ABC adds trio to ‘Housewives’ cast

Strong, Culp, Metcalfe will join alphabet drama

Three new actors have joined the “Desperate Housewives” cul-de-sac, including Brenda Strong (“Party of Five”), who’s taking over the role originally filled by Sheryl Lee.

Also added to the ABC drama’s cast are Steven Culp (“Thirteen Days”), who will play Rex VanDeKamp, and Jesse Metcalfe (“Passions”), who has been tapped to appear as John the gardener.

Culp replaces original thesp Michael Reilly Burke, while Metcalfe’s role was originally held by Kyle Searles.

Strong stars as Mary Alice, who sets the tone for the show by committing suicide at the start of the series. The actress will appear as a guest star in the pilot but continue as a narrator on the show, as her character comments from beyond the grave on the family and neighbors she left behind.

Strong’s credits include “The Help,” “Sports Night,” “Seinfeld” and “Everwood” — in which, coincidentally, her character also appeared at the start of the pilot before tragically dying, setting up the premise for the WB drama.

As for Culp, the actor has had a recurring role on “JAG” and appeared on “The West Wing,” “24” and “The Practice,” among other shows. He’ll next star in indie pic “The Sisters.”

Metcalfe’s other credits include “Smallville.”Producers plan to reshoot scenes from the pilot featuring the three new castmembers. “Desperate Housewives,” which comes from Touchstone TV, airs Sundays at 9 this fall.

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