Ally McBeal Sequel Series in the Works at ABC

It’s been two decades since Cage and Fish tried a case in court, but it seems like the Boston law firm is finally returning to primetime. Created by David E. Kelley, the Emmy-winning legal dramedy Ally McBeal starred Calista Flockhart in the title role. Per Deadline, the Brothers & Sisters actress is plotting her return to the courtroom with a sequel series, which is in early development at ABC. In addition to the rumored return of Flockhart as the show’s titular character, the revival will feature a new lead, “a young Black woman who joins the law firm from the original series (or its current incarnation) straight out of law school.”

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According to the Deadline exclusive, the Ally McBeal revival will be written and executive produced by Mixed-ish’s Karin Gist. The series will follow a young Black female lawyer “believed to be the daughter of Ally McBeal’s (Flockhart) D.A. roommate Renée Raddick,” played by Lisa Nicole Carson in the original series. While the Deadline article didn’t mention if Carson was returning to the series (after all, Carson mostly retired from acting after being hospitalized for her struggles with bipolar disorder while starring in Ally McBeal), Flockhart has reportedly been approached about returning to the title role and executive producing the follow-up.

David E. Kelley Has Reportedly Given His Blessing

20th Television

As a former attorney himself, David E. Kelley has used his background to become a successful writer and producer in Hollywood, known for creating shows like Doogie Howser, M.D., Boston Legal, Big Little Lies, Mr. Mercedes, and The Practice. He also created and executive produced Ally McBeal through his overall deal at 20th Television that had his David E. Kelley Productions function as a mini studio. Kelley is one of only a few screenwriters to have created shows that have aired on all four of the top commercial networks in the United States.

The prolific producer has already given his blessing for the Ally McBeal sequel series. Deadline reports that:

I hear Kelley has been looped in on the idea and has given his blessing for the follow-up. Given the new show’s focus on a new character who is a Black woman, I hear Kelley felt he was not needed and graciously stepped aside out of respect for Gist being able to tell that character’s story. There are no current plans for Kelley to be involved in the sequel, which Ally McBeal studio 20th Television, part of Disney TV Studios, is producing. Gist serves as showrunner and executive produces through her production banner, The Gist of It, alongside the company’s EVP Claire Brown.

However, neither ABC nor 20th TV have confirmed that a follow-up series is in the works.