Former Desperate Housewives writer claims staff ‘avoided eye contact’ with Teri Hatcher

A former writer on Desperate Housewives has claimed that crew “avoided” Teri Hatcher under a “wildly inefficient system” led by showrunner Marc Cherry.

Patty Lin was a Hollywood screenwriter for over a decade, with credits on shows including Freaks and Geeks, Friends and Breaking Bad.

She retired from the industry in 2009 and has recently released a memoir about her wide-ranging experiences in the field (Tuesday 29 August), titled End Credits: How I Broke Up with Hollywood.

In one chapter, titled “Lord of the Housewives”, Lin shared her experiences on set of Desperate Housewives, the acclaimed comedic drama about the mysterious lives of the neighbours of Wisteria Lane.

Despite being the recipient of several prestigious writing award nominations (Writers’ Guild of America and Primetime Emmys), Desperate Housewives developed a chaotic atmosphere among its writers, Lin claimed.

“Every scene was written hastily by a different person,” she wrote. “Marc [Cherry] would barely be involved in the first few drafts, but once the script was in semi-decent shape, he’d take it from us, climb into a golf cart, and drive off to his writing bungalow to do a pass.

“When they managed to wrench the scripts from his hands, it would get turned over to production, usually just before the table read and sometimes just before the first day of shooting,” she added.

“With this wildly inefficient system, it’s a miracle that any episodes of Desperate Housewives ever got made.”

Eva Longoria, Felicity Huffman, Marcia Cross and Teri Hatcher on Desperate Housewives (ABC)
Eva Longoria, Felicity Huffman, Marcia Cross and Teri Hatcher on Desperate Housewives (ABC)

Lin also shared her memories of having limited contact with cast members as a part of the writing staff.

She wrote: “Usually, we'd see the cast only at table reads where we'd sit quietly at the back and try not to make eye contact with Teri Hatcher.”

The Independent has contacted representatives of Marc Cherry and Teri Hatcher for comment.

Hatcher has previously fielded claims of difficult behaviour on the set of the ABC programme, in which she played illustrator and (occasional) single mother Susan Mayer.

In a 2013 interview with The Daily Mail, Hatcher denied claims she had a difficult relationship with the show’s crew after her cast mates Marcia Cross (Bree van de Kamp), Eva Longoria (Gabrielle Solis) and Felicity Huffman (Lynette Scavo) reportedly sent them a farewell gift of luggage without involving Hatcher.

Teri Hatcher (Getty Images for The American Heart Association)
Teri Hatcher (Getty Images for The American Heart Association)

“That crew knows I’d have jumped in front of a bus for them at any moment,” she told the publication.

“I was beyond generous throughout those eight years and any crew member will tell you that, so it doesn’t matter what anybody writes. I don’t really know who gave or did what. I know what I did, and I can look in the mirror at myself in a good way about the people I worked with and how much respect I had for them.”

The late Kathryn Joosten, who played the curmudgeonly Mrs McCluskey on the series, also expressed some views on the dynamic between the main cast and others on set.

“In terms of their friendliness, [the cast were] friendly when you're right in their face,” she noted, before offering some praise to Hatcher for her conduct.

“Out of all of them, Teri was probably the friendliest to me. When I threw that Christmas-birthday party for the crew, Teri's the only one that contributed, and I thought that was very nice of her. She made a very nice contribution.”

End Credits: How I Broke Up with Hollywood by Patty Lin is out now.