Carol Burnett Hooks Up with Housewives

03/02/2006 at 04:00 PM EST

Carol Burnett Hooks Up with Housewives
Stephen Shugerman/Getty
Carol Burnett is getting Desperate. The legendary funnywoman is joining the cast of Desperate Housewives as Eleanor Mason, the stepmother of Bree Van De Kamp, played by Marcia Cross, USA Today reports.

Burnett said she thought the opportunity would be "a hoot." "I'm a soap opera fan. I've watched All My Children for a hundred years, and this, too, is a very campy soap," she said.

For Burnett, the role provided a chance to play against character, and she requested that series creator Marc Cherry make Mason "meaner." "It's more fun to have those villainous takes – like Miss Hannigan," Burnett said, referencing her role in the 1982 film "Annie."

Burnett's character is described a classic evil stepmother, who raised the young Bree after her mother was killed, says Cherry. "She's a very tightly wound, proper lady for whom appearances mean everything." The role will likely shed some light on why Bree has turned out as she has.

For Cherry, the chance to cast Burnett is a dream come true. "I learned how to be funny watching Carol Burnett," he said.

Mason's appearance coincides with the unleashing of family secrets by Bree's son, Andrew, who is trying to gain emancipation from his mother. "Andrew is bringing up all sorts of family secrets, and they want it stopped," Cherry told USA Today.

Burnett is scheduled for one episode of Housewives, on April 9, though no one has ruled out a return visit for season three.

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