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Keenan not ‘Desperate’ any more

Writer splits from 'Wives'

Joe Keenan, the former “Frasier” scribe who helped Marc Cherry bring the buzz back to “Desperate Housewives,” is ankling the show after one season.

Industry insiders said Keenan was leaving because he has a desire to work on original material rather than an existing skein. Departure is being described as amicable, but there have also been indications of creative tension between Keenan and Cherry.

Keenan will stay through the end of the current season, which wraps production in a few weeks, and is talking to ABC TV Studio reps about coming back during the summer to help set the stage for the next season of “Housewives.” He may also wind up making an overall deal at a studio, with ABC TV Studio a possible suitor.

Scribe was behind one of the most critically acclaimed episodes of “Desperate Housewives” this season: “Bang,” in which several characters are held hostage in a supermarket by Laurie Metcalf’s character.

Keenan told Daily Variety last month that he’d enjoyed the transition to the hourlong world and that he was “compelled for the first time to think visually as much as verbally.”

At the same time, he said it required an adjustment to adapt to serial writing, noting that stories can’t be broken individually. Instead, with each plot point being led into the next, most large episodes are group written (though Keenan penned “Bang” himself).

“By and large, you’re doing things a little more piecemeal, with credit being rotated,” he said. “It’s not quite the same sense of authorship except in rare instances. And at the end of the day, the higher-ups will be in polishing everything.”

Keenan’s other credits include the late, lamented CBS laffer “Out of Practice,” which he created; he was also behind CBS’ short-lived “Bram & Alice.”

The scribe spent a decade on “Frasier” as well. His feature credits include “Flushed Away.”

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