There was a time when Nicollette Sheridan’s court battle against “Desperate Housewives” creator Marc Cherry and ABC would have meant career suicide. The blond bombshell has branded herself as a troublemaker. She’s shown an edgy, prickly side on the witness stand. She’s invited scrutiny from the public and the media — the kind of scrutiny that involves repeated references to her 48 years of age and to her career having faded before being revitalized in 2004 by her “Desperate Housewives” role of Edie Britt.
Yes, there was a time we would have expected her to be expelled by the industry over this fight — relegated to the dinner theater circuit like Suzanne Somers when she fell from network grace after tiffing with “Three’s Company” over her demand for a 500 per cent pay raise and a piece of the show decades ago. There would be no win for Sheridan’s career, whether or not she wins some or all of the $20 million she’s aiming to get following her claims of assault against Cherry and subsequent wrongful termination. (Cherry’s jovial quips eliciting laughter from the jury this week — not a good sign.)
However, this is 2012, when good things happen to bad boys and girls. Charlie Sheen’s wanton carryings on, his beating up of women, his drug use, his arrests, his widely-booed Violent Torpedo of Truth stage show and all his internet strangeness got him a much-anticipated new FX TV series, “Anger Management.” Recent morgue worker Lindsay Lohan’s “Saturday Night Live” guest-hosting stint last weekend garnered the show its second highest ratings of the season. Also in the news is “Jersey Shore” low-life Snooki, famous for stumbling around intoxicated in public and so forth; as reports of her pregnancy swirl through the media, she sports a half-million-dollar engagement ring.
Nicollette, in fact, might not be bad enough. She’s going to need to step up her game and do more than show exasperation. She did slap her attorney, but only as a demonstration of what she says Cherry did to her. Maybe she should slap him for real, and get rid of those sedate dark courtroom clothes. Show cleavage. Show disrespect. Show up drunk. Have a wardrobe malfunction on the courthouse steps. Take a tip from Lindsay, who cleverly painted “f— you” on one of her fingernails knowing the cameras followed her every move as a defendant. It might not be too late for a “Mark Cherry Sucks” tattoo in an eye-catching spot, for example.
If Nicollette and/or her handlers are clever enough to use all this attention to burnish her brand as a still-hot-looking diva cougar, maybe it could actually help her career. Maybe there will be a new show in it for her. At the very least, surely Donald Trump would save a seat for her in his “Celebrity Apprentice” board room.