Ally McBeal is the latest series that could be returning in some form, with its lead, Calista Flockhart, potentially reprising her titular role, and if that gives you a bit of deja vu, it’s for good reason: This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of the possibility.
However, this time, there are more details. This potential sequel series, which, for now, is just “in early development at ABC,” according to Deadline, would “follow a young Black woman who joins the law film from the original series (or its current incarnation) straight out of law school.” This new lead could be D.A. Renée Raddick’s (Lisa Nicole Carson) daughter; Reneé was Ally’s roommate in the original series. It’s unclear so far how Flockhart’s Ally would be involved in the series, and according to the report, the actress “likely” won’t decide if she’d be part of it (as a star and/or executive producer) “until a script has been written.”
Karin Gist (Mike, Our Kind of People) is serve as writer, executive producer, and showrunner on the potential series. The original Ally McBeal was created by David E. Kelley, but though he has reportedly “been looped in and has given his blessing,” he is not slated to be working on this new edition.
In 2021, there were reports of a potential revival of Ally McBeal as a limited series, with Flockhart and Kelley possibly involved (alongside a female showrunner). There were no details beyond that at the time.
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Ally McBeal aired for five seasons, and in its run from 1997 to 2002, the series won seven Emmys, including ones for Comedy Series (in 1999) and Supporting Actor (Peter MacNicol in 2001); it was nominated for 27 more. The legal dramedy also won two Golden Globes for Best Television Series — Comedy or Musical (in 1998 and 1999) and was nominated in that category three more times. Flockhart won a Golden Globe (in 1998) and was nominated four more times, while Robert Downey Jr. took home a Golden Globe and Jane Krakowski was nominated.
The ensemble cast of the series, about the titular character working in the Boston law firm Cage and Fish along with her ex-lover and his wife, also included Courtney Thorne-Smith, Greg Germann, Gil Bellows, Vonda Shepard, Portia de Rossi, Lucy Liu, James LeGros, Regina Hall, Julianne Nicholson, James Marsden, Josh Hopkins, and Hayden Panettiere.
The news of this potential new series comes as ABC has decided not to pick up Criminal Nature to series. It would’ve been a soapy procedural drama about the Investigative Service Branch (ISB) starring Parker Young, Michaela McManus, Julia Chan, Ian Duff, and Yasha Jackson.