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Nicollette Sheridan sues 'Housewives' creator Marc Cherry for $20M, alleges assault

April 5, 2010 |  7:43 pm

Nicollette Actress Nicollette Sheridan, whose "Desperate Housewives" character was killed off in early 2009, is suing the show's creator for more than $20 million, alleging assault and battery, gender violence and wrongful termination, TMZ and others report.

Sheridan alleges that on Sept. 24, 2008, after she questioned something in a script, Marc Cherry took her aside and "forcefully hit her with his hand across the face and head," according to People, then fired her a few months later in retaliation for complaining about him.

She says she'd gone to ABC about the incident but that no action was taken. 

“While we have yet to see the actual complaint, we investigated similar claims made by Ms. Sheridan last year and found them to be without merit," ABC Studios said Monday.

The suit paints a picture of Cherry as someone who'd turn hostile of his authority when questioned, EW.com reports -- and it also may shine a different light on quotes from Sheridan and Cherry that were highlighted on our Show Tracker blog in April 2009.

Marc cherry A Los Angeles Times interview with Sheridan around the time of her character's sudden and violent death fell through without explanation, according to writer Denise Martin. Edie Britt died in the Cherry-penned episode "Look Into Their Eyes and See What They Know."

From Martin's post April 15, 2009:

Turns out Sheridan ran her mouth off to TV Guide, and her reps were doing preemptive damage control.

In the magazine's latest issue, the actress said in no uncertain terms that "Housewives" had lost its mojo: “When the show started it was such a different beast. It was exciting and dangerous and funny and edgy and bizarre. [Then] it started feeling a little complacent, and that was very frustrating.” Sheridan also complained that Edie never got enough attention from the writers. “When you have a jewel, why not polish it and put it out there for all to see?” she said.

Cherry, of course, had a different take, telling the magazine that Edie had run her course: "Edie's already slept with most of the guys on the street and has caused about as many problems as she could." Then he struck where we're sure it hurt: "We will find a new kind of sexiness coming through Wisteria Lane. What I won’t do is cast another fortysomething sexy blonde. [Sheridan] performed the aging neighborhood tramp better than anyone has ever done before.”

Make of it what you will -- the court, of course, will decide.

-- Christie D'Zurilla

[For the record, 8:32 p.m.: The headline on an earlier version of this post misspelled Nicollette Sheridan's first name as Nicolette. And that ticks us off, because we know better./cdz]

Photos: Nicollette Sheridan, top, at the 15th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles on Jan. 25, 2009. Above right, Marc Cherry in September 2004 on the set of "Desperate Housewives" in Universal City. Credits: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times, top; Kevork Djansezian / Associated Press, right.

Lots of stars get their day in court, or close to it. Click here and scroll down for more celebrity justice dispatches.

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