Jeffrey Kramer has ankled David E. Kelley Prods. after a five-year run as prexy of the production outfit behind “Chicago Hope,” “Ally McBeal,” “The Practice” and ABC’s new gumshoe drama “Snoops.”
The timing of Kramer’s departure raised eyebrows, coming on the eve of a busy fall season for the prolific writer-producer known as TV’s iron man — an image reinforced by his historic win earlier this month of both the comedy and drama series Emmy trophies for “Ally McBeal” and “The Practice.”
“It has been a great challenge and wonderful learning experience as we worked together to build a business and brands which have come to mean so much to so many people,” Kramer said in a statement.
Sources close to both Kelley and Kramer said the two remain close friends, even though Kelley is said to have nixed some of Kramer’s ideas for expanding the company.
The advance buzz on “Snoops” hasn’t been nearly as strong as the critical kudos showered on past Kelley creations, but insiders scoffed at speculation that “Snoops” hastened Kramer’s exit.
Kelley is poised to close a new megabucks, five-year production pact with Twentieth Century Fox TV, his longtime studio home. A statement from Kelley Prods. said that Kramer’s departure coincided with the start of the new deal, which is expected to set the standard for rich, incentive-laden studio deals for top writer-producers.
“David E. Kelley is about to enter a new deal with 20th Century Fox Television. This is a perfect time for the two of them to pursue different interests, although they have great affection for each other,” read the statement released through Kelley’s spokeswoman.
Kelley was unavailable for comment Friday.
Kramer spent five years as a creative exec at Twentieth Century Fox TV before signing on with Kelley in 1994.