The Desperate Housewives drama is about to transfer from Wisteria Lane to the courtroom: Today marks the first day of Nicollette Sheridan’s wrongful termination trial against ABC and Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry. The dispute dates back to April 2010, when the actress filed a lawsuit against Cherry for assault and battery, gender violence, wrongful termination, and “intentional infliction of emotional distress,” claiming the series creator had fired her after she had complained about his “demeaning” and “unprofessional” behavior. (Sheridan’s character, Edie Britt, was killed off in the series’ fifth season.) Later that year, Sheridan dropped the assault and battery charges, but still pursued wrongful termination charges, while workers compensation lawyers for Cherry claimed that he had decided to kill off Edie months before their argument for cost-cutting purposes.
According to reports, some testifying on behalf of Sheridan are former ABC president Steve McPherson, ABC studio executive Mark Pedowitz, and a former Desperate Housewives producer Lori Kirkland Baker. The defense is expected to call, among others, Cherry, Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman, Eva Longoria, Marcia Cross, and Law & Order: SVU producer Neal Baer to the stand. In court papers, ABC said of Sheridan’s termination: “Death is as much a part of scripted television as it is a part of life … Of course, whenever a character dies, an actor loses a job. That is what happened here.”