Vanessa Williams joins 'Desperate Housewives': Rejoice, then brainstorm some character ideas!

vanessa-williams-weddingImage Credit: Vivian ZinkKudos to ABC for the smartest move of the yet-to-be-hatched 2010-2011 TV season. Nope, I’m not talking about picking up The New Adventures of Old Christine from CBS — hasn’t happened yet, and probably won’t, according to Ausiello — but rather for adding Vanessa Williams (multiple Emmy nominee for the network’s recently departed Ugly Betty) to the cast of Desperate Housewives. “ABC is infinitely smart to keep her in the fold,” my colleague Tanner Stransky (EW’s resident Housewives recapper) emailed me. “They’re awesome about keeping talent they like around.”

Smarter still, the addition of the delectable Ms. Williams breathes instant buzz into a show that, six seasons in, has settled into the role of comfortable Sunday night companion, but ranks pretty low on the water-cooler flow chart. Now, of course, the question arises: What kind of role do we want to see Williams play? And how do we make sure she avoids getting Alfre’d (the syndrome that befell Alfre Woodard, Dana Delany, and Drea de Matteo — high-profile Housewives additions whose roles started strong and eventually turned to little more than suburban lawn mulch)?

Here’s my suggestion: As much as I want Williams to bring the patented bitchery of Ugly Betty‘s Wilhemina Slater to Wisteria Lane — can you imagine the high comedy of seeing Willie take a golden parachute from the Meades and land smack in suburbia? — an actress of her caliber probably isn’t interested in getting typecast. So how about casting Williams as a big-shot financial planner who moves from Wall Street to join Carlos’ firm, then lures her neighbors into unwittingly investing in a Ponzi scheme that brings them all to the brink of financial ruin? Williams’ housewife could be frenemies with Gaby, forge an instant working-girl connection with Bree, and perhaps activate Lynette’s competitive side when she realizes she’s not necessarily the fiercest businesswoman on the block. Plus, the role wouldn’t waste Williams’ talents at rocking outrageous couture. And naturally, Williams’ character would carry on a torrid affair with Mike Delfino –’cause it’s time the most boring household in Fairview got rocked by something harder than unpaid plumbing bills.

What think you, Housewives fans? Does the addition of Williams make you more interested in ABC’s aging soap? And how exactly would you cast the newcomer? Sounds off in the comments below!

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  • Conor O’Brien

    u gave a heart attack, I thought ABC picked up CBS’s ‘Old Christine’, don;t do that to me, but I am more than excited about VW joining DH as I was too a huge Ugly Betty fan, more than being a bitch, she needs to be funny, bring back the funny to DS, perhaps get some ex writers from UB too!?

  • jb

    Best thing that’s happened to D.H. in a long time. Wish she could bring Michael Urie with her…

    • Madd

      I love Michael Urie! He was great in The Temperamentals.

  • Angie

    Yippee!! Can’t wait for next season now.

  • _

    M.J. could be the kid the nurse was talking about and Vanessa could be his biological mother. She could file a huge lawsuit and get custody of M.J. Then, raise M.J. in Susan’s old house.

    ot: Bree was really twisted in season 1. She needs to return to that. I’m tired of Bree being a victim. It seems really out of character.

    • M.J.

      I rlly dont like MJ and i hope MJ isnt Susan’s son. then he would be out. I love Vanessa Williams and was rly upset when Ugly Betty was canceled

  • Meow

    I was excited when I read she was becoming a series regular. I miss the days when DH was buzzed about and talked about the next day, I hope it can reclaim some of its former glory with this casting decision.


    Totally agree with you jb, she needs her assistant Marc to really create chaos at Wisteria Lane. Plus the gay couple broke up so Marc can start dating the sexy beast lawyer.

  • Lulu

    so glad she’s back on TV, though I’m not exactly a fan of this show.

    Can Michael Urie make an appearance as her troubled adopted son, or would that be too much to ask? Nevermind, I’ll just go bust out my UB DVDs…

  • Tim Lade

    You think that Susan doesn’t get free plumbing Slezak? ;)

  • tad

    It would be better if she is supposed to be one of a group of woman on a fictional reality tv woman of fairview. That would let her be over the top and her answer can always be its a reality series get over it. That allows all the other lead woman to interact with her but be against everything she is doing…….

  • Sina

    She should be in Gabby’s storyline. One of her old modeling competitors.

    • betty boop

      That wouldn’t work because Williams looks about 20 years older than Gabby.

  • Mooie

    I was really excited when I saw the headline but immediately thought of John Barroman. Barrowman can be a sexy/scary guy but instead of using him as a snake, Cherry used him as a hammer. He took away all the fun of casting someone who can play so pretty but be so evil.

  • Bryan

    I love Vanessa Williams and am so glad ABC got smart and held onto her. I’m mad UB is no more but I’ll settle for Vanessa on DH. maybe Michael Urie could play her younger husband or lover. As funny as they are together, I’d like to see just a hint of Wisteria Lane mystery and mayhem from the dynamic duo.

  • Rasha

    That is AMAZING! I love it. I’m so excited.

    Can we just cut the whole “let’s make up a new character” and just have her play Willie on the lane?! Thanks!

  • RuPaul

    dont f**k it up

  • Nana

    Help. I cannot remember how Paul Young left Wisteria Lane. My sister thinks we were lead to believe he died, but I don’t think so. Can anyone remind me? Thanks.

    • Melissa

      Paul Young had left Wisteria Lane because in the second season Felicia, Martha Huber’s sister, had set him up for murder. She had cut off her two fingers and set them up in in his car to look as if he had murdered her. This was for her to get revenge from killing her sister. He was seen in the 3rd season in jail when Mike had been in jail.

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