"Desperate Housewives" executive producer George Perkins took the stand Friday in the trial between Nicollette Sheridan and her former bosses ABC and Marc Cherry, painting a picture of an emotional and unreliable Sheridan.
Recalling the phone call that Sheridan placed to him on the day of her altercation with Cherry, Perkins said that he felt that it was "a minor incident" after speaking with her.
Asked by Cherry attorney Adam Levin why he thought it was a minor incident, Perkins replied, "My own gut feeling."
Perkins added, "I know that Nicollette is emotional at times, and I thought that emotion probably played into it" when she stormed off the set.
In her wrongful termination suit, Sheridan claims that Cherry slapped her during a September 2008 argument on set, and was fired in retaliation after reporting the incident. Sheridan is seeking $6 million from Cherry and ABC.
Perkins went on to characterize Sheridan as unreliable, saying she was late to the set 50 percent of the time, and that she often didn't know her lines. Perkins said that Sheridan was spoken to "multiple times" about the lateness and ill-preparedness.
Pressed by Sheridan's attorney Patrick Maloney, Perkins admitted that Sheridan wasn't the only actress to be late on the show.
Perkins further testified that there was constant pressure to cut costs on the series, and that killing off a principal character — such as Sheridan's character Edie Britt — was a fast, effective way to do so.
During testimony Friday morning, the court also heard from Touchstone human-resources employee Lynne Volk, who said that she interviewed former Cherry assistant-turned-"Housewives" writer Jason Ganzel about the incident in November 2008. According to Volk, Ganzel told her that Cherry gave Sheridan "just a tap," calling it "inconsequential." Ganzel made it a point to note that Cherry had not slapped Sheridan, according to Volk.
Former ABC executive Steve McPherson is scheduled to testify Friday afternoon.