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'Housewives' trial: Defense tries to paint Sheridan as difficult actress

March 2, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Actress Nicollette Sheridan faced a battery of questions on Friday as she pressed forward with her lawsuit against "Desperate Housewives" creator Marc Cherry.

Sheridan claims that Cherry lost his temper and allegedly hit her after she complained about the lines in a scene, and later killed off her character, Edie Brit, in retaliation.

"I am grateful to have my day in court," Sheridan said outside the courtroom.

But inside, she was visibly agitated on the stand. The defense pursued her in questioning, suggesting that she was difficult, pestering the big boss for better lines. Sheridan said she was just trying to make the show funnier. In an attempt to dispute Sheirdan's retaliation claims, Cherry's attorney's showed a montage of clips from the show in which 47 other characters were shot, whacked, or stricken with a fatal heart attack.

Cherry and Touchstone Pictures contend that Sheridan had a recurring role in the show but that she was not contracted as a series regular. Under questioning by defense attorneys, Sheridan acknowledged that the main women on the show received awards or nominations for best lead actress. But Sheridan received only one nomination, for best supporting actress.

While the defense spent 12 minutes questioning Sheridan about the degree of the alleged battery, Sheridan's attorney, Marc Baute, maintains there is no difference between a hit and a slap under the law, saying "a hit is a hit."

The defense declined comment Friday but said they look forward to Cherry's testimony.

"We believe strongly in the merits of the case and we're looking forward to an airing of the evidence," said Cherry's attorney, Mark Levin.

Cherry said he "lightly tapped her [Sheridan's] head in giving her direction for a scene." His defense team showed the jury a scene Sheridan shot after her continued demands for a better line in the dialogue and after the confrontation.

Sheridan's attorney said a request for script changes is part of the business.

"Your collaborative goal is to improve the show, the women on the show should not be conditioned to be afraid to raise that view point and share that viewpoint at the risk of getting hit in the face," Baute said.

Next week, both sides will bring in experts. Sheridan's witness will say producers never kill off key characters, Cherry's expert is expected to say just the opposite.

Disney is the parent company of ABC7 and Touchstone Television Productions.