Desperate housewives3

Uh oh – it’s all over for the ladies of Wisteria Lane!

As you’ve no doubt read online over the last few days, ABC has decided to make the upcoming 8th season of Sunday night hit Desperate Housewives the shows last. But did they make the right decision – or jump the gun a season too soon?

As regular Remote Patrolled readers know I’m a big Desperate Housewives fan and have been from day one. By and large I think the show has maintained its quality but I must admit I did start to get restless last season and found myself fast forwarding through some of the show’s duller storylines (three words – Susan’s kidney saga). But that said I think I was still hoping for an 8th AND 9th season of the show – especially as all the cast members had signed up for two more years in a series of protracted negotiations in the spring. After all the work that went into those deals why did ABC suddenly get such itchy feet?

On the one hand maybe the network are feeling ultra confident about their upcoming Fall line-up. ABC certainly has some promising shows in the hopper which we’re steadily previewing here on the site. Good Christian Belles, Pan Am and The River look especially strong. And of course Modern Family, Dancing With The Stars, Grey’s Anatomy and Castle are still in very good shape.

But on the flipside this has been another tough summer for the network with none of its new unscripted offerings (Expedition Impossible, 101 Ways To Leave A Gameshow and Take The Money And Run) breaking out. Plus I see trouble ahead for new shows like Charlie’s Angels and Revenge and the best stuff – the aforementioned Belles and The River – don’t premiere until 2012. I have a feeling that ABC might soon start to regret their decision a few weeks into the TV season when some of its new offerings start to fall like dominoes.

Sure Desperate Housewives isn’t the ratings force it once was. Season 1 averaged an amazing 23.69 million viewers back in 2004-5. Last season the show was down to 11.85 million. The biggest damage to the franchise was Season 2’s ill thought out Betty Applewhite storyline which wasted the talents of Alfre Woodard on a racially insensitive plot that nobody much liked and dragged down season 1’s stellar ratings. But even at almost 12 million viewers a week that’s still a good result for a show – especially one in its 7th year. Let’s be honest – NOTHING on TV these days gets results above 20 million unless it’s Dancing With The Stars or American Idol. Most of the new crop of shows would be thrilled to hit 11.85 million viewers. Glee and Modern Family, the two biggest hits of the last couple of years, don’t hit those numbers.

That said, given that even I, a die-hard fan, started to lose interest in the Housewives this last season, maybe it is time to call it a day. The ladies have had a good run with some terrific moments and who knows, maybe if the show is ended properly, the girls can always return in TV movie reunions down the line? I just hope the show is wrapped up properly with a strong final season that quiets the critics and boosts the show’s ratings. And let’s just hope one of this year’s freshmen crop can fill my Sunday night soap void!

But what do you think? Did ABC pulled the plug too soon? Could Housewives have sustained two more seasons? And if you gave up on the show – when did you stop watching, and why?