And bosses at the U.S. network are now prepared for a double exit with co-star Felicity Huffman following Hatcher out of the show. "Teri has given in her notice and is making active preparations to move on," the Daily Mail quoted a TV insider as saying.
"She has another production deal in the pipeline and she is in the early stages of developing a sitcom that she wants to start work on immediately after she finishes Desperate Housewives - she wants a new show in time for the mid-January pilot season," the insider said.
But while bosses are keen to keep the hit show running for at least two more seasons, insiders say the drama, set on the fictional suburban street Wisteria Lane, won't work without Hatcher, meaning that the next season will be the last.
The show's creator, Marc Cherry, signed a deal with ABC Studios last October which gave the show a stay of execution for two years providing that its leading cast members, including Hatcher, Eva Longoria Parker and Felicity Huffman, remained happily onboard. But all three will be out of contract after the next season.
"ABC hasn't announced its schedule yet because the future of the series is up in the air," the source said. "Some of the crew are disappointed in Teri, they feel like she is abandoning the show that revived her career. Desperate Housewives can't really continue without Teri or Felicity because they need the original stars to pull in the ratings."
"Teri has been inspired by the success of people like Courteney Cox, who walked away from Friends and bagged her own prime-time show, Cougar Town. She says she had an amazing run on the show but feels it is time to move on to a project that she has more control over," the source added.
Meanwhile a spokesperson for ABC said: "We are working on the next season at the moment and we haven't got anything to say about the one after."
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