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Nicollette Sheridan trial: Jury deadlocked for now

Deciding whether an actress was wrongfully dumped from a hit TV show is apparently very, very tough. But the judge in Nicollette Sheridan’s $6 million suit against the home of Desperate Housewives told the deadlocked jurors on Friday to try again on Monday.

A third day of deliberations came and went without a verdict in the high-profile case that’s already managed to upstage the last season of the ABC drama. The media company argued that it had approved the death of Sheridan’s Edie Britt character in May 2008 — four months before an incident that she believes precipitated her firing. Showrunner Marc Cherry had struck the actress at the beginning of season 5 in September 2008; Sheridan was killed off later that season after, her attorneys allege, the creator/executive producer was cleared of wrongdoing by ABC.

The actress included a battery charge in her suit but it was dropped by Judge Elizabeth Allen White earlier this week.

A variety of witnesses including Cherry, former ABC executives Mark Pedowitz and Steve McPherson and DH star James Denton testified in the trial. Testimony last week ended up spoiling a major plot point on the show this month — the death of Denton’s character, Mike Delfino.

Read more:

Nicollette Sheridan’s ‘Desperate Housewives’ trial: A round-up of essential takeaways so far
‘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: Judge drops battery charge against creator Marc Cherry

The battery charge in Nicollette Sheridan’s trial against Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry has been dropped, per judge Elizabeth Allen White. With that part of the case removed, Cherry is no longer a defendant. The case still includes a wrongful termination claim against former employers ABC and ABC Studios.

Sheridan claimed in her original $6 million suit that Cherry had struck her on the set of Desperate Housewives on Sept. 24, 2008.

In dismissing the charge, the judge made the point that Sheridan’s claims did not meet the standard of proof for battery. The only question that remains in the case now is if Sheridan was, indeed, retaliated against by ABC when her character, Edie Britt, was killed off the show and she was let go. With the battery charge dropped, the jury will still be asked to decide on the wrongful-termination claim.

Cherry appeared outside the courtroom after the charge was dismissed and spoke to the press for the first time. “Obviously I’m thrilled by the judge’s decision,” he said. “But I’m going to withhold further comment until this matter is resolved completely.”

Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky

Read more:
Nicollette Sheridan’s ‘Desperate Housewives’ trial: A round-up of essential takeaways so far
‘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’

'Desperate Housewives' star Teri Hatcher thinks SPOILER death 'was a bad idea'

James Denton didn’t seem to have a problem with his character, Mike Delfino, being killed off in last night’s episode of Desperate Housewives. “It’s actually brilliant,” Denton told EW, of the way Mike was shot in retaliation by a loan shark. “As an actor, you just hope people care.”

But Teri Hatcher — who plays his on-screen wife Susan — isn’t so easy-breezy about the death. “I’ve got to be honest,” she told EW, “I think it was a bad idea.”

So bad, in fact, that Hatcher approached the show’s producers about making Mike’s shooting a veil for something more. READ FULL STORY

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

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.)

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'Desperate Housewives' major character death revealed: Read an EXCLUSIVE interview with the star!

desperate-housewives

Back in late January, EW broke the news that a major character on Desperate Housewives would die during the March 11 episode of the long-running ABC soap. The identity of the character was to remain secret until the episode premiered, of course, to preserve the surprise element of the storyline. But the details trickling out of testimony at the Nicollette Sheridan wrongful-termination trial in Los Angeles have messed with that plan: The news of the character’s identity leaked out today in the ongoing court battle.

EW was on set for the character’s dramatic final moments and had the first, exclusive interview with the star. Since the news is already out there, we thought we’d share an excerpt of the interview after the jump, but — SPOILER ALERT! — do not click if you don’t want to know who got the ax. But, read on if you want to hear how the actor was told, the reaction of co-stars, and what’s next. READ FULL STORY

'Desperate Housewives' trial: Lawyer testifies that Nicollette Sheridan was afraid she'd lose her job

Both Nicollette Sheridan and Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry have finished their juicy testimony in the actress’ wrongful termination suit that’s playing out in downtown Los Angeles, so other players are now taking the stage. Today, Sheridan’s entertainment lawyer Neil Meyer took the stand and told the court that the former Desperate Housewives actress was afraid she’d lose her job after an encounter where Cherry allegedly struck her on the head, on set. Sheridan is seeking $6 million in damages for her eventual termination, which she says happened in retaliation for complaining about the incident with Cherry.

While on the stand today, Sheridan’s lawyer Meyer characterized Cherry as a “vindictive man.” (That remark was eventually struck from the record, at the request of Cherry’s lawyer.) He also explained that Sheridan has been willing to move on from the situation. “We weren’t looking to ABC/Disney to do anything,” Meyer said during questioning, “because Nicollette was concerned about retaliation. Marc Cherry had apologized, and she was prepared to put her head down and go back to work. Nicollette was upset, but she was also worried about her job.”

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'Desperate Housewives' trial: Creator says Nicollette Sheridan let go because of 'unprofessional behavior'

This morning at Nicollette Sheridan’s ongoing wrongful termination trial in downtown Los Angeles, Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry took the stand and told the court that he let the actress go because of her “unprofessional behavior.” Added Cherry: “It wasn’t the primary reason for my decision. But it was something I was aware of.”

Cherry, however, also said that all reasons for her firing were secondary to “creative desires” to boost the show’s storylines in following seasons. Sheridan claims that she was fired from the once-hot series in retaliation to her complaints about an encounter she had with Cherry that got physical. READ FULL STORY

Nicollette Sheridan at 'Desperate Housewives' trial: Creator Marc Cherry 'hit me upside the head'

Former Desperate Housewives star Nicollette Sheridan took the stand in Los Angeles Thursday as the first witness in a trial to decide if she was wrongfully terminated from her role as Edie Britt on the ABC primetime soap opera.

Wearing a dark blue suit jacket and with her hair pulled back in a ponytail, Sheridan described the day she claims she was slapped by Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry.

The set-up, provided by Sheridan, was that a “funny” line Edie said during rehearsals had been cut from the script. So the actress approached Cherry about why it was gone. “What is it that you want?” Sheridan recounts him as saying. Then, she added, “Mr. Cherry approached, he took his right hand, and he hit me upside the head. I was stunned I couldn’t believe he just hit me.” Sheridan then recreated her reaction. “You just hit me in the head,” she said very loudly in the courtroom, while tearing up. “This is not okay, that is not okay.”

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'Desperate Housewives' trial begins: 'This is a man hitting a woman'

Actress Nicollette Sheridan was fired from Desperate Housewives for standing up to the series’ creator after he struck her in the head, her attorney said Wednesday during opening statements in her wrongful termination trial.

Mark Baute said the show’s creator and executive producer, Marc Cherry, struck Sheridan hard on the head in September 2008 and fired her after ABC cleared him of wrongdoing. Sheridan is seeking roughly $6 million in damages.

Baute said Cherry acknowledges touching Sheridan, but claims he was tapping her head to give her artistic direction.

“This is a man hitting a woman in the head — hard — without her consent,” Baute said.

The ABC series’ stars, Eva Longoria, Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman and Marcia Cross, could provide some star power to the trial because all are listed as potential witnesses. The trial will also provide a behind-the-scenes look at how a major television show is created, with both sides focusing on when the decision was made to kill off Sheridan’s character, Edie Britt. READ FULL STORY

Nicollette Sheridan's wrongful termination trial against 'Desperate Housewives' starts today

The Desperate Housewives drama is about to transfer from Wisteria Lane to the courtroom: Today marks the first day of Nicollette Sheridan’s wrongful termination trial against ABC and Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry. The dispute dates back to April 2010, when the actress filed a lawsuit against Cherry for assault and battery, gender violence, wrongful termination, and “intentional infliction of emotional distress,” claiming the series creator had fired her after she had complained about his “demeaning” and “unprofessional” behavior. (Sheridan’s character, Edie Britt, was killed off in the series’ fifth season.) Later that year, Sheridan dropped the assault and battery charges, but still pursued wrongful termination charges, while workers compensation lawyers for Cherry claimed that he had decided to kill off Edie months before their argument for cost-cutting purposes. READ FULL STORY

'Desperate Housewives' scoop: Major character dies!

Death watch on Wisteria Lane!

EW has learned exclusively that a major character will meet her (or his) demise in an episode of Desperate Housewives that’s currently shooting in Burbank, Calif.

The cast just learned about the shocking death this week. ABC won’t spill details — we don’t know if it’s one of ladies or one of the husbands — but the pivotal passing will air in March. READ FULL STORY

Bad girl Bree beds 'All My Children' heartthrob on 'Housewives': 'It was lovely having sex with you.' -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

What happens when Desperate Housewives‘ notoriously prim Bree Van de Kamp lets loose a little? Hilarious things, natch! The seemingly prude Bree is going a little bit bad in the dramedy’s next new episode “What’s the Good of Being Good,” on Jan. 22, and EW has an exclusive sneak peek at how it all goes down. Specifically, the clip chronicles what happens after Bree picks up Greg (played by delicious and mostly shirtless All My Children alum Cameron Mathison) at a bar in the wee hours of the morning — and then unceremoniously kicks him out of her bed at 4 a.m. before Mrs. McCluskey can spot him. “It was lovely,” she says, “having sex with you.”

Bree is desperate to get rid of Greg. “This is my only chance to get you out of here without her noticing!” she explains to him. Despite her ease with kicking him to the curb, Greg likes Bree… and wants to see her again. “You’re just going to kick me out?” he asks. Which is when Bree pulls the ultimate Bree move and offers him one of her patented muffins, which she just happens to have on hand — naturally — by the door to her house. “I am so sorry,” she adds, with a smile. “Where are my manners?” Watch the full, sneak-peek clip below:

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'Desperate Housewives' creator: 'I'm never sending these gals to Dubai'

The beginning of the end for Desperate Housewives officially began today in Pasadena, as the five female stars — and three of their men — met with the nation’s critics for the last time.

No one gave up many set secrets; in fact, it took Teri Hatcher (Susan) at least 30 minutes before she chimed in on the conversation. But then, it turned out to be rather hard to reflect on a series that is still on the air.

“It’s like having the funeral before you die!” exclaimed Felicity Huffman (Lynette), who was joined on the panel by creator Marc Cherry, executive producer Bob Daily, Marcia Cross (Bree), Eva Longoria (Gabriel), James Denton (Mike), Vanessa Williams (Renee), Ricardo Antonio Chavira (Carlos), Doug Savant (Tom), and Hatcher.

It was easier for Cherry. “People ask me if it’s bittersweet. No, it’s sweet. There is no such thing as a job that goes on forever. I was so f—ed. I was $100,000 in debt to my mother, I went three years without an interview. No one thought I was anything. I write this script, and all hell broke loose. I knew it was going to be a roller coaster. I’m smart enough, humane enough to know it’s all good. Even the bad stuff was good. Even the days when I was exhausted. It was fantastic. We are grateful.” READ FULL STORY

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