"Yes, we're trying some new stuff," Cherry tells the Associated Press. "Some of it might work. Some of it might not. This, of course, is the nature of episodic television. They can't all be gems."
This season, all the critics seem to be finding are zircons. "The writers seem to be drawing some of the characters too broadly," squawked USA Today, while New York's Daily News complained, "The show still doesn't seem to have any traction. Even the twists aren't as twisted as they used to be."
At fault, said the paper, is this season's "tone" – a sentiment echoed by the Denver Post, which now finds the show "not campy enough to make the comedy clever, not real enough to make it engaging as mystery-drama" and expressed a fear that the show is "edging toward vapidity."
Perhaps the problem, the critics suggested, is that Cherry has yet to write any of this season's episodes. (They also complain that there has been no subplot or even scenes in which the housewives are linked.)
But Cherry – who's been signed as a co-executive-producer of a humorous new murder-mystery series to be called Kill/Switch – calls the critics' claim "patently untrue. ... I am as involved in the writing process as I've ever been. I help come up with the story lines, I give notes and, indeed, I rewrite things constantly. I take the credit and the blame for everything that goes on the screen," he says.
Furthermore, "I'm paying attention to my audience's response and am trying my darnedest to please them," he insists. "And I will continue to do so as long as I've got that executive producer credit above my name."
Whether or not the critics are right – and fans posting their own critiques on message boards seem to express similar disappointment, notes AP – this season's first three Desperate Housewives episodes were seen by an average of 27.2 million people, above the 23.7 million average for all of last season. This year's average doesn't include the preliminary ratings for last Sunday's episode, seen by 25.5 million people, according to Nielsen Media Research.