'Desperate Housewives' Trial: Producer Testifies Sheridan Was Late for Work '50 Percent of the Time'

Nicollette Sheridan World Oceans Day - P 2012
Getty Images

Nicollette Sheridan World Oceans Day - P 2012

Desperate Housewives executive producer George Perkins returned to the witness stand Friday morning in Nicollette Sheridan's $6 million wrongful-termination lawsuit in Los Angeles and said the actress was late arriving for work about “50 percent of the time” during her five seasons on the show. He also said he had to talk to her “multiple times” each season about not knowing her lines.

Perkins said he discussed the tardiness with Sheridan and that it was clear to him she did it purposefully. “She would often tell me her call time was too early,” Perkins said. “She didn’t think we needed her as early as she was being called."

Under questioning by Sheridan’s attorney, Perkins said he had made a decision not to keep records about when she arrived and that his recollection of her lateness was from his memory.

PHOTOS: TV's Priciest Primetime Shows for Advertisers

Perkins serves as the line producer on Housewives and was the key person in charge of budgets when Sheridan was fired during the fifth season of the ABC series. He said the show was under pressure to trim the budget from season three forward, especially after the WGA strike disrupted season four.

If Sheridan had stayed on the show for season six, her salary would have risen to $200,000 for each of the expected 24 episodes. Memos were shown in court revealing that after it was decided Sheridan's character would be cut, the production reserved $60,000 of what she was to be paid for other hires and treated the remaining $140,000 as weekly savings.

Sheridan is suing Housewives creator Marc Cherry and ABC, claiming that she was fired by the network after complaining about being hit in the head by Cherry in September 2008.

Perkins said that when he advised ABC's human resources department and others about Cherry striking Sheridan on the Housewives set, he considered it a “minor incident.” He said when he spoke to Sheridan, she did say she was hit, and “she was clearly offended.”
During his testimony Thursday, Perkins revealed that Mike Delfino, the character played by James Denton, will be killed off in the March 11 episode of Housewives. When Sheridan’s attorney asked him if he had any more revelations, he said he did not, adding, “I was not happy to be the one” who delivered that spolier.

E-mail: Alex.Benblock@thr.com