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More Housewives in Marc Cherry Show, But They’re a Different Kind of Desperate

Why Women Kill, a new drama from Marc Cherry, begins on CBS All Access Aug. 15. Lucy Liu, Ginnifer Goodwin and Kirby Howell-Baptiste play three wives in three different eras--’60s, ‘80s and present day. They live in the same Pasadena home, at different times, and each one deals with a philandering husband.

Cherry, who created Desperate Housewives years after his time on Golden Girls, said the show examines how the three wives’ reactions to their predicaments is based on the time they live in. “It suddenly occurred to me that so much of how we behave, so much of our expectations for happiness, are based on the era in which we live,” he said at TCA Press Tour. “We are told by popular culture and the rules of the day what should make us happy, and I suddenly became kind of entranced with comparing three decades of three women, three marriages, and all dealing with the exact same problem, and their reactions to it would be based on the decade in which they lived.”

Cherry is getting a kick out of doing a show for a streaming network. “I’ve been having so much fun using the word ‘f---,’” he quipped. “I’m like a five-year-old.”

Streaming offers more creativity than broadcast, he suggested. “To get the freedom of time, more time, more money, less episodes, it leads to a different kind of storytelling, a richer kind of storytelling,” he said.

A New York Times reporter asked Cherry about former Desperate Housewives star Felicity Huffman, who pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a college admissions scandal that involved Huffman’s daughter and compromised SAT scores. His publicist cut them off, saying they want to stick to Why Women Kill.

But Cherry, to his credit, answered the question. “It’s a punch to the gut to find out that someone you love is involved in any kind of scandal,” he said. “If it seems like all of Hollywood is rooting for Felicity, it’s because she spent her entire career being kind and professional, and I am part of the community that adores her and prays for this whole time in her life to be over.”

CBS All Access is on board for ten episodes. If Why Women Kill moves onto a second season, it will be a new story and new cast.

Cherry said his knack for writing for female characters started on Golden Girls. At Press Tour, he spoke about his father traveling a ton for work and him spending a lot of time with his mother as a boy.

Mom would have friends over, and Cherry would listen to them chat. “I'd get a big thing of Legos, and I'd be behind the sofa, just playing,” he said. “She was trying to keep me out of trouble. And I would listen to her conversations and how she would talk to her friends and the things they would talk about. And I was just always so fascinated.”

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.