Nicollette Sheridan didn’t ask ABC to reprimand “Desperate Housewives” creator Marc Cherry after he allegedly struck her in the head because she feared for her job, the actress’s entertainment attorney testified Tuesday.
“We weren’t looking to ABC Disney to do anything because Nicollette was concerned about retaliation,” Neil Meyer said in Los Angeles Superior Court.
“Marc Cherry had apologized, and she was prepared to put her head down and go back to work. Nicollette was upset, but she was also worried about her job.”
In her $6 million wrongful termination suit, the actress claims that Cherry gave her “a nice wallop” to the left side of her head at a Sept. 24, 2008 rehearsal, and then killed off her character when she complained about the incident.
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Earlier, Meyer had testified that he called ABC business affairs executive Howard Davine after the incident in question and told him that Sheridan was afraid of retribution from Cherry.
Meyer said that he did not respond when Davine sent a letter to Meyer on Dec 5, 2008, informing him that the ABC HR investigation had been concluded and that Sheridan had not been mistreated.
“It felt like a whitewash, so there was no reason to respond,” Meyer said.
After Tuesday’s lunch recess, Meyer was cross-examined by ABC’s lawyer Adam Levin, who compelled Sheridan’s attorney to admit that he would have made “between $100,000 and $200,000” had Sheridan been retained for a sixth season on the show.
Sheridan’s attorney Mark Baute then called Richard Olshansky to the stand as an expert witness. Olshansky was exec vice-president of business affairs at NBC from 2004 to 2009.
Olshansky, who worked with shows including “30 Rock,” “Law and Order” and “Parks and Recreation” at NBC, testified that it was was extremely unusual for a comedy show to kill of a main character.
“It’s virtually unprecedented as far as I can tell, for a lead character in a comedy to be killed off in a show,” Olshansky said.
Olshansky then explained how hard it is for a TV show to even get on the air, saying that for every 100 scripts commissioned, one makes it on the air.
“Once you get something that works, you tend to not want to mess with it,” Olshansky said, and noted that there were other reasons for not killing off a main character.
“The audience tends to form a bond with various characters, so when you take a character off the board,” Olshansky testified, “you are effectively alienating some portion of the audience that you may nor may not be able to get back.”