Danza joins Eye’s ‘Law’ in dramatic shift

Thesp received critical raves, Emmy nom for 'Practice' lawyer stint

Veteran sitcom thesp Tony Danza is making a dramatic career move, joining the cast of CBS legal series “Family Law.”

Move comes one year after Danza garnered critical raves and an Emmy nom for a guest turn as a lawyer on ABC’s “The Practice.” He’ll stay in legal mode on the Columbia TriStar Television-produced “Family Law,” playing an attorney with a troubled past who joins the law firm headed by Kathleen Quinlan.

As part of Danza’s “Family” deal, CTTV has extended its overall production pact with thesp’s Katie Face Prods. through 2002.

Role marks the first time Danza has starred as a series regular in an hourlong drama. Thesp is best known for his five-season stint on the classic laffer “Taxi” and an eight-season run on ABC’s hit sitcom “Who’s the Boss.”

The announcement comes after CBS decided to pass on Danza’s hour-long pilot “Homewood P.I.” The comedy-drama, from CBS Prods. and Col TriStar Television, would have starred Danza as a New Jersey cop turned private investigator.

Calling the “Family Law” gig a “tremendous opportunity for me,” Danza said, “I am looking forward to getting to do things I have never done before. Aside from having a terrific timeslot and tremendous support from the network, I am thrilled to join a show that is also so well written, well acted and well executed.”

Set to begin its second season this fall, “Law” stars Quinlan as a recent divorcee who sets up her own legal practice. Dixie Carter, Julie Warner and Chris McDonald also star in the skein, which airs Mondays at 10.

“Law” exec producer and co-creator Paul Haggis said hiring Danza “was my idea, so I naturally think it’s an inspired choice. We’re thrilled to have him. He will make an incredible addition to ‘Family Law.'”

Danza has several drama credits behind him, including roles in the Broadway legit productions of “The Iceman Cometh” and “A View From the Bridge.” He also starred opposite Jack Lemmon and George C. Scott in Showtime’s “12 Angry Men” remake.

Danza’s most recent stabs at series TV, ABC laffer “Hudson Street” and NBC’s “The Tony Danza Show,” each left the airwaves after just one year.

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