For years, it’s felt like the juiciest Desperate Housewives drama has probably been playing out behind the scenes, and the recent trial pitting Nicollette Sheridan against showrunner Marc Cherry confirmed it. The case ended yesterday with a declared mistrial, which seems apt because after all the testimony, nobody on the show came out a winner: Among all the accusations flung back and forth between Sheridan and Cherry, dirt was spilled on the other actors, who suffered collateral damage. Here’s a roundup of the weirdest and most revealing tidbits that came to light about each Housewives mainstay, all of whom must be dreading the potential of a second trial.
Sheridan was often late to work because she felt she wasn’t needed as early as she was being called in, executive producer George Perkins testified. Unprofessional behavior? Perhaps, though Perkins then admitted that Marcia Cross is late to work 25 percent of the time, too.
During the first season, Cherry testified, he was called to set to handle a blowup between Sheridan and Teri Hatcher. “Nicollette pulled me aside and told me that Teri Hatcher was the meanest woman in the world because of how she was acting,” Cherry said. Not that he was partial to either woman: Perkins confirmed that Hatcher’s Susan was among the characters Cherry considered killing in season five before settling on Sheridan’s Edie Britt.
Surely Felicity Huffman came out of the trial smelling like a rose? Well, not quite: Cherry said that at a party for the show’s 100th episode, Huffman and Longoria came to him and revealed that Sheridan had asked both women if they’d be amenable to negotiating as a group when their contracts were up. It was then that Cherry told them that Sheridan was getting killed off, two months before Sheridan herself found out. Huffman and Longoria, said Cherry, were “relieved.”
Sheridan wasn’t the only actress that Cherry got physical with: He testified that when he’s on set, he will often pick up the diminutive Eva Longoria and place her wherever she needs to be standing for the scene. Presumably, she is ambulatory and can walk to her mark herself, but Cherry is just that hands-on.
Ricardo Antonio Chavira
“He has [also] taken Ricardo Chavira’s face into his hands to show Eva how to kiss him,” tweeted Daily Beast trial correspondent Maria Elena Fernandez, adding helpfully, “I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP.”
McDonough played Sheridan’s husband during the fifth season, and Sheridan testified that the actor was firmly on her side: Though he wasn’t present when Cherry struck Sheridan, he told her later that if he had seen it happen, he would have hit Cherry back for her.
The only actor aside from Sheridan to testify at the trial, Denton was described as “uncomfortable” on the stand, and his presence there revealed a significantly spoilery plotline: Denton, too, was about to be killed off the show, in a suspiciously well-timed exit that would off a character nearly as significant as Sheridan’s once was. “A reporter told me that when James Denton stepped outside courtroom the other day, he yelled SHIT!” wrote Fernandez. “That guy looked so tortured.”