Nicollette Sheridan's 'Desperate Housewives' trial: A round-up of essential takeaways so far

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Image Credit: Ron Tom/ABC

Nicollette Sheridan’s wrongful termination and battery case against Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry, ABC, and ABC Studios has continued this entire week in downtown Los Angeles. A variety of witnesses have been called — including Cherry, ABC executives Mark Pedowitz and Steve McPherson, Desperate star James Denton, and producers George Perkins and Sabrina Wind — who have all contributed heartily to the deluge of information out there about the case. We’ve updated you earlier in the week, but to help you sort it all out, EW has distilled the essential information from the last few days of testimony:

+ CASE CLOSED…SOON: Judge Elizabeth Allen White told the jury today that she expects the case to wrap — closing arguments and all — by Tuesday, March 13. That means that it’s highly unlikely that many on the potential witness list — including high profile names like Sheridan’s former co-stars Marcia Cross, Felicity Huffman, and Eva Longoria — will be called to testify. White said that it was “not appropriate” for the stars to appear — the defense had hoped to use them to show how Cherry interacted with them over physical direction. (However, the defense could still call them under other auspices.)

+ DEATH APPROVED: Former ABC Entertainment president McPherson told the court today that he’d approved the death of Sheridan’s Edie Britt character in May 2008 — four months before an incident between Sheridan and Cherry that the actress claims precipitated her firing. McPherson said he couldn’t produce proof — emails or other paper-trial items — because “we wanted to keep it confidential.” The defense has established — through the testimony of Cherry and execs Pedowitz and McPherson — that the decision to kill Sheridan’s character was made in May 2008.

+ “BASELESS” INCIDENT: Earlier today, a human resources representative at ABC, Lynne Volk, testified about her investigation into the incident between Sheridan and Cherry, where the actress claimed that the series creator hit her after she asked about a change to her dialogue in the script. Although she never interviewed Sheridan or Cherry, Volk apparently updated higher-level ABC execs that the complaints around the incident were “baseless.” Volk added, in her testimony: “Ms. Sheridan had been upset by their interaction, there had been an apology and everything was fine.”

+ THE CHOPPING BLOCK: Edie Britt’s character was killed off, but testimony from the trial reveals that producers toyed with the idea of killing off other main characters on the show, too, including Hatcher’s Susan Mayer, Kyle MacLachlan’s Orson Hodge, and Denton’s Mike Delfino.

+ MONEY ISSUES: Housewives producer Wind took the stand on Thursday and revealed Sheridan’s salary of $4.2 million while discussing the timetable around when it was decided that her character would be killed off the show.

+ UPCOMING CHARACTER DEATH REVEALED: Housewives producer George Perkins took the stand and, under oath, revealed that another major character on the show will die in this Sunday’s episode. Sheridan’s attorney asked him about whether her character’s death was the most high-profile on the show ever, to which Perkins asked, “You mean up until today?” That’s when he let the cat out of the bag about Sunday’s big death. EW was on set for the death scenes and has an exclusive interview with the star. (Don’t click if you don’t want the news spoiled!)

+ DEATH REASONS: Cherry was on the stand a variety of times this week, and he explained the reasons behind killing off Sheridan’s character. He referred to creative reasons, saying that “the purpose of the character was over” by season 5. He also mentioned there had been financial considerations because of the actress’ “egregious” and “unprofessional” behavior. (Pedowitz, however, said that the decision was only a creative matter.) Cherry said that Sheridan insulted writers, came to set unprepared, and also said that Sheridan fought with Hatcher during season 1 and called her “the meanest person she had ever met.”

Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky

Read more:
‘Desperate Housewives’ major character death revealed: Read an EXCLUSIVE interview with the star!
‘Desperate Housewives’ trial: Creator says Nicollette Sheridan let go because of ‘unprofessional behavior’
Nicollette Sheridan at ‘Desperate Housewives’ trial: Creator Marc Cherry ‘hit me upside the head’
Nicollette Sheridan’s ‘Desperate Housewives’ trial starts today
‘Desperate Housewives’ trial begins: ‘This is a man hitting a woman’

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