August 30, 2011 1:45pm PT by Jethro Nededog
'Desperate Housewives' EP Talks Final Season, Cast Negotiations, and What's Next
Even as the writers and producers of Desperate Housewives were plotting out Season 8, executive producer Bob Daily tells The Hollywood Reporter that the possibility of it being the final season was always in the back of their heads.
“We really didn’t have to do a lot of retrofitting,” Daily, who has worked on the show since 2006, tells THR. “We were kind of prepared for that possibility. So, there’s no lost season out there, nothing to save for the DVD release.”
There may not be a “lost season” of the series, but there are a lot of questions as to what went into the decision to end the series after next season. When we spoke to Daily, he told us a bit of what went down behind the scenes, their approach for the final season, gave us his take on the cast negotiations that took place earlier this year, and tells us what lies ahead for him after Desperate Housewives.
The Hollywood Reporter: What insight can you give us on the conversation to end with Season 8?
Bob Daily: I think the headline on that is really just wanting to go out on our own terms, having time to sort of set up the sort of finale that we think the fans who have stuck with the show really deserve. So, all those factors came into play. I think [creator Marc Cherry] felt very strongly that let’s dictate our own terms rather than being yanked off the stage kicking and screaming. So, I think that was the primary consideration.
THR: Was there any push back on that decision or cons to ending the series?
Daily: Well, of course, the cons of us losing our employment. I’m going to be honest. I did not hear substantial [arguments against the decision]. I think a lot of people were sad. You know, people who have been here for eight years and look at this as their second family. I think it was a tough decision for them. But, I think people realize creatively that it’s a good thing.
THR: What’s the M.O. for the final season?
Daily: We’re kind of just diving into the DNA of the series a little bit. Are there any unanswered questions floating around out there? Any characters we need to check in with one more time.
THR: Going into the final season, is there anything you wish you could have done differently on previous years?
Daily: Any do-overs we’d like to have? I’ve never worked on a TV show where you didn’t look back and go, ‘Eh, that may not be our finest hour.’ But, I don’t really think there’s anything that we strongly regret. I think that we’re very happy about the way things have gone. Without going into specifics, it’s just the nature of series television, ‘I wish I had another crack at that. I wish we had another week on that episode,’ because we have to feed the beast on a new script every eight days. That can be challenging at times. For the most part, I think we’re very happy with the way things have gone. It’s one of the reasons why the decision was made to move on, ‘You know what? We’re doing well. We’re holding strong. Let’s quit while we’re ahead.’
THR: When the decision was made, did you all need to scrap storylines that were already planned for next season?
Daily: Honestly, the idea was sort of floating around out there. We were always imagining in the back of our heads that everything we do can be adapted to fit if the decision was made. It was ultimately not our decision. So, we were kind of waiting for the network and the studio to make the final call.
THR: Before the announcement on the last season, there was lots of interest in the cast negotiations. Was there something that you learned from dealing with an ensemble cast as far as that was concerned that you’ll bring with you to future projects?
Daily: I begrudge no one their right to get as much money as possible. I tried to get as much money as I could when I negotiated my deal. It is more difficult with an ensemble cast than it is with a single lead. You’re dealing with more voices there. But, I love writing for an ensemble show and I don’t think that I would shy away from it for that reason. The fun thing about writing for the show is that you get to write for so many voices, so many different types of characters. You know, Marc Cherry established a great range of character types. If being held up on negotiations are a result of that, I would take that. It’s not my money, so I don’t think that will affect what I do in the future. Actually given what they could have been, the contract negotiations went pretty smoothly. I think the women were very smart. They kind of kept the details out of the press as much as possible. I’ve seen a lot uglier.
THR: There was an announcement earlier this year that you would be taking more control of the show while Marc Cherry worked on development. Has that changed now that this is the last season?
Daily: Marc always has and will always have creative oversight of the show. And so that won’t change. But, I do think yes, absolutely, especially toward the end as things wrap up, but I’ve always viewed that I’m the guardian of Marc’s child. He will always have the right and ability to come in and do that. As it gets toward the end, I think he’ll have strong feelings about coming in and making sure the show gets the sendoff it deserves and he’ll definitely want to be involved in that.
THR: What’s next for you after Desperate Housewives?
Daily: When the show goes off the air, I have a year of development with ABC and Disney, so I’m looking forward to that and trying to get my own show on the air.
The final season of Desperate Housewives premieres Sept. 25 on ABC.
Email: Jethro.Nededog@thr.com; Twitter: @TheRealJethro