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'Desperate Housewives' Finale: What's Next for the Women of Wisteria Lane?

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May 12, 2012 | 8:52am EDT

Desperate HousewivesIt seemed like this day would never come, even though Desperate Housewives fans have had almost a year to prepare. After May 13's two-hour, two-part finale, the streetlights on Wisteria Lane will go dim and the housewives will roll up their welcome mats.

Stars Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman, Marcia Cross, and  Eva Longoria will finish out the series without the original “fifth Housewife” Nicollette Sheridan, whose character was killed off in Season 5 and whose beef with creator Marc Cherry and ABC continued to be the subject of a very public lawsuit until recently. The main four women have seen their careers blossom thanks to the show and new fifth housewife Vanessa Williams saw a notch added to already well established career when she joined the cast in 2010. But the big question is: What now? None of these ladies are in as high demand as when Housewives was a pop culture phenomenon, watched by over 20 million people a week. So are they suddenly jobless? Not quite. The lead actresses have shrewdly been lining up post-Housewives gigs for some time now. Well, at least some of them have…

Teri Hatcher (Susan Delfino, nee Mayer)

Aside from being name-dropped (as “the meanest woman in the world”) in the aforementioned Sheridan vs.Cherry/ABC lawsuit, Hatcher hasn’t really been in the headlines at all — even her love life, or lack thereof, hasn’t surfaced much. And then, just a couple weeks ago, wouldn’t you know it, she finally booked her first post-Housewives job: A four-episode arc on ABC Family’s fashion-y dramedy series Jane by Design, on which she’ll also make her directorial debut. The premiere is June 5, and the Hatcher episode airs June 19 — meaning fans will only be Hatcherless for about a month after Housewives ends. Although, such fans might be in for in for a lengthy period without the actress after that, as she hasn’t announced any further plans.

Felicity Huffman (Lynette Scavo)
The only Oscar-nominated (for her amazing performance in 2005’s Transamerica) full-time resident of Wisteria Lane has just one concrete post-Housewives project currently lined up, but it’s quite a special one: her husband (and recent co-Hollywood Walk of Fame honoree) William H. Macy's feature directorial debut, Rudderless. Although the movie isn’t their first together — they both starred in Paul Thomas Anderson’s MagnoliaRudderless does mark the couple’s debut as co-leads, which is a testament to just how far Huffman's star power has risen. Of course, she's always possessed  great talent, no matter how much fame accompanied it. Aside from Rudderless, Huffman is said to be developing a TNT series and was once attached to David Mamet’s next big-screen adaptation, but both projects appear dormant at the moment.

Marcia Cross (Bree Van De Kamp)
After her second TV megahit (the early ‘90s Fox soap Melrose Place being the first), Cross seems the most content to take some substantial time off and plot her next move — if there is one. And who could blame her? Cross has literally been on a TV show or in a movie every year since 1984! While we doubt she’ll completely put an end to that streak and take off all of 2013, it’ll likely be a while before we see Cross again.

Eva Longoria (Gabrielle Solis)
The least-known Housewife pre-2004 is unquestionably the most famous of the bunch today (she was also the highest-paid TV actress last year) — and the one we’d have to vote Most Likely to Succeed After Desperate Housewives. While we’ll still be seeing plenty of Longoria on the covers of magazines, we’ll also see a lot of her in character on the big screen: In 2012 alone, she’ll appear in the drama Long Time Gone, the action comedy The Baytown Disco, and the thriller The Truth, alongside Forest Whitaker and Andy Garcia. Separately (i.e., without firm release dates), there’s the canine comedy Who Gets the Dog, the Brendan Fraser-starring historical drama Four Kings, and the animated Hulu series Child Support, on which she’ll voice the “female Peter Griffin”-like lead. So, forget Most Likely to Succeed; if showbiz is measured by the amount of projects you have at any given moment — which, by the way, it is! — then she’s already the most successful post-Housewives Housewife.

Vanessa Williams (Renee Perry)
Williams joined the series fresh off a major gig on Ugly Betty, adding her established star power to Wisteria Lane when she became a regular last season. We could wager that Housewives needed her even more than she needed it. Regardless, Williams's career has benefited from her sufficiently catty, vixen-y performance, and no doubt served as a showcase to help score a pair of major upcoming projects: Another potential TV hit in the adaptation 666 Park Ave. on ABC and a prime spot in Tyler Perry's next box office sure thing, 2013's The Marriage Counselor.

[Image: ABC]

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