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'Desperate' termination suit

A Los Angeles County judge prodded lawyers for Nicollette Sheridan and the producers of "Desperate Housewives" on Wednesday to settle the wrongful-termination suit brought by the actress that resulted in a jury deadlock last month.

"I would strongly urge you to consider settlement discussions," Superior Court Judge Elizabeth White told attorneys during a hearing in which she set a September retrial date.

A jury split, 8-4 -- a vote short of the nine-vote majority required for a civil verdict -- in favor of Sheridan's claim that her character was killed off in the fifth season of the show after she accused its creator, Marc Cherry, of striking her in a rehearsal.

Sheridan's lawyers told the judge that ABC, the parent company of defendant Touchstone Television Productions, refused to discuss an out-of-court settlement, a charge disputed by a Touchstone lawyer.

The judge said the sides should meet with a mediator assigned to the case, adding, "An 8 to 4 vote is nothing to be overly confident about in terms of defending the case."'Desperate' desp

Sheridan is seeking at least $5.7 million in economic losses and potentially more in punitive damages.

-- From News and wire services

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Lowes has WNY ties

Katie Lowes, who plays Quinn Perkins on ABC's "Scandal" (airing at 10 p.m. Thursdays) has many relatives in Western New York, according to Patricia Lowes, the actress' grandmother.

Katie, 29, whose father, Kevin Lowes, is a graduate of Sweet Home High School, was born and raised in Port Washington, L.I. She is a graduate of New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.

She moved to Los Angeles six years ago and has appeared on television in "Ghost Whisperer," "NCIS" and "Private Practice," according to grandmother Lowes.

Shonda Rhimes, creator, head writer and executive producer of "Grey's Anatomy," its spin-off "Private Practice" and most recently "Scandal," is a big reason Katie was chosen to play Perkins, according to her grandmother.

"All she ever wanted was to be on stage," said Lowes. "She wanted this from the time she was little. To get in a series on a major network is a big break for her."

Katie Lowes is going to be married in June.

-- Jane Kwiatkowski

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Bias suit targets two TV shows

Two black men are taking "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette" to court with a lawsuit that claims the reality shows are blocking contestants of color from starring roles.

Nathaniel Claybrooks and Christopher Johnson filed a federal lawsuit in Nashville, Tenn., on Wednesday. It says the popular TV shows are engaged in a pattern of racial discrimination that intentionally excludes people of color.

The two men say that after 10 years and a combined total of 23 seasons of "The Bachelor and The Bachelorette," neither of the shows has featured a single person of color in a central role.

Calls and emails to the publicist for the creator of the show an email to the ABC publicist were not immediately returned.