will bid farewell to one of its signature shows next spring when "Desperate Housewives
" ends its eight-season run.
The "Desperate Housewives" conclusion was leaked late last week, but was formally announced to reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour on Sunday (Aug. 6) morning, with ABC Entertainment President Paul Lee and series creator Marc Cherry on-hand.
"I think the only thing harder than creating a hit show is knowing when to end it," Cherry told reporters.
He added, "I wanted to go out while the network still saw us as a viable show, while we were still doing well in the ratings, while we were still a force to contend with."
"Desperate Housewives" premiered on ABC in 2004 and picked up a slew of Emmy Awards the following year, including wins for co-star Felicity Huffman and a nomination for Outstanding Comedy Series. The comedic soap opera was an instant ratings sensation, drawing 21.6 million viewers for its premiere and pulling in more than 30 million viewers for its shocking first season finale.
Although "Desperate Housewives" no longer dominates its Sunday time slot and its Emmy fortunes have never returned to Season One levels, the series remains a solid performer for ABC, but there had been several years of rumors that an end date was coming.
"We decided that this was the right time and I feel so good about it," Cherry insisted.
Cherry isn't exactly planning on a long vacation. He's in the process of redeveloping his pilot "Hallelujah," which ABC opted not to order back in May, but which still holds interest for all parties.
Of the eighth and final season, Cherry promise, "The mystery of what's going on this season harkens back to the first season."
The plan is to make the final season accessible to both longtime fans and returning viewers. Of the season, ABC teases: "Carlos’s murder of Gaby’s evil stepfather and the cover up by Susan, Gaby, Bree and Lynette has far reaching effects. Feelings of guilt begin to overcome everyone in different ways. Susan starts to withdraw from her friends and family, and Gaby works to reach out to Carlos while his guilt weighs heavily upon him. As Lynette and Tom are grappling with their disintegrating marriage and impending separation, Lynette is having trouble making the right choices ever since she participated in the cover-up. And Bree must be especially careful around her new love, Detective Chuck Vance. Meanwhile a new sexy neighbor moves to town, Ben Faulkner, and he's Renee's first order of business."
ABC has yet to set an official finale date, but it will presumably be in May 2012.