You Have Got to Be Kidding.

The four stars of “Desperate Housewives” — Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman, Marcia Cross, and Eva Longoria — are close to finalizing a deal that will pay them each more than $300,000 an episode to continue the ABC dramedy for an eighth season, with a network option for a ninth season that would raise their pay even higher.

With the quartet on board, ABC will renew the show for an eighth season, though it is unclear whether that will happen right away or closer to the May upfronts.

[The stars’] new base salary would be around $325,000 per episode, up from about $275,000 under their most recent deals. (Reports have erroneously pegged their previous salaries at $400,000.) With additional compensation, including back-end and bonuses, the actresses’ paychecks are expected to go up as high as $375,000 per episode. If their options for Season 9 are exercised, their base salary is slated to go up to around $350,000, plus other incentives. If Desperate Housewives goes to nine seasons, which has been creator Marc Cherry’s vision for the show, the four leading ladies’ entire compensation package for the next two seasons is valued at close to $18 million for each. [Deadline]

Listen, it’s awesome that there’s a show that stars actresses who not so long ago would have been considered too old to headline a big-time network drama. Hooray feminism! Furthermore, as we learned from Charlie Sheen, there’s nothing equitable or explicable about TV salaries and the worth of the actors who earn them.

But I think what blows my mind about this is that I don’t know a single person who watches this show. My mom is too intelligent and a little too old to be in the target demographic, and every other woman I know is hip and has taste. But somewhere out there in this great big country of ours are nine million 48-year-old women who apparently watch “Desperate Housewives.” And so I’ll say it again: I should be put in charge of population control in the United States. I’d make fascism way cooler than it’s ever been.

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