Drama abounds as TV star’s wrongful termination trial plays out

Many actors and actresses have a flair for the dramatic — after all, that’s why they’re in show business. Nicollette Sheridan, however, may have taken it to a new level in her wrongful termination trial going on now in Los Angeles, California. Sheridan slapped her attorney during her testimony this week to demonstrate how the creator of her former show “Desperate Housewives” allegedly hit her during a run-in shortly before she was written off the show.

Sheridan is suing the show and ABC, the network that airs “Desperate Housewives,” for killing off her character and ending her time on the show prematurely. The jury in the case will have to decide if the sequence of events amounted to a creative decision made to help keep the show interesting, or a form of illegal retaliation in the workplace.

A defense lawyer says the show has been known over the years for its over-the-top scenarios and outrageous plot twists, and that the death of Sheridan’s character Edie Britt was just a part of that strategy. In fact, the defense team says, the show’s creative team had toyed with the idea of offing the character before the slapping incident.

Sheridan, however, contends that her complaints to the show’s producers over the slap — which she said was shocking and demeaning — led to her character being written out of the show by crashing a car into a tree and being electrocuted thanks to a fallen power line.

Unlike many employees who are terminated, however, Sheridan is still profiting from the show: She still receives royalties from it, even the seasons after her character’s demise in which she doesn’t appear.

Source: CNN, “‘Housewives’ star Sheridan says slap from show’s creator was ‘humiliating’,” Alan Duke, Mar. 2, 2012

FindLaw Network