The ladies of Wisteria Lane might want to call in the moving vans. ABC and the producers behind long-running Sunday-night soap Desperate Housewives could decide in a few weeks if the show's upcoming eighth season will be its last.
Creator Marc Cherry and executive producer Bob Daily are both signed to remain with the series through the season, as well as a potential ninth season. But rumblings have started that the producers and network may decide to go out with a bang this year rather than stretch things. Nothing's been decided yet, but ABC knows the question will be a key one when the network meets with reporters on August 7 at the Television Critics Association's summer press tour. That's why some insiders believe a decision could be made by then.
Others, however, think ABC may wait until September to see how its new shows perform, and if Desperate Housewives sees another ratings drop. "It's all dependent on the ratings," says one insider. "It will be up against some stiff competition."
Not only will Housewives compete against CBS' The Good Wife this fall, it also regularly faces Sunday Night Football on NBC (should the NFL season resume as hoped) and key
programming on cable. Housewives was the 24th most-watched prime-time show among broadcast networks last season, but has lost about half of its audience from Season 1.
But should ABC fail to cultivate a new hit, the network may find it hard to resist squeezing out one more year from Housewives. ABC has an option to bring back stars Marcia Cross, Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman and Eva Longoria for the 2012-2013 season. Cherry has toyed with the Housewives' finale date in the past, and originally planned to end the show after its seventh season. Reports an insider, "The thought is out there, but it's still too early to say."
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