A correction was made to this article on Mar. 11, 2004.
“The Practice” is no more. Long live “The Practice.”
ABC detailed plans Wednesday to retire its long-running David E. Kelley drama “The Practice” and develop a new show with the producer featuring some of its characters and set in a high-end civil law firm.
UPN, meanwhile, ordered the drama pilot “2 Kings” from Blueprint Entertainment and Edmonds Entertainment. And on the casting beat, Rena Sofer (“Coupling”), Steven Eckholdt (“Grapevine”), Vanessa Williams (“Boomtown”), Shannon Elizabeth (“American Pie”), Paula Marshall (“Hidden Hills”), Gerald McRaney (“Major Dad”) and comedians Randy and Jason Sklar (ESPN Classic’s “Cheap Seats”) all scored pilot roles.
Alphabet net has been discussing with Kelley for some time ways to keep “The Practice” torch alive (Daily Variety, March 3). The new drama has been given a 22-episode commitment and will premiere next fall.
“This is very gratifying,” Kelley said. “Last year it seemed that the series was over. Instead, we’ve been given the opportunity to evolve and go on.”
Twentieth Century Fox TV will continue with the new series as well. An Emmy winner for best drama series, “The Practice” lasted seven seasons on ABC.
Over at UPN, “2 Kings” revolves around two high school kids from different backgrounds who bond in 1970s New York, just as the graffiti, break dancing and rap culture is born. Seth Zvi Rosenfeld (“King of the Jungle”) created and will write the project.
Exec producers on board include Tracey Edmonds, Henry Bromell, Keri Selig, John Morayniss and Noreen Halpern.
Edmonds Entertainment’s recent credits include Showtime’s “Soul Food,” a TV version of the company’s critically acclaimed movie.
As for the casting beat, Sofer has joined the cast of ABC’s Steven Bochco/Matt Olmstead/Nicholas Wootton pilot “Blind Justice.” Thesp, whose credits also include “Ed,” will star as Christie, the wife of Ron Eldard’s character. Paramount Network TV produces with Bochco.
Eckholdt, most recently seen in the short-lived “My Big Fat Greek Life,” joins the Alphabet web’s Josh Sternin/Jeffrey Ventimilia sitcom “Plan B” as Matt, the love interest to star Caroline Rhea. Universal show stars Rhea as a thirtysomething woman balancing life and love. Eckholdt also starred in “It’s Like, You Know.”
Williams, the actress (“Eraser”), singer and onetime Miss America, has been given the lead in UPN’s Lisa Kudrow/Dan Bucatinsky pilot “Beck and Call.” Williams will play Zoe, the editor of a fashion magazine. The Warner Bros. TV/Sherphard-Robin drama revolves around personal assistants and execs in the fashion world.
“American Pie’s” Elizabeth will star in UPN’s “One on One” spinoff. Paramount/Greenblatt-Janollari project, from Eunetta Boone and Bennie Richburg, is set in a barber shop. Marques Houston (“You Got Served”) has also been cast.
Marshall joins CBS’ Emily Fox drama “Cooking Lessons” as Brett. The Warner Bros. TV/Tannenbaum Co. pilot follows a food columnist and her circle of friends. Marshall’s other credits include “Snoops” and “Cupid.” Lisa Lackey (“Mulholland Drive”) has also been cast in the project, as Olivia, while Lindy Booth (“Dawn of the Dead”) will play Chloe.
McRaney, who most recently appeared in “Mister Sterling,” has joined the cast of the WB’s Dave Flebotte/Mark Burnett laffer “Commando Nanny.” The pilot, from Warner Bros. TV, is based on Burnett’s experience as a military commando-turned-nanny.
Then there’s the Sklar brothers, who convinced producers Tom Brady, Doug Robinson, Adam Sandler and Jack Giarraputo to give the twins the role of Nico, the handymen in the WB’s “The Dana and Julia Show.” Part was originally slated for one actor.
Sony Pictures TV produces the female buddy comedy.
In other pilot news Thursday, the WB has pushed its untitled Robert Schimmel comedy, from Michigan J. Prods. and Schimmel, Bob Myer, Howard Stern and Lee Kernis, to midseason contention. Also, Frog drama pilot “Global Frequency,” from Warner Bros. TV and Mark Burnett, won’t film until June, but the hourlong is still in the works for next season.
(Josef Adalian and Jill Feiwell contributed to this report.)