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. Only two years ago, his Practice featured CBS president Leslie Moonves. An ABC executive, who asked not to be identified, says that was the exception to a long-standing rule of not allowing "nonfiction references" on its shows. Kelley, whose show is produced by Fox's Twentieth Television, declined to comment.

Meanwhile, McBride — who's set to begin a five-episode run on Fox's House this week — prefers to focus on the drama on screen. He teases: "It's going to be an extremely interesting hour of television."