David E. Kelley



You are the most hypocritical ...

Question: You are the most hypocritical so-called television critic I have ever read. Your recent remark about Boston Legal straining for cheap shock effect is totally laughable when you practically worship shows that are completely built on cheap shock effect, like Nip/Tuck and Desperate Housewives. If you took the cheap shock effect out of those two shows, you would be left with about 10 minutes of show each week. Is Boston Legal over the top? Of course, but it is not meant to be a serious legal drama that shows us the inner workings of the American judicial system. It is a farcical show about a group of zany lawyers, but for some reason it isn't allowed the leeway and suspension of disbelief you seem to afford all of the completely unrealistic and over-the-top shows that you rave about on a weekly basis. Answer: And some people wonder why this column sometimes gets defensive. Perhaps a more charitable word for "hypocritical" would be "inconsistent," which at least makes sense given ... read more

Hi. Can you tell me who the ...

Question: Hi. Can you tell me who the blonde singer was on Ally McBeal? I have tried searching the Web and can find nothing. I love her voice and would like to learn more about her. Thank you.

Answer: That's singer-songwriter Vonda Shepard doing cover versions of such pop classics as "Someday We'll Be Together," "Tears on My Pillow," "Fire," "This Magic Moment," "It's So Easy" and a whole truckload of others on the show. A former backup singer for Jackson Browne, the New York native struggled to make a name in the biz before Ally creator David E. Kelley, a fan, brought her in to provide musical backup for the show, giving her career a big-time boost.

If you liked her work on the series, there are three best-selling compilations available: Songs from Ally McBeal, Heart and Soul: New Songs from Ally McBeal and Ally McBe read more

David E. Kelley Lays Down the Law

The Law Firm

Once upon a time, executive producer David E. Kelley pronounced reality TV "junk," and was understandably miffed that it was drawing eyeballs away from his shows like Ally McBeal, The Practice, Boston Public and Boston Legal. But the onetime lawyer would like to retract that statement now that he's the big name behind The Law Firm (premiering Thursday at 9 pm/ET), NBC's contest in which real litigators compete for a $250,000 cash prize. How does Kelley explain his change of heart?"Some reality television I quite like — the first one being American Idol — but most of the fare I felt disrespected the medium and... degraded its contestants," Kelley explains. "This particular series read more

Boston Legal Bans Fox News

They say there's no such thing as bad publicity — and apparently, "they" are ABC execs. In a head-scratcher of a move, the network has ordered Boston Legal creator David E. Kelley to remove all references to Fox News Channel from an upcoming episode about, ironically, the First Amendment.

In the original script for the March 13 installment, a high-school principal — played by Chi McBride, reprising his role from Kelley's late Fox drama Boston Public — courts trouble when he refuses to allow Fox News to be broadcast on his campus' internal televisions. But ABC demanded that Kelley excise any mention of the network. "I guess they didn't want to give the competition free publicity," says an insider. As a result, the news outlet will remain nameless.

This can't be sitting well with Kelley, who isn't accustomed to being told what to do. O read more

Boston Legal Scoop!

This weekend, ABC presents Boston Legal to its Sunday night viewers at 10 pm/ET. But TV Guide Online has some nagging questions about The Practice spin-off that need answering now. Fortunately, it didn't take a subpoena to sit executive producer David E. Kelley down for a telephone deposition, um, interview. (Isn't legal lingo just a helluva lot of fun?) Without further ado, let the cross-examination begin! Is the generic-sounding Boston Legal this drama's real title? It's already changed once from Fleet Street.David E. Kelley: I think the title is final at this point, although I won't know for sure until we air Sunday. [Laughs] Fleet Street is a street in Boston and it also seemed to capture the personality of this show, which is slicker and glossier than The Practice. But according to the network, Fleet Street just didn't track, so they asked for different names and Boston Legal was the na read more

The Practice Finale Preview

After seven suspenseful years on ABC, The Practice will sign off on Sunday night. Überproducer David E. Kelley had himself a helluva task in writing the legal drama's finale script. After all, it has to wrap the series while also setting up his as-yet-untitled Practice spinoff featuring James Spader's Alan Shore. While Dylan McDermott returns to wave bye-bye, fans shouldn't expect to see other fired favorites — like Lara Flynn Boyle — in the show's farewell bow. "It's about 65 percent saying goodbye to The Practice and 35 percent the continuing introduction of the new franchise," Kelley says. "I would've loved to have gotten them all back, but creatively, it was gonna be a bit unwieldy. You can't just have people pop in and not service them. "If it was only about saying goodbye to The Practice," he adds, "I think we could've done it. But with these other worlds co-existing in the s read more

Camryn Manheim's Sitcom Scoop!

Life after The Practice will be all laughs for Camryn Manheim. At least, it could be, if ABC greenlights the spinoff sitcom David E. Kelley has pitched for her attorney character. "I'm hoping Ellenor Frutt isn't relegated to late-night reruns," Manheim tells TV Guide Online. "I adore her so much and I hope we can see her some more. I'm certainly not tired of her." Created by Dan O'Shannon — who's written for Frasier and Cheers — the half-hour comedy would be a first. "Dan came to David and me with a really interesting idea to transfer a dramatic character to a comedy," Manheim enthuses. "It's really never been done. It's been done the other way — with [The Mary Tyler Moore Show's] Lou Grant, when he went from a comedy to a drama." Here's the premise: "Basically, Ellenor decides to go back to her hometown, where she interacts with her mother and two sisters," the actress explains. "I t read more

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