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ABC nabs suds noir

Scribes connect with 'Desperate' pitch

“Melrose Place” vet Chuck Pratt and comedy scribe Marc Cherry are set to explore the lives of “Desperate Housewives” for ABC and Touchstone Television.

Duo have sold an hourlong sudser to the network based on a spec script they wrote. Deal for the project — a sort of “Knot’s Landing” meets “American Beauty” — is unusual in that nets and studios rarely set up spec projects these days.

ABC and Touchstone have made a hefty script commitment to the project.

“Desperate Housewives” is described as a darkly comic and offbeat serial about the sexy, amoral, insidious, and incredibly secretive lives of the inhabitants of a neighborhood cul-de-sac. Wry commentary is provided by a female narrator, a resident of the cul- de-sac who commits suicide at the beginning of the pilot rather than face the repercussions of her own dark secret.

Touchstone Television prexy Steve McPherson said the script has “such a point of view that it just jumps off the page,” while ABC drama chief Thom Sherman said the script for “Housewives” was “really juicy with a great comic spin on it.”

“I can maybe remember one time we’ve bought a spec script in the time I’ve been here,” Sherman added. “It just doesn’t happen.”

Skein reps a departure for Cherry, who’s best known for his work on laffers such as “The Golden Girls,” “The Five Mrs. Buchanans” and “Some of My Best Friends.”

Pratt is a more experienced sudsmeister, having shepherded such serials as “Melrose Place,” “Models, Inc.” and “Titans.” He’s co-head writer on ABC’s “General Hospital.”

Project was packaged by Paradigm, which reps Pratt and Cherry.

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