Networks celebrate junk, 'Practice' creator sez

David E. Kelley came to the Television Critics Assn. press tour Tuesday to promote his upcoming revamp of “The Practice” — but his most interesting comments had nothing to do with the ABC legal drama.

While journos gave him plenty of openings to attack the Alphabet’s handling of “The Practice’s” ill-fated move to Mondays last spring, Kelley resisted the temptation to be snarky.

He did, however, describe the day he had to tell half the show’s cast they weren’t coming back as “the most difficult day” in his professional career. Scribe also offered up a rebuke of the conglom-controlled industry’s continued embrace of programming for the quick dollar.

“There’s been an erosion of respect by its guardians,” he said. While TV has always been a business and nets have long “put their trash on” along with quality fare, nets now have lost any sense of embarrassment over such programming, Kelley charged.

“Today they celebrate the junk,” the scribe said. “Where once they were ashamed, now they throw a parade for it.”

Of course, viewers have embraced such “junk” as well — including Kelley’s own wife, thesp Michelle Pfeiffer.

One night last winter, Kelley said he put on “Joe Millionaire” because “I wanted to see what it was. My wife was reading, and she looked up and said, ‘What are you watching?’ “

Kelley explained he was checking out the show that was beating up “The Practice” in the ratings; Pfeiffer went back to reading.

“Ten minutes later, I went to change the channel, and she said, ‘Wait, wait! I want to see if that bitch comes back!'”

Kelley said he’s not sure if his wife kept watching, although he suspected she might have “snuck it in watching in the bathroom.”

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