TV | Inside TV

Exclusive: ABC plots groundbreaking 'Housewives' spin-off

desperate-housewives_lIt was bound to happen: The increasing depletion of TV ad dollars as a result of digital video recorders has led one network to commit murder.

ABC has recruited Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry to produce a series of eight commercials for Sprint that will unfold as a weekly soap opera. The goal? Pausing the fast-forward phenomenon.

“They’re kind of like the old Taster’s Choice commercials, but we added a lot of wicked dark humor, murder and adultery and betrayal,” explains Cherry of the 35-second spots, which will air once a week during Housewives beginning with the Sept. 27 premiere.

“It’s very Desperate Housewives,” adds exec producer Sabrina Wind. “It was shot on our set, with our crew, and written by our writers.”

None of the show’s regulars will appear in the ads, but Cherry has found a way to connect the marketing experiment with the ABC hit. Soap stars Rebecca Staab and David Chisum — who play the couple at the center of what Cherry calls the “murderous love triangle” — will cross over to Housewives “as background extras.”

Your move, TiVo.

IMAGE CREDIT: Florian Schneider/ABC

Originally posted September 7 2009 — 5:32 PM EDT

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