Desperate Housewives Welcomes New Stars … Including Betty White?

07/28/2010 at 01:00 AM EDT

Desperate Housewives Welcomes New Stars … Including Betty White?
Francis Specker/Landov; Jemal Countess/Getty
There always seems to be available real estate on Wisteria Lane for new neighbors moving in from other TV neighborhoods: Beverly Hills, 90210’s Brian Austin Green will join the Desperate Housewives cast as a working class contractor who catches the eye of both Bree (Marcia Cross) and another newbie, Ugly Betty’s Vanessa Williams. And series creator Marc Cherry also hopes to save some property for his longtime friend Betty White.

"Marcia will have a new love interest in the form of Brian Austin Green," Cherry said at a Television Critics Association panel on Tuesday. "We wanted Bree to be involved with a hunky blue collar contractor and take her out of her refined and educated world – someone who's a bit younger and someone who would be challenging to Bree. We read the first script of the season and I introduced Brian as Marcia's new love interest and then I said, 'You're welcome, Marcia!' and Marcia blushed."

"I'm still blushing – I'm not really acting yet," admitted Cross. “Just yesterday in the scene he grabbed my hand to pull me somewhere and as Bree – just coming into my physical space sets her atwitter. I was atwitter, too. Don't tell him I said that!"

Green, like his new bride Megan Fox, sports his share of tattoos, which will be on display when he doffs his shirt in the second episode of season 7. “The agent asked us if we wanted to cover them up and we said, 'No, let's leave them,' " said Cherry. "I based the character of Bree on my mother, and my mother is appalled by tattoos. I love the idea of Bree being attracted to someone who has body art.' "



Bree's not the only one with her eyes on Green's character. "I hear there might be some competition between Bree and Renee going after him," reveals Williams, who's playing new arrival Renee Perry, the former college roommate of Lynette (Felicity Huffman).

“It's her past frienemy in college,” says Williams, whose character is seeking solace during a rough patch in her marriage to a New York Yankee. “They were very competitive. She's coming into Lynette's life because she's having issues in her marriage and that’s how she ends up on Wisteria Lane. She's looking to start a new phase of her life. She has a lot of money and she has a lot of privileges.”

“She moves in and starts shining a spotlight on the choices that Lynette has made in her life,” adds Cherry. “Some of the best bitchy dialogue that we've ever done on this show is in the first episode.”

Cherry said the idea of playing a professional athlete's wife came from Williams, who was previously married to NBA star Rick Fox. "Vanessa herself pitched the idea of maybe being the wife of a professional basketball player. I said, 'Actually, I have a woman on the show who has that,’ ” noting that costar Eva Longoria Parker is wed to San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker. “She went, 'Oh, yeah, yeah. We'll change the sport.'”

Cherry – a former writer on The Golden Girls – revealed that he hopes to have his friend Betty White drop by sooner rather than later. "I adore Betty,” says Cherry. “Betty got me a seat at Saturday Night Live, so I was there when she hosted. She's so astounding. I would love to have her do the show. She works harder than any of us. She is constantly employed. I'm trying to just see if I can get her for dinner. It's so hard to book her!”

Cherry recalled a reunion with White, Bea Arthur and Rue McClanahan at a Golden Girls DVD party a few years ago. “They all gave me a big hug. We hadn't seen each other in about a decade and they were so happy for my success and they were just so lovely," he told the crowd on Tuesday. "I remember thinking, ‘I have to get them on the show.’ Of course, time does what it does and now only Betty is left. If there's any way to do it, I would love to have Betty on the show. She's a saucy, sexy gal and she's a blast. It's something that would make my heart very happy.” --Scott Huver

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