"Desperate Housewives" creator Marc Cherry said Thursday he was suggesting another way that Nicollette Sheridan could play a scene when he took his hand to her head during a rehearsal.
The actress is suing Cherry and ABC for $6 million in Los Angeles Superior Court, claiming that he killed off her character in retaliation after she reported the September 24, 2008 incident, which she characterized as a "nice wallop."
Cherry testified that Sheridan was unhappy that her line in the a scene -- "She loved you, yeah, yeah, yeah" -- has been cut over concerns about licensing costs and told him, "I really need a joke here."
"Maybe you don't need a line," Cherry said he told Sheridan, "you could do some physical business with Dave (actor Neal McDonough), maybe pinch him or a thing on the head," and then said he tapped her on the head as an example.
"Nicollette seemed confused," Cherry said, "and then she got a look on he face -- I was like, what was she thinking -- and then she screamed 'You hit me!' and stormed off the set.
Cherry said he was "stunned" and soon followed Sheridan to her trailer to say he was sorry.
"I decided to apologize because we needed to get her back to the set" Cherry said. "I remember being nervous because of what she had yelled ... I didn't feel comfortable being alone with her in the trailer," he said.
Cherry said that he told her he was demonstrating stage business and "she had a look on her face like she understood what I had said."
"I was trying to indicate playful things she could do," he said.
Cherry said that two then hugged and he went back to the writers room to "write her a funny line."
"When I apologized it was a sincere apology for inadvertently offending her," Cherry testified. "It was not for hitting her, because that was something I had not done."