×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Downey on ‘Ally’s’ case

Thesp lands first post-jail role as Flockhart's love interest

Robert Downey Jr. isn’t wasting any time getting back to work: He’s just signed on to play Calista Flockhart’s love interest for an eight-episode arc of “Ally McBeal.”

Downey, who has been continuing his rehab obligations after being released from jail last week, will begin filming the episodes Monday, having accepted the role offered by “Ally” creator-exec producer David E. Kelley.

Downey’s character, described by Fox as a “mysterious stranger,” will be introduced on the show’s Oct. 23 season premiere.

“David’s a genius, Calista’s awesome and once again I have a choice of shirt colors,” Downey said.

Casting is a major coup for “Ally,” which lost some of its critical buzz last season amid complaints it had become too wedded to over-the-top plot twists. Repeats of the skein have been performing poorly in the ratings this summer.

Fox execs and Kelley have said the show will become more grounded in the upcoming season. Downey’s star power will give Fox a highly promotable hook to help lure auds back to “Ally,” hopefully convincing viewers to re-establish old viewing habits.

“We’re thrilled,” said Kelley. “We’ve admired (Downey’s) work for years and know he’ll make an enormous contribution to ‘Ally McBeal.’ ”

Kelley began courting Downey while the actor was in prison, insiders familiar with the negotiations said.

Pitched productions

Sources said Downey was gratified by Kelley’s quick request and has been overwhelmed with offers to return to acting as he continues to battle his drug problems. It’s likely he could move right into a film when he finishes production on his “Ally” segs in mid October, though sources said Kelley may try to persuade Downey to become a regular.

The “Ally” gig reps Downey’s most significant TV commitment since 1985, when he spent a season as a regular on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.”

Thesp’s most recent feature role was as a gay book editor in “Wonder Boys.” Other recent credits include “Black & White” and “Two Girls and a Guy.” Downey snagged a 1992 Oscar nom for “Chaplin.”

Downey is repped by Ed Limato and Nick Styne of ICM.

More TV

  • How the 'Rich Eisen Show' Mixes

    How the 'Rich Eisen Show' Mixes Sports and Showbiz in an Entertaining Mix

    Walking through the El Segundo studio where veteran sportscaster Rich Eisen tapes his daily “Rich Eisen Show,” the sheer density of sports memorabilia is overwhelming — everything from game balls to jerseys, gear, autographs and uncountable photos are crammed onto every inch of wall and desk space. But step into Eisen’s dressing room, and the [...]

  • Whiskey Tango Cavalier

    TV Review: 'Whiskey Cavalier'

    The crux of “Whiskey Cavalier” can be found right in its protagonist’s name. “Will Chase” is a purposefully ridiculous wink of a name that tries to be both debonair and very silly all at once, just like the FBI agent (played by Scott Foley) to which it belongs. This isn’t a regular spy drama, “Whiskey [...]

  • Brody Stevens Dead

    Comedian Brody Stevens Dies at 48

    Prominent Los Angeles comedian Brody Stevens died Friday in Los Angeles, Variety has confirmed. He was 48. “Brody was an inspiring voice who was a friend to many in the comedy community,” Stevens’ reps said in a statement. “He pushed creative boundaries and his passion for his work and his love of baseball were contagious. [...]

  • Editorial use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    Malik Yoba to Reprise Role in 'New York Undercover' Reboot at ABC

    Malik Yoba, who starred as Detective J.C. Williams in the 90s show “New York Undercover,” is set to reprise the role in the ABC reboot, sources tell Variety. Picking up 20 years after the end of the original series, “New York Undercover” will follow detectives Nat Gilmore and Melissa Ortiz as they investigate the city’s [...]

  • Chris Burrous dead KTLA anchor

    KTLA Anchor Chris Burrous' Cause of Death Released

    An investigative report on KTLA anchor Chris Burrous has determined that his cause of death was attributed to methamphetamine toxicity, according to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office. Burrous, 43, was found unconscious at a motel in Glendale, Calif on December 27, and later died at the hospital. The death has been ruled as accidental. [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    'Crazy Rich Asians,' 'Late Show With Stephen Colbert' Win Publicity Campaign Awards

    Hollywood publicists have selected “Crazy Rich Asians” as the top movie publicity campaign for 2018 and “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” as the best television campaign. Warner Bros.’ “Crazy Rich Asians” topped the campaigns for Disney’s “Black Panther,” Fox’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Paramount’s “A Quiet Place,” Sony’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” and Universal’s “Halloween” for [...]

  • THE MASKED SINGER: Rabbit in the

    Live+3 Ratings for Week of Feb. 11: 'Masked Singer' Easily Tops Competition

    Fox’s “The Masked Singer” was the highest-rated broadcast show of the week in both Live+Same Day and Live+3. For the week of Feb. 11, the unscripted singing competition series went from a 2.4 rating in adults 18-49 to a 3.4, a rise of 42%. In total viewers, the show went from 7.8 million viewers to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content