Hysteria on Wisteria

Tracy Nyhan is desperate for more of the inhabitants of Wisteria Lane.

Fan of Desperate Housewives? I hate to be the bearer of bad news but here’s some information that could potentially leave millions of fans devastated. It appears that Desperate Housewives was suspiciously excluded when ABC announced in early January that The Middle, Modern Family, Cougar Town, Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice were all renewed for 2010-11.

So what exactly does this mean for the show? Well, the general hype on the Internet suggests that the show isn’t really in danger of doing a runner from our TV screens this year. I mean, why would it? The demand is certainly there and apparently, the cast is still more than willing to pull another season out of the bag (if I was earning $400,000 an episode, I’d be more than willing too).

The confusion has nothing to do with the show itself; the creator, Marc Cherry, has a contract with ABC until 2013, but the stars do not. Their contracts expire this season.

Cast hottie James Denton, who plays Mike Delfino, said that talks with the producers were “tenuous,” but then reassured us that “I think it’s going to work out. The network really wants us. We all want to be there.”

Denton seems more than happy with the job saying they’d have “to drag me out of there feet first”. The problem doesn’t seem to involve the male cast members. In fact, they haven’t even been approached about their contracts yet because the women of the show are the priority. It is called Desperate Housewives, after all.

The problem seems to revolve around – drum roll – money. It seems $400,000 might not be enough for at least three of the main quartet; Felicity Huffman (Lynette Scavo), Eva Longoria (Gabrielle Solis) and Marcia Cross (Bree Van de Kamp). ABC president Paul Lee hinted that contract talks with the female stars was one of several things holding up the works.

Teri Hatcher (Susan Mayer) and Vanessa Williams (Renee Perry) have both reportedly renewed their contracts and from what I can gather, the biggest dispute seems to involve Eva Longoria, who is pushing for a pay rise.

In January, Longoria was forced to close the doors of her shared restaurant, “Kiss”, because of losses, amounting to $76,000, and because of the failure to pay some of the restaurant’s creditors. Apparently, this cost Longoria just over $5 million, so presumably, she’s trying to avoid feeling the pinch.

Although somehow I doubt that, taking into account that there have been 149 episodes of Desperate Housewives broadcasted, as of February of this year, and at $400,000 an episode… You do the math. It’s a lot of cash so I don’t think $5 million would cause many a sleepless night.

This unprecedented quandary looks unlikely to leave us twiddling our thumbs on Tuesday nights though. At least, that’s what everyone’s hoping, including Marc Cherry; “the actresses are still in hot and heavy negotiations, so as of this moment everyone is hopeful and optimistic that we’ll be returning for an eighth season”. He does add, however, that it all depends on if the women sign their new contracts, or not.

It’s pretty much factual to say that the show will end, for good, in 2013 when the contract with ABC terminates, after 9 years on our screens. Cherry (like the rest of us!) is still waiting for the green light to get the 8th series underway, so here’s hoping! By the sounds of it, Cherry isn’t distressed by the situation and just hopes to have the contracts agreed on by the end of February. Let’s be optimistic that things are as they seem and that we won’t be landed with the terrible ordeal of having to find something to do for an hour on a Tuesday, when we would otherwise be watching our favourite highly-strung housewives. A stressful thought, I know.

It probably won’t come to that however, which is most likely a good thing because I don’t think its (almost) 200 million viewers worldwide are quite ready to say goodbye to the drama (and fashion) on Wisteria Lane. In the meantime, season 7 is kicking off tonight on RTE2. So grab your pyjamas and your Ben & Jerry’s and enjoy your first hour back with the girls!

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