'Housewives' could remain onair through 2013

Marc Cherry has sealed a new deal that could keep “Desperate Housewives” on the air through 2013.

As part of a two-year extension Cherry signed with ABC Studios, Cherry will remain exec producer of “Housewives” for an eighth and ninth season. (The skein is currently in its sixth year.)

Whether or not “Housewives” continues until then will now depend on the show’s core cast members, who are only committed through the 2010-11 season, the show’s seventh.

Also signing a two-year extension with ABC Studios is Cherry’s top “Housewives” lieutenant, Bob Daily, who will also now remain with the show through those potential eighth and ninth years.

Daily will continue to take a more active role in running the show, particularly as Cherry ramps up his development at the studio. Should one of Cherry’s new projects go to series, the studio noted that Daily’s role would be “critical” in keeping day-to-day operations at “Housewives” running smoothly.

Cherry now has two projects in the works for the Alphabet, including a drama he’s writing with “Housewives” exec producer Alexandra Cunningham. The two of them will exec produce along with another “Housewives” exec producer, Sabrina Wind.

As for the other project, Cherry is working with scribes Jeffrey Bowen and Hunter Bell (both of whom will write) on a multicamera comedy about two mismatched brothers. One sibling is gay, one straight, and the two share a gynecological practice — but neither knows the first thing about women.

Also attached to the laffer are Wind and Michael Barresse.

Cherry “has been such a special part of the network,” said ABC Entertainment Group topper Steve McPherson. “For me it’s been an amazing collaboration. It’s wonderful to know that he’ll be around. The new stuff that he’s already working on is a huge priority for us.”

Daily, meanwhile, will also start developing projects for the Alphabet while focusing on his “Housewives” duties.

“Bob’s such a huge part of ‘Desperate Housewives’ and is such an extraordinary partner for Marc,” McPherson said. “It was extremely important for the network, the studio and for Marc that we secure this relationship with Bob.”

Pact with Cherry has been in the works for several months. Cherry had originally hinted that he might end the show sooner, after seven seasons (when his deal was originally up).

But at a cake-cutting ceremony for the show’s 100th episode last December, the exec producer let it slip that he had talked to the Alphabet brass about continuing through season nine.

“Desperate Housewives” remains a strong performer for ABC, clocking in as Sunday’s most-watched entertainment program all five weeks it has been on the air so far this season. “Housewives” is also one of Disney’s top DVD franchises and has been sold in more than 220 territories around the globe. Local versions of the show have also been launched in several markets.

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