In the ongoing trial that is Nicollette Sheridan vs. her old Desperate Housewives boss Marc Cherry, today was a she-said, he-said.
The erstwhile Edie Britt finished up her testimony under cross-examination from Marc Cherry's attorney, Adam Levin, who pushed her on whether she contradicted an earlier deposition she gave regarding how she characterized the Desperate Housewives mastermind as wanting to eliminate her character from the hit ABC show.
And while the tears were flowing again on her end, Cherry made it clear a hit was a "tap" and that Sheridan was fired for "cost-saving" reasons. Here's the latest.
For Sheridan's final day on the stand, opposing counsel interrogated the British thesp on how she could claim in her deposition that the producer told her that he "wanted to shake things up" when he informed her that he was going to ax Edie in February 2008—when Levin pointed out Sheridan painted a very different impression in her testimony last week all hinging on the word "just."
According to Cherry's lawyer, Sheridan testified at trial, however, that Cherry told her during that meeting he had "just" decided to kill off her character.
"You were making that up, weren't you?" Levin asked her accusingly before warning her that she again was contradicting herself and could face a penalty of perjury.
What subsequently unfolded was some heavy jousting over whether "just" was in her deposition with the lawyer trying to shake Nicollette's composure and undermine her credibility and Sheridan firing back, noting "'Just' was not in what you just read," in reference to the deposition statement he uttered aloud.
Levin also argued that Sheridan had her attorney, Neil Meyer, take care of her complaint against Cherry after the fateful September 2008 incident on set when she alleged that Cherry decked her on the side of the head instead of the thesp personally contacting human resources or her union herself.
"I felt that [having Neil handle the situation] was the safest hands to be in," Sheridan said, in response to why her attorney handled contacting H.R. and she didn't.
Confronted by Levin with a Dec. 5, 2008, letter stating that ABC had conducted an investigation and relieved Cherry of any wrongdoing, Sheridan said it was "an appalling and outrageous lie."
The 48-year-old actress later got misty-eyed and smiled nostalgically when the court was being shown clips of Sheridan's character interacting with former Housewives costars James Denton and Neal McDonough.
Once her redirect was complete, Sheridan cried again on the stand and was handed a tissue from Judge Elizabeth Allen White—this after reading a letter from line producer George Perkins relating how blessed the staff were to have her on the show.
Once Nicollette stepped down, it was Cherry's turn on the hot seat.
By all accounts, his demeanor was very disarming as he was very polite and cheerful despite grilling by Sheridan's attorney, Mark Baute, over her allegations the producer gave her the boot after she purportedly complained about him hitting her on set.
Responding to the key accusation, Cherry told the court he had touched Nicollette, but it was not the "hard" assault described by Sheridan's attorneys.
"I tapped her head, yes," he testified regarding the Sept. 24 confrontation.
While he stuck to his version of the physical contact, Cherry had a tougher time on the stand clearly explaining his motive for firing Sheridan.
Leading off the questioning, Sheridan's attorney, Mark Baute, stated the producer listed three reasons for killing Sheridan's character after the fifth season: for creative reasons, cutting costs and due to an increasing concern about Sheridan's professional behavior.
Cherry didn't disagree with that last point, noting she was often late, had trouble recalling her lines and supposedly was nasty with a prop man among other marks against her, though he added that wasn't the main reason he let her go.
When asked by Baute if he ever saw her tardy for work, he admitted that she was always there when they actually shot the scene. Additionally, Cherry acknowledged Sheridan's nasty behavior toward a prop worker came on Nov. 28, 2008, during filming of a basement scene for an episode called "Connect Connect" in season five, but that he did not witness the incident and that it occurred after he purportedly hit Sheridan in the head.
Baute also highlighted that Cherry asked for Sheridan to be given a raise in advance of season three and that her role would be expanded due to costar Marcia Cross being placed on bed rest after delivering twins.
For his part, Cherry claimed that he first broached his decision to kill off Edie to ABC executive Mark Pedowitz during a meeting on May 22, 2008—four months before the incident with Sheridan. And that when he told Pedowitz, he indicated the reason was a cost-saving move in the wake of lower ratings. By dumping Sheridan's salary, producers could save money and at the same time Edie's death could be a creative twist they could promote as a stunt to lure advertisers and viewers.
"My idea was to promote the idea that something major was going to happen," Cherry told the court, and recounted that Pedowitz was on board with the idea.
The court has broken for lunch and will reconvene with Cherry on the stand at 1:30 p.m.