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'Desperate' trial is a real-life soap

Former star Nicollette Sheridan’s accusations of violence against creator Marc Cherry were just the beginning of the story

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As Desperate Housewives heads toward the great TV graveyard in the sky, the show’s soapiest story lines have shifted from Wisteria Lane to the Stanley Mosk Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles. That’s where a nasty battle is unfolding between Nicollette Sheridan and her former boss, series creator Marc Cherry. Sheridan — whose character, the man-eating Edie Britt, was killed off in season 5 — is seeking $6 million for battery and wrongful termination, claiming she was written off the show after complaining about an on-set altercation with Cherry on Sept. 24, 2008. ”Mr. Cherry stepped towards me, and he took his right hand and he hit me upside the head,” Sheridan told the court March 1, recalling the dispute over a line of dialogue. ”I was stunned. I couldn’t believe that he’d just hit me.” Cherry took the stand March 5, admitting that he ”tapped her head,” but insisting that he’d approached ABC executives about dispatching Sheridan’s character in May 2008, four months before the on-set skirmish. (Cherry’s attorneys also pointed out that Sheridan was never officially a series lead, and showed a seven-minute video of 48 deaths in the history of Housewives — now in its eighth, and final, season — illustrating that shootings, stabbings, and car crashes are de rigueur on the suburban street.) With the trial expected to drag on until March 12, this he-said/she-said case could ultimately come down to whom the jury finds more credible. Cherry, at least, has a few well-known character witnesses in his corner: Eva Longoria, Felicity Huffman, and Marcia Cross are all listed as possible witnesses for the defense.

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