By Lynette Rice
Updated August 07, 2011 at 04:48 PM EDT

The creator of Desperate Housewives told the nation’s TV critics on Sunday that he wanted the dramedy to end this spring while it was still a viable show for ABC. “I’ve been working in TV for 23 years, and I’ve been very aware of people over staying their welcome,” Marc Cherry said Sunday in Beverly Hills. “Shows go on too long and they are unceremoniously booted off. I didn’t want it to happen to Desperate Housewives. While we are still a force to be reckoned with, I wanted to go off in the classiest way possible.”

Cherry said he’s contacted half of the cast and admitted that some were a bit shocked that he was ending the show after eight years. He had considering going through year nine. “It was actually bittersweet and lovely. The women knew it was a possibility. There was a touch of shock, but not completely, with everyone I spoke to. We can have the whole year to reflect on how lucky we have been.”

The eighth and final season will go back to the show’s roots — the death of Mary Alice — which will provide a natural ending to the series, Cherry explained. He did briefly consider the idea of a spinoff; his joke to co-star Eva Longoria, whom he favors tremendously, was to “put her in a van and solve mysteries.” Ultimately, he nixed the possibility.

“I don’t want to repeat stuff I’ve done,” he said. He’ll now focus on retooling Hallelujah, a drama he has in development for midseason that has a musical element. It’s about a Tennessee town that finds itself being torn apart by forces of good and evil.