Desperate Housewives is in desperate straits. Star Teri Hatcher is the latest to say she is leaving, just as season seven scored its lowest ratings ever for its premiere episode, casting the series’ future in doubt.

Hatcher, 45, who plays hot MLIF Susan Mayer, has told ABC that the next season will be her last. Co-star Felicity Huffman is also reportedly leaving in a double blow.

The leaves ABC to either dramatically revamp the series or permanently uproot from Wisteria Lane.

The season 7 premiere posted the worst ratings in its history, among the key 18-49 demographic in September, according to Nielson ratings.
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It finished behind Fox’s “Family Guy” and football games on CBS and NBC. But as consolation, the season five premiere of the family soap “Brothers & Sisters” also finished in third place.

Hatcher reportedly is developing another sitcom that she wants to start work on immediately after she finishes Desperate Housewives.

“She wants a new show in time for the mid-January pilot season,” a TV insider says.

ABC apparently was ready to pull the plug on the show, but creator Marc Cherry won a two-year contract extension on the condition that leading cast members, including Hatcher, Eva Longoria Parker and Huffman stay on.

But their contracts are set to expire after next season. Thus, the rumblings about leaving could also be a play for a mega-raise to stay on with the show.

On the other hand, Hatcher is said to have been motivated to move by the success of Courteney Cox, who went from ensemble show Friends to her own prime-time show, “Cougar Town.”

Such a move would give Hatcher more creative control of the show and a bigger cut of the profits.

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