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Desperate Housewives: The Trek Connection

Alfre Woodard from ‘First Conact’ joins the cast for the season finale

When Steven Culp filmed a death scene on “Star Trek: Enteprise,” that almost killed the actor’s chance to be part of ABC’s successful show, “Desperate Housewives,” according to a report on

Culp played Major Hayes, one of the military support characters or MACOs, on “Enterprise.” Like many television actors, Culp has made appearances as a guest star on many shows, including “JAG,” “ER,” and “The West Wing,” so juggling a hectic schedule usually isn’t a problem. That was, until Culp, who felt he had won the role of Rex van de Kamp on “Housewives,” had to choose between playing the death scene of Major Hayes or attend an all-important meeting with ABC executives.

He picked “Enterprise,” and the network gave the “Housewives” part to another actor, Michael Reilly Burke.

At first, Culp wasn’t too upset because he felt “Housewives” wouldn’t be a success. “At first I thought, ‘ABC is never gonna pick up this pilot,'” he said.” Then I thought, ‘Okay, they picked it up, but it’s too quirky to succeed.’ Then the critics gave it raves, and I thought, ‘Great, we’ll get one or two seasons out of it and then move on, with the cachet of having been on this cool show. I’m delighted to be so wrong!”

Luckily for Culp, when ABC completed the “Housewives” pilot, they decided to recast the Rex van de Camp role, and this time, Culp secured the part for good. “I guess some things are meant to be,” Culp said.

Interestingly enough, Michael Reilly Burke, the other Rex van de Kamp actor, ended up playing the Vulcan Koss on a three-part story arc on “Enterprise.”

The connection between “Star Trek” and “Desperate Housewives” doesn’t end there. Alfre Woodard, who starred in “Star Trek: First Contact,” joins the show during the season finale.

Culp feels he understands why “Housewives” is such a success. “It’s very entertaining, and it moves fast,” he said. “Beyond that, there are things about the characters that people recognize, and that resonate in their own lives.”

The “Desperate Housewives” finale will air on ABC on Sunday, May 22, at 8 p.m.

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