Vanessa Williams turns "Desperate" for ABC

LOS ANGELES Wed May 19, 2010 1:50pm EDT

Actress Vanessa Williams arrives at the 61st annual Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, California September 20, 2009. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

Actress Vanessa Williams arrives at the 61st annual Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, California September 20, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Danny Moloshok

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actress Vanessa Williams will trade her scheming ways on TV comedy "Ugly Betty" for a role on a show where just about everyone seems to be plotting something: "Desperate Housewives."

The ABC network said on Tuesday that Williams will play a housewife in the upcoming new season starting in September, in a regular role that will see her make an appearance in just about every episode.

"Desperate Housewives," which had its 2010 season finale on Sunday, stars Teri Hatcher, Marcia Cross, Felicity Huffman and Eva Longoria Parker as four denizens of suburban Wisteria Lane. Their lives are more dramatic and often times sordid than the facade they try to maintain, but they stay close friends.

Williams played Wilhelmina Slater, an editor of fashion magazine MODE on the ABC comedy "Ugly Betty," which ran from 2006 until it was canceled this year.

Her character, Wilhelmina, butted heads with the wealthy scion of the publishing family that owned MODE, as she tried to wrestle away control of the company in a series of secret schemes.

Williams was nominated for three Emmy Awards for her role on "Ugly Betty." She currently stars in the Broadway musical "Sondheim on Sondheim."

Williams in 1984 became the first black Miss America. But she resigned the crown amid controversy when nude photos of her, taken before the beauty pageant, were published in Penthouse magazine.

On the strength of her singing talents, Williams staged a comeback with her 1988 debut album "The Right Stuff." After that, she scored hits with such songs as "Save the Best for Last." She also recorded "Colors of the Wind" for 1995 movie "Pocahontas," and the song won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe and a Grammy for writers Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Jill Serjeant)

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