Edie leaves 'Desperate Housewives' -- The full story on Nicollette Sheridan's exit from the hit ABC show

By Lynette Rice
Updated February 20, 2009 at 05:00 AM EST

Desperate Housewives

During her five years on Wisteria Lane, Edie Britt has survived a tornado, hanging, icy stares from her neighbors — and annual rumors that she was on her way out. Yet for better or worse, Edie’s alter ego, Nicollette Sheridan, seems used to this job insecurity. At a press event for Desperate Housewives last July, Sheridan told reporters, ”[Creator Marc Cherry] tries to kill Edie every year.” While Cherry quickly interjected that his show’s resident vixen wasn’t going anywhere — ”She’s like a bad boomerang; she just keeps coming back” — this time, the speculation is true. In the coming weeks, the 45-year-old actress will shoot her final scene on the hit series, according to ABC. Sure, Edie ”left” the hood at the end of last season as part of Housewives‘ five-year jump into the future. But her latest impending departure — which will air in April — is for real.

Edie’s unexpected farewell caps a successful but rocky tenure for Sheridan. The actress’ self-absorbed character has stayed one-dimensional since the show’s start in 2004, and with the addition of Dana Delany as Katherine Mayfair in 2007, there’s been less screen time to go around. As a result, Edie has often been pushed to the back burner. It’s no surprise, then, that talk of tension between Sheridan and Cherry has persisted over the years. (Cherry and Sheridan declined to comment; a rep for ABC Studios says: ”Any rumors of on-set tension are ridiculous. This was strictly a creative decision. We love Nicollette and all that she has brought to the character of Edie.”)

Still, at last summer’s press conference, the duo weren’t exactly brimming with goodwill. When Cherry made the crack about Edie’s ability to rebound, Sheridan muttered, ”Very nice. Charmed, I’m sure.” But she admitted that there are advantages to playing a tramp. ”I’ve heard people love my character because she’s audacious,” she said. ”They identify with that and want to be more like her.”

Well, maybe not this season. Edie’s new husband, Dave Williams (Neal McDonough), has turned out to be a rage-aholic loon who plans to punish Mike Delfino (James Denton) for killing his first wife and child in a car accident. It seems likely that Edie, who has grown suspicious of her mentally unstable husband, could die at his hands. (An ABC Studios rep had no comment on a recent report that Edie will also perish in a car accident.) ”Edie is definitely going somewhere,” McDonough tells EW. ”But in the world of Marc Cherry, nothing is permanent.” Says one show insider, ”This is a world of flash-forwards and flashbacks. There’s always a chance we’ll see Edie again.”

Whether or not Sheridan reappears, Housewives — which is averaging 15.5 million viewers — will likely survive the transition just fine. ABC Studios is hoping to secure a renewal for the series through 2013, and seems confident Cherry can continue to keep the series on track creatively. ”Everyone says this has been a renaissance year,” says the insider. ”Marc knows how to keep it fresh.” And sometimes that requires a body bag.

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Desperate Housewives

Eva Longoria Parker, Teri Hatcher, Marcia Cross, and Felicity Huffman star in the soap set on the dangerous Wisteria Lane

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