'Desperate Housewives' end date is 'in negotiation'

marc-cherry-getty-320.jpg "Desperate Housewives" doesn't have a firm end date yet. It could in the relatively near future, though.

Creator Marc Cherry says that he can see the series lasting a couple more seasons, "but I don't want to try and match 'Gunsmoke's' record."

"It's in negotiation -- that's all I can tell you," Cherry says of an end date for "Housewives." "ABC is talking to people. ... There are meetings going on with agents and stuff, but we're just kind of here doing our work."

Cherry has talked in the past about wanting to end the show after seven seasons; he later struck a deal to stay with the show through a ninth year, when his current deal with ABC Studios expires. (There have also been rumblings that the show might end after next season.)

He also says he hopes to keep the show's principal cast of Marcia Cross, Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman and Eva Longoria Parker together until the end.

"That to me is absolutely the optimum," Cherry says. "I'm aware that it's very tricky to take beloved cast members [out of a show] when the premise of the show is it's an ensemble. ... So while I'm mindful that my gals have other careers going on, and they're starting families and doing stuff like that -- that they might have other interests that might take them away -- my goal, and I'm going to work really hard, is to try to keep the core group together to the bitter end. I think that would be a lovely way to end the show."

Season 7 of "Desperate Housewives" is set to premiere on Sunday, Sept. 26.

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