Just six years ago Jonathan Shapiro was working as an assistant to the lieutenant governor of California and thinking about running for statewide office. But he underwent a major career shift after he wrote a script for The Practice and was hired by producer David E. Kelley. On Sept. 19, Shapiro's own creation, Just Legal, will premiere on WB. Based on Shapiro's family experiences, the show stars Jay Baruchel as an 18-year-old prodigy who passes the California bar exam but can't get a job with a decent law firm. He gets his break when he's hired by an ambulance chaser with an alcohol problem (Don Johnson). The Biz recently spoke with Shapiro about his new show and about how TV may have saved him from a life of unsuccessful political fundraising.
TVGuide.com: Before you got into television, you were counting on having a career in politics.
Jonathan Shapiro: I planned my entire life to run for office. I was a speechwriter fo
Question: I recently caught a Christmas episode of Spin City that featured Charlie Sheen. Some of the staff appeared to be in an orphanage distributing gifts. Is it me or was that little blonde girl (I think her name was Cindy) the same girl who was in Taken?
Answer: Good eye, Kayla. Taken's small wonder, Dakota Fanning, did indeed play wee Cindy in the "Toy Story" episode, which originally aired on Dec. 20, 2000. At that young age her other TV appearances already included ER, Ally McBeal, The Practice, CSI and Malcolm in the Middle.
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
Where has Kelli Williams been since she exited The Practice last year? After learning she was one of six pink-slipped series regulars — including her TV hubby Dylan McDermott — the actress focused on motherhood.
"I had my third child four months after I left The Practice ," she says. "So I got to spend a ton of time with my kids [Kiran, 6, Sarame, 3, and Ravi, 1]. I worked a little bit, but it wasn't a priority to me. I just wanted to not have to go to work, be with the kids and look for something for this TV season."
By the way, she's past feeling bitter about losing her signature role as lady lawyer Lindsay Dole. "Things have a way of working themselves out," Williams shrugs. "It's never fun to be let go from a job. They say you should experience that once. It's all good in the course of life, even when it's hard. I went back and directed an episode with James Spader and my own cast mates, which
Last year, ABC's The Practice made headlines by firing six actors, including leading man Dylan McDermott. In May, he returned to the legal drama for two episodes — and had a helluva showdown with his successor, James Spader. It didn't exactly make up for losing his $300,000-per-episode job, but it did bring Bobby Donnell's portrayer some closure.
"It reminded me of having been divorced from your wife," McDermott tells TV Guide Online. "You haven't spoken to each other in a year, and then, you come back and realize why you married her. That's what it felt like for me.
"It was great to see my old friends and go back into that world for a second," he continues. "Enough time had passed where closure was possible. I think if I went back earlier, it would've been harder."
Post-Practice, McDermott appeared on the big screen in 2003's dark dramas Wonderland and Party Monster. Next up, he and ER's Juli
On Feb. 27, Scott Hoff had reached the $10,000 level on Super Millionaire when the buzzer went off. The show — and its February sweeps run — were out of time. That meant Hoff, a 31-year-old radio sportscaster from Beaverton, Ore., would have to wait until May sweeps to continue his turn! Well, Super Millionaire finally comes back to ABC on Sunday at 9 pm/ET. Here, Hoff tells TV Guide Online what it's been like waiting in game-show limbo for his chance at the $10-million prize.
TV Guide Online: How have you endured the wait?Scott Hoff: For two-and-a-half months, I've been thinking, "Oh my God, I'm 10 questions from winning $10 million!" Had I messed up on my first time, I would've been like, "Oh gee..." Now, no matter what happens, I still get another trip to New York to see Regis. I've been toggling between really excited and really nervous. Last week, I was watching The Practice and saw myself in a commercial for
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
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
Not that we're bitter or envious — Never! — but isn't life just a tad too ducky for Marla Sokoloff? Let's count her bountiful blessings: The cute 22-year-old actress gets to play saucy secretary Lucy on The Practice and date James Franco offscreen. Now, Madonna's Maverick Films has tapped Sokoloff to star in her own hourlong drama on ABC!
"The show is called Alyx," she tells TV Guide Online. "It's about this girl who's a larger-than-life pop star. She decides she wants to be a rock star, so she leaves the pop world behind and kinda has to start from scratch.
"It's very similar to the Alanis Morrisette story," Sokoloff adds. "Alanis was huge in Canada and then came here to do her own thing. Alyx is really big in Germany — almost like a Britney Spears with her dancers, glitter and shiny lipstick. Then, she decides, 'I don't want to do this