TNT has officially cancelled David E. Kelley/Sanjay Gupta’s Monday Mornings after one season. There was not much hope for the medical drama, which opened with an underwhelming 1.34 million viewers and ended its freshman run at the same level, with the finale drawing 1.37 million. But, like Kelley’s previous series, NBC’s Harry’s Law, Monday Morning quickly developed a small but devoted and passionate fan base. Monday Mornings, about the lives of a group of surgeons, starred Ving Rhames, Alfred Molina and Jennifer Finnigan. “(David E. Kelley, Bill D’Elia and Dr. Sanjay Gupta, on whose novel the series was based) crafted a unique and powerfully moving drama full of memorable situations and characters brought to life by a terrific ensemble cast,” TNT said in a statement. “Unfortunately the show never built its audience enough to warrant its continuation.”
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s coverage of TCA.
At today’s TCA panel on TNT’s new medical drama series Monday Mornings, executive producer David E. Kelley (Chicago Hope, The Practice, Doogie Howser M.D.) admitted reservations about a taking on another medical show. But he said he went back into the operating room because of the participation of neurosurgeon and co-executive producer Sanjay Gupta. The series is based on the book by Gupta. The surgeon also serves as CNN chief medical correspondent.
Kelley said the book made him realize that the show, whose large ensemble cast includes Ving Rhames, Bill Irwin, Alfred Molina and Emily Swallow (on the panel,) could offer “fertile story-telling ground”, adding: It only came to fruition when Sanjay agreed to stay with it. The book is what made me want to do the series, but I wanted to keep the voice that came with us. He assured me he would not abandon us, and stay with us”.
EXCLUSIVE: Kevin Williamson and David E. Kelley have tapped directors-producers of their existing series to helm their new pilots. Marcos Siega, who directed the pilot for Williamson’s hit The Vampire Diaries and served as a co-executive producer on the CW show, will direct Williamson’s untitled Fox drama pilot. Meanwhile, Kelley’s …
EXCLUSIVE: In David E. Kelley’s first foray into cable, TNT has given a pilot order to a new medical drama from The Practice creator and CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Kelley wrote the script for the project, tentatively titled Chelsea General, based on Gupta’s upcoming novel Monday Mornings. Kelley and Gupta, who is a practicing neurosurgeon, are executive producing. “Chelsea General promises to be a smart, witty and extremely powerful medical drama, the kind of series David E. Kelley is renowned for making,” said Michael Wright, EVP and head of programming for TNT, TBS and Turner Classic Movies. “We look forward to working with David and Sanjay in bringing the doctors’ fascinating stories and characters to television.”
Set to be published in March 2012, Gupta’s Monday Mornings is set at Chelsea General and follows the lives of five surgeons as they push the limits of their abilities and confront their personal and professional failings. The book uses as its backdrop the hospital’s Monday Morbidity and Mortality conference, considered the most secretive meeting in all of medicine, where doctors gather for a confidential review of complications and errors in patient care. The book takes a look at how surgeons come to terms with mistakes and try to learn from them.
Chelsea General is Kelley’s first project as a free agent. The Emmy-winning writer-producer opted not to renew his overall deal at Warner Bros. TV in May so he can pursue passion projects in different areas, including cable. This marks Kelley’s return to the medical genre 17 years after he created CBS’ Chicago Hope.
UPDATE: Readers alerted us that the Wonder Woman clips have been disabled, which is not surprising as their use probably constituted copyright violation and got attorneys for producer Warner Bros. TV on the case.
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I hear that, after intense negotiations with David Kelley about cutting the show’s licensing fee, ABC has renewed Boston Legal for a 5th season. A source tells me: “Watch for the cast to be scaled down to Spader, Shatner, Candace, and fewer people around them.” Sources …