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TCA: 'Desperate Housewives' to end

The "for sale" sign just got planted on Wisteria Lane: ABC announced this morning that the eighth season of "Desperate Housewives" would indeed be its last.

The news broke Friday, but nothing's official until it's official, and this is now official. Marc Cherry, the creator and show-runner these last eight years, turned up on stage at the Television Critics Association conference next to ABC Entertainment chief Paul Lee to explain his reasons for ending now.

"The only thing harder than creating a hit show," he said, "is knowing when to end it," reflecting on his earlier declaration that he would wrap it by the 7th season (ABC talked him out of that.)

"This is something that has weighed on my mind for quite a while, but I was always very aware of people overstaying their welcome . . . I didn't want that to happen with ['DH']  and wanted to go out in the classiest way possible," he said.

Cherry said discussions on ending began exactly a year ago, when Lee first stepped into the job. There was a question about 'ending with the eighth or ninth season - Cherry sounded like he woulda been happy with either - but ultimately settled on the eighth as the last.

He says he reached out to the cast on Friday, and connected with about half of 'em; their reaction was "bittersweet [and] a touch of shock."

I guess is that if you wanted to translate that, you could say they weren't thrilled.

Nevertheless, Cherry said they also recognized how lucky they had been to catch this "second wave" in their careers. (Most of the cast had been in hits earlier in their careers, then the long semi-dry spell set it, as it does for so many.)

He said they said: "'We are so grateful we had this experience.' That was the primary color of the final conversations."

 Cherry's been at work developing a new ABC show called "Hallelujah," about  a  town in Tennessee where the forces of good and evil are battling, etc. He said there will not be a "DH" spinoff.

Pictured above: Characters played by Felicity Huffman, left, Eva Longoria, Teri Hatcher and Marcia Cross toast one another in a scene from the ABC show "Desperate Housewives."

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