Desperate Housewives creator breaks surprising news about Work Out’s Doug Blasdell

Surprising news emerged yesterday, almost five years after the death of Work Out cast member Doug Blasdell: He inspired a character on Desperate Housewives, as he was the trainer of its creator, Marc Cherry, and actually died at Cherry’s house from salmonella poisoning.

Doug died in 2007 and all we learned back then was that he was being treated for a brain tumor; the direct cause of death wasn’t mentioned. The show’s star, Jackie Warner, didn’t want to exploit Doug’s death on her series, Bravo did just that, as did Andy Cohen in a blog post, back when he was only known as a blogger. The reaction all around, both in the episode and in promotion of it, was pretty disgraceful.

Yesterday, Cherry revealed that Doug died at his house during a session at the Television Critics Association’s winter press tour to promote the conclusion of Desperate Housewives. The show’s 100th episode featured the characters reminiscing about the death of a handyman character played by Beau Bridges. Here’s what Cherry said:

“The 100th episode with Beau Bridges was very, very wonderful on about every kind of level from the moment we came up with the idea. … I had a trainer named Doug Blasdell. He was featured on the TV show ‘Work Out.’ And while he was staying in my home, he passed away from salmonella poisoning. And Doug was such an amazingly sweet and wonderful person, and everyone whose lives he’s touched, he had this effect on. And for about since he had passed away it was about, I think, a year I had been wanting to do an episode about someone who can kind of come into your life and just change and touch and give so much to but we sometimes don’t notice them. And so the fact that I was able to write this episode with Bob about it was Beau Bridges, but it was really about my friend Doug Blasdell, was wonderful and the fact it turned out so well and it was our 100th episode. And I was like best 100th episode ever. I was really proud of that one.”

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.