Desperate Housewives is an American television comedy-drama and mystery series created by Marc Cherry, and produced by ABC Studios and Cherry Productions. It originally aired for eight seasons on ABC, from October 3, 2004, to May 13, 2012. Executive producer Cherry served as showrunner. Other executive producers since the fourth season included Bob Daily, George W. Perkins, John Pardee, Joey Murphy, David Grossman, and Larry Shaw.
Set on Wisteria Lane, a street in the fictional town of Fairview in the fictional Eagle State, Desperate Housewives follows the lives of a group of women as seen through the eyes of their late friend and neighbor who committed suicide in the pilot episode. The storyline covers 13 years of the women's lives over eight seasons, set between the years 2004–2008, and later 2013–2017 (the story arc includes a five-year passage of time, as well as flashbacks and flashforwards ranging from the 1950s to the 2020s). They work through domestic struggles and family life, while facing the secrets, crimes, and mysteries hidden behind the doors of their—on the surface—beautiful and seemingly perfect suburban neighborhood.
The series features an ensemble cast, headed by Teri Hatcher as Susan Mayer, Felicity Huffman as Lynette Scavo, Marcia Cross as Bree Van de Kamp, and Eva Longoria as Gabrielle Solis. Brenda Strong narrates the series as the late Mary Alice Young, appearing sporadically in flashbacks or dream sequences.
Desperate Housewives was well received by viewers and critics alike. It won multiple Primetime Emmy, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Awards. From the 2004–05 through the 2008–09 television seasons, its first five seasons were rated amongst the top ten most-watched series. In 2007, it was reported to be the most popular show in its demographic worldwide, with an audience of approximately 120 million and was also reported as the third most watched television series in a study of ratings in twenty countries. In 2012, it remained the most-watched comedy series internationally based on data from Eurodata TV Worldwide, which measured ratings across five continents; it has held this position since 2006. Moreover, it was the third highest revenue earning series for 2010, with $2.74 million per half an hour. The show was ranked at number fifty-six on Entertainment Weekly's "New TV Classics" list.
In 2011, it was confirmed that Desperate Housewives would conclude after its eighth season; the series finale aired on May 13, 2012. By the end of the series, it had surpassed Charmed as the longest running hour-long television series featuring all female leads by two episodes.