Written and executive produced by Karin Gist (Mike), I hear that the new show will follow a young black woman who joins the law firm from the original series (or its current incarnation) straight out of law school. The young woman is believed to be the daughter of Ally McBeal’s (Flockhart) DA roommate Renée Raddick, who was played by Lisa Nicole Carson in the Mothership series.
I hear Flockhart has been approached to reprise her title role in some capacity from the original and to produce the sequel. A decision about her potential involvement will likely not be made until a script has been written.
Kelley Created and Executive Produced Ally McBeal through his overall deal with 20th Television, with his David E. Kelley Productions acting as a mini studio, giving the prolific producer more of a say in exploiting existing IP. I hear Kelley has been briefed on the idea and given his blessing on the follow up. Given the new show’s focus on a new character who is a black woman, I heard Kelley felt he wasn’t needed and graciously stepped aside out of respect for Gist who could tell that character’s story. There are currently no plans for Kelley to be involved in the sequel, which: Ally McBeal studio 20th Television, part of Disney TV Studios, produces. Gist serves as showrunner and executive producer through its production banner, The Gist of It, along with the company’s EVP Claire Brown.
Representatives from ABC and 20th TV declined to comment.
Executives at 20th TV were looking to bring back Ally McBeal for years in one form or another; efforts were ramped up after Disney’s 2019 acquisition of Fox assets, including 20th TV, fueled by how well the series’ DNA fits into ABC’s core brand of levity-driven, female-driven character dramas. I hear Gist’s opinion was very well received across the board, leading to the sale of the field to ABC for development.
The setup of the Ally McBeal follow up is reminiscent of NBC’s upcoming Nachthof sequel series, which also features a new lead character (Melissa Rauch), the daughter of a character from the original series and has the original lead role, John Larroquette, who reprises his role alongside her.
Ally McBeal, which aired on Fox from 1997-2002, starring Flockhart as Ally, a lawyer who worked with her ex-lover and his wife at the Boston law firm Cage and Fish, and followed Ally’s trials through life as she was looking for love and fulfillment . The main focus of the dramedy was the romantic and personal lives of the main characters, often using legal proceedings as a plot device.
The series won the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series in 1999, one of seven Emmys and a slew of other major awards for its series. Ally McBeal was known for its strong ensemble cast, led by Flockhart and featuring Courtney Thorne-Smith, Greg Germann, Carson, Jane Krakowski, Peter MacNicol, Gil Bellows, Lucy Liu, Portia de Rossi and musician Vonda Shepard who rose to fame on the show. In addition, the series gave Robert Downey Jr. one of his first major roles after his legal troubles in the 90s on his way to his comeback in his successful career in Iron Man.
Ally McBeal transcended television to become a pop culture phenomenon and generate memes before memes existed with his infamous dancing baby. It remains influential two decades after its end, with She-Hulk‘s creative team recently named the dramedy as the inspiration for their Marvel series.
Gist is one of the top creators/showrunners on 20th TV’s overall deals list. Under the pact, she is executive producer and showrunner of the new Mike Tyson limited series Mike for Hulu. She co-created, executive produced and showran the Fox series Our kind of people and served as an executive producer and showrunner on the ABC comedy mixed-ish.
Previously, Gist was executive producer and showrunner of Fox’s Star for seasons 2 and 3. Before that, she was a co-executive producer on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy from 2015-17. Additional writing and production credits include WB/CWs a tree hill, Showtime’s house of lies and ABCs Revenge. Her film-writing credits include Disney’s Camp Rock and Camp Rock 2, jump in and VH1s Drum line: a new beat. She is represented by Adventure Media and Joel McKuin.