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TCA: ABC's Lee on 'Desperate' Cancellation: 'We Wanted To Go Out On Top'

ABC confirmed at its presentation at the Television Critics Association press tour Sunday that Desperate Housewives' next season would be its last, a decision that Paul Lee, president of ABC Entertainment Group, said they thought long and hard about.

"We wanted to plan it out and we wanted to give it that hero farewell that a show as iconic as this really deserves," Lee told a group of reporters after the session of deciding to announce the show's end date now.

Lee said Desperate Housewives is still a profitable show, and that ending it was done out of a desire for it to go out on top.

"The only thing harder than creating a hit show is knowing when to end it," creator Marc Cherry said.

Cherry took his time on the stage Sunday to praise former ABC President Steve McPherson, who exited the network just before TCA this time last year. Cherry called McPherson "the only person in town who took a chance on the show" and credited him with saving his career.

Cherry denied speculation of a Desperate spinoff, however, saying that he doesn't want to repeat material he's already done. His next project is Hallelujah, a show with a good vs. evil theme set in a small southern town, which ABC said it is redeveloping for another shot at a series order after the pilot was passed over for pick-up at the upfronts.

The heir apparent to Desperate seems to be GCB (formerly Good Christian Belles), about a recently divorced single mom who returns to Dallas where she grew up. The show is slated for midseason though Lee said he'd like to see it come in "fairly soon," depending on how ABC's September goes.

Lee also reinforced ABC's position as the network of "empowered women," a theme that he sees running through franchise dramas like Desperate and Grey's Anatomy and new entries like Suburgatory and Revenge.

ABC also has several comedies this year from the "man in a woman's world" theme though, including the Tim Allen vehicle Last Man Standing, Man Up and the cross-dressing sitcom Work It.

Lee defended his pick-up of the critically-panned Work It, saying he makes no excuses for ordering something he finds funny. He also took the opportunity to take a jab at those who have criticized the show.

"We didn't think this room would like it and there's some pleasure in that," he said with a laugh.