Adam Larkey, ABC
ABC's "Desperate Housewives" stars Felicity Huffman, left, Teri Hatcher, Dana Delany, creator/executive producer Marc Cherry, Eva Longoria Parker, Marcia Cross and Nicollette Sheridan.

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — A number of news outlets treated it like Big News when "Desperate Housewives" creator/executive producer Marc Cherry told critics the other day that he plans to end the series after seven seasons.

It wasn't.

Oh, Cherry said it. Sitting in a room full of journalists — some of whom must have been new to the television beat — the ever-quotable writer/ producer said, "I've made the decision that after seven years, I will probably keel over in a hump and die. I love my baby. I love working with these gals, but the idea of letting anyone else take the show from me kind of makes me sad and sick to my stomach.

"I'm going to take it through seven years. And I think we're going to get out while people still like us."

The reason this wasn't Big News is that it wasn't new. It's exactly the same thing Cherry has been saying for years.

Like this, which ran in the Deseret News on Jan. 25, 2007: "I want it to run seven years. And the moment seven years is past, I will personally take down the sets."

If there was anything approaching Big News that came out of what happened during this summer's Television Critics Association press tour, it was this: As Cherry was vowing to shut down "Desperate Housewives" after three more seasons, ABC Entertainment president Stephen McPherson was in the back room loudly repeating, "Not going to happen! Not going to happen!"

And Cherry's response to that: "Of course, this could be some clever ruse on my part to get tremendous amounts of money in Season 8, but who knows?"

Even that's not exactly news, because it's sort of the way things go in Hollywood.

If "Desperate Housewives" is still chugging along in the ratings and if at least a couple of the show's Big Four — Marcia Cross, Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman and Eva Longoria Parker — agree to do an eighth season, there will indeed be an eighth season.

And that will be actual news.

TIME WARP: "Desperate Housewives" did indeed jump ahead five years in the final minutes of May's fourth-season finale, and there's no going back.

Well, almost no going back.

"Basically, we're committed to the five years," Cherry said. "It's not like we're going to be going back in time."

Executive producer Bob Daily clarified that a bit. There will be "some bouncing" but only in brief scenes.

"I think the fun for us and the audience is revealing in dribs and drabs what you missed in that five-year period," Daily said. "Sometimes that will involve flashbacks and sometimes it won't."

Cherry said he looked on the leap as a way to "reset" the show.

"The soap tends to build up, and I wanted to get back to where we were that very first season, where it's just the problems of some ordinary women and they were small and relatable," he said. "And, of course, the ball will start rolling and pick up steam as the year goes on, but I thought it would be a good chance to do something interesting and give everyone some challenges."

THIS SEASON ON "Desperate Housewives," Mike Delfino (James Denton) will continue on the show, even though there's obviously been a breakup with Susan.

"It will be revealed what happened to Mike and Susan, and that's all I'm going to tell you," Cherry said.

• The guy viewers saw Susan kissing in the last moments of May's season finale is not her new husband.

"Gale Harold is playing Susan's new love interest," Cherry said. "He's kind of an interesting, artsy guy who's very much very different from the previous man in her life and will present her with all sorts of new challenges, especially the fact that she kind of doesn't really even want to be in a relationship."

• As previously reported, although Edie (Nicollette Sheridan) was last seen leaving Wisteria Lane, she'll be back five years later. Or just when the show picks up again.

"Edie will come back to Wisteria Lane in a very surprising way," Cherry said. "And we're not telling you anything more than that."

• New cast member Neil McDonough will be central to this year's mystery.

"Neil is going to be moving onto Wisteria Lane," Cherry said. "He will be bringing the mystery with him, and all I'm going to tell you is he has revenge on his mind."

• Andrea Bowen, who plays Julie, Susan's (Hatcher) teenage daughter, is leaving the show. For the most part. She won't be a regular.

"We're going to bring her back and try to come up with stories to bring her back," Cherry said. "She just won't be around as often."

• The gay couple will still be living on Wisteria Lane. And they will have adopted a daughter.

EVA LONGORIA PARKER isn't planning to go shopping for maternity clothes anytime soon.

Cherry was commenting on how his planning for the show can be disrupted when "all of a sudden someone gets pregnant and I have to throw out that idea" — giving Marcia Cross the eye.

But when his attention turned toward Longoria Parker, she quickly blurted out, "Not me!"

CHERRY HAS HAD to deal with tabloid gossip about his stars. Not that he's exactly gotten the hang of it.

He said that when the you-know-what hits the fan, "I completely hide."

"I go, 'Oh ... don't let any of the press talk to me because I don't even know how I feel about this yet,'" he said. "And usually the best way to deal with actors is, you pretend that they're real people and you talk to them."

Which he had to do three years ago when, reportedly, a Vanity Fair photo shoot featuring Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman, Marcia Cross, Eva Longoria and Nicollette Sheridan turned into something of a catfight with egos running rampant.

"The thing that was just so sad was that a writer ... saw it, but from one perspective. And it was so much more complicated and so much more real and understandable," Cherry said. "So, really I ultimately solved it by hugging a sobbing actress for about 30 minutes in her trailer and telling her, 'This, too, shall pass.'

"Because it's not real life. It's showbiz. So you try to always explain to them, 'Yeah, it's controversial now, and people hate you or whatever. But pretty soon they're going to forget you and really attack "Lost."'"

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