I thought I read that they wanted someone sexy (in a cool way) on Wisteria Lane again. Pretty much to do what Nicolette Sheridan did, as it worked well in the early seasons.
They must have changed their minds because Vanessa was never the "sleep around slut" that Sheridan's character was. In addition, I have read that Cherry wasn't all that trilled with Sheridan's locker room antics off screen.
Personally, I liked Sheridan better because she could bring humor into the generally dark storylines of that period. Vanessa is a much more limited character.
They decided to make Dana Delany the nemesis for awhile (fortunately she got her own show-Body of Proof) and used the Soprano/Joey Drea De Matteo.
That whole Delany/Black family in the basement period was terrible. Not only was it not entertaining but it made absolutely no sense. Once again, I don't think Cherry had thought out just what kind of program he was making.
Too bad for Nicolette that she wasn't originally one of the four leading ladies, but was used just as a nemesis for Susan. At the same time, I'm not sure her lawsuit has much merit as characters are fired (or killed off) series all the time in tv.
True, but as I understand the lawsuit, it isn't that she was killed off but rather the way she was treated on-set. Whether that has merit remains to be seen.
That season where Delany's character went insane, especially where she had Teri Hatcher's character arrested and sentenced, was awful. Dreadful and a cheap way to fill Nicolette's void. That, along with the random characters (anyone remember Kathy's Najmy's wacko police officer who was never seen again after one episode), waste of several actors (Alfre Woodard, Drea DeMatteo, Vanessa, etc.), and especially the five-year time jump were what ruined the show for me. I do wish the remaining actors on the show well.