US drama Desperate Housewives is to kill off one of its original characters in a dramatic final-season storyline – but the manner in which the news was announced was a drama in itself.
Former Housewives star Nicolette Sheridan is currently in court, suing showrunner Marc Cherry and Touchstone Television for wrongful termination of her contract. She claims that her character, Edie Britt, was written out by Cherry in revenge for her complaints about an argument with Cherry. The show maintains it made the decision to save money.
The character of Edie Britt died during season five of the show, when she crashed her car into a lamp-post, ripping a power cable, which then electrocuted her when she opened her car door onto it while standing in a puddle.
During the Sheridan trial, executive producer George Perkins, under cross-examination from Sheridan's lawyers, suddenly revealed that another original character is to die. But it's not one of the housewives themselves: Mike Delfino, played by James Denton, will be killed in the episode to be shown in the States on ABC this Sunday. This had previously been kept secret.
Amid laughter in the courtroom, Cherry's lawyers reportedly asked Judge Elizabeth Allen White to "quarantine the press" who were covering the proceedings, but were rebuffed.
It has previously been confirmed that the current, eighth season of Desperate Housewives will be the last.
When the news leaked out, James Denton said of the moment when he found out about his character's demise: "I was really surprised. Any other year, I would have been disappointed, but at this point I figured, well, we made it. As an actor, you just hope people care."
Denton added that he was pleased with his final scene opposite Delfino's long-term romantic interest, Susan, played by Teri Hatcher. "I told Marc [Cherry], ‘I wish you’d given me scenes like this for the last five years,’” Denton told Entertainment Weekly. “It’s a really nice scene.”
Meanwhile, former Housewives mainstay Kyle MacLachlan is to play the boss of a law firm in Baby Big Shot, a new drama in development at CBS. The programme concerns the efforts of a working-class woman, played by British actress Janet Montgomery (Black Swan, Human Target, Merlin), to succeed at a blue-chip firm.