Desperate Housewives showrunner Marc Cherry confirmed in an emotional announcement at the TCA press tour this morning that the eighth season of ABC's soapy dramedy will be its last.
So why pull the plug on a hit series?
"I wanted to go out when the network still saw us as a viable show and doing well in ratings," Cherry told reporters. "I've worked in TV for 23 years and I'm very aware of shows that overstay their welcome. I wanted to go out in the classiest way possible… Harder than creating a hit show is knowing when to end it, especially when you have such an amazing cast."
Cherry broke the bad news to most of the cast—including original Housewives Eva Longoria, Felicity Huffman, Marcia Cross and Teri Hatcher—Friday, he said. It was "bittersweet and lovely," said Cherry. "The women knew it was a possibility, but they didn't know. So there was a touch of shock, but not completely." Instead, gratitude was the "primary color of the conversations with the cast" about the show's end.
"I love my cast…people are smart enough to be grateful," Cherry gushed, boasting that Desperate Housewives "changed lives and careers"—especially for Cross and Hatcher, for whom "lightning struck twice" years after the stardom they enjoyed respectively on Melrose Place and Lois & Clark.
Although Cherry and new ABC Entertainment head honcho Paul Lee had talked about taking D.H. into a ninth season, there are no plans to cram two seasons' worth of storylines into this last eight season. "If we'd gone nine, I had no idea what it was gonna be," Cherry admitted. Instead, season eight's "mystery hearkens back to the first season, going back to the roots of Mary Alice [Brenda Strong]. This feels right for that mystery to take us out this year."
When asked about revisiting the character of Edie—played by Nicollette Sheridan, with whom Cherry had a famously contentious relationship—Cherry said, "I have an idea for the last episode in which I want to pay homage to everyone who's been on the show."
Don't count on a D.H. spinoff., Cherry said, adding, "I love Eva Longoria more than life itself," joking to the actress, "'I'm just going to put you in a van and have you solve mysteries.'" In reality, Cherry is looking to the future, and focusing on retooling his new pilot for ABC, Hallelujah.
"We did a pilot and half of it was terrific and half of it wasn't," he admitted. "Our attitude is we will do it when it is right and terrific—it is so unusual in its tone and aspiration, we'll do it when it's ready."
Are you ready to see Desperate Housewives end? Who will you miss most? Post your farewells in the comments.