'Desperate Housewives' will end its run on ABC
"It is an iconic show," Lee said. "We are so proud of it. I just wanted to make sure that this show that put this network on the map ... had its victory lap, had a chance to really set out every episode and build an arc [in its final season]."
The confirmation comes after rumors of its finish began swirling recently. "Desperate Housewives," created by Marc Cherry, launched on the network in 2004, premiering to more than 20 million viewers. But ratings have since fizzled, with this past season averaging fewer than 12 million viewers.
The upcoming eighth season will be the first without Cherry serving as executive producer; he stepped down to focus on other projects. But the mastermind behind Wisteria Lane appeared before reporters Sunday to offer his sentiments on the series' conclusion:
"I think the only thing harder than creating a great show is knowing when to end it," he said. "It's something that's weighed on my mind for quite a while now."
"I'm very aware of [shows] overstaying their welcome," he added. "I just didn't want that to happen to 'Desperate Housewives.' I wanted to go out as the network still saw us as a viable show and a force to be contended with. ... I wanted to go out in the classiest way possible."
Cherry said discussions on when to end the show began more than a year ago, with talks about doing a season nine, though Cherry said he had had nothing planned story-wise for a ninth season.
When asked about the cast's reaction, Cherry said he's spoken to half of the cast:
"It was bittersweet and lovely," he said. "The women knew it was a possibility. There was a touch of shock but not completely."
Addressing a possible spin-off, Cherry joked that he told Eva Longoria, who plays Gabrielle, "I was going to put you in a van and have you solve mysteries." More seriously, Cherry said he considered doing a spin-off of some sort but decided against it to focus on new and different opportunities.
The eighth season is scheduled to premiere Sept. 25 as a lead-in for the new 1960s-set spy thriller, "Pan Am."
-- Yvonne Villarreal
Photo: From left, Felicity Huffman, Eva Longoria, Teri Hatcher and Marcia Cross in ABC's "Desperate Housewives." Credit: Peter Stone /ABC