Mary Alice,” he said. “This feels right for the mystery that will take us out this year.”
The creator said he also wants to pay homage to the stars that appeared on the show, which he expects will include the Edie Britt character, which was played by Nicollette Sheridan.
“I don’t know how I would do that,” Marc said in response to a question from a reporter about the character coming back or paying tribute to her. “But I have an idea for the last episode, in which I want to pay homage to everyone who’s been there.”
Marc said the decision to end the show was collaboration between himself and the ABC Entertainment President, Paul Lee.
“I think the only thing harder than creating a hit show, is knowing when to end it, especially when you’ve got, I think one of the most amazing casts in the history of television who continue to deliver amazing performances week after week,” Marc said. “It’s something that’s weighed on my mind for quite a while now but because I have been working in television for 23 years.
“I’m also very aware of people overstaying their welcome — shows that go on too long and people just forget about them, they drift away into nothing, and then they’re unceremoniously booted off and … I just didn’t want that to ‘Desperate Housewives,’ I wanted to go out while the network still saw us as a viable show, while we were still doing well in the ratings and we were still a force to be contended with,” he continued. “I wanted to go out in the classiest way possible.”