The Emmy-winning writer-producer is opening a new chapter, moving to CAA after a stint at WME and its predecessor Endeavor. He most recently created and executive produced the CBS comedy series The Crazy Ones starring Robin Williams. Kelley, who pulled the rare feat of winning both the best drama and best comedy series Emmy Awards with The Practice and Ally McBeal in 1999, continues to be with attorney Michael Gendler.
“McDonalds did not pay, and did not have approval” on The Crazy Ones pilot episode, exec producer Jason Winer told TV critics today at TCA. In the first episode of the new CBS comedy from David E. Kelly and Winer, a Chicago ad agency head and his daughter, played by Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar, try to get Kelly Clarkson to sing the old McDonalds jingle in an effort to hang on to that important client. Using a real brand is exciting…making up the names of products would not seem so real” Winer explained. “So far no money has changed hands”.
“If you look under your chairs there’s a Happy Meal there right now,” Williams jumped in.
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.”
Buffy The Vampire Slayer alumna Sarah Michelle Gellar has been tapped as the female lead opposite Robin Williams in David E. Kelley’s CBS comedy pilot Crazy Ones. Written/exec produced by Kelley and directed/exec produced by Jason Winer, Crazy Ones is set in the world of advertising and stars Williams as Simon (Williams), the brilliant head of an ad agency working alongside his daughter Sydney (Gellar), the agency’s creative director. 20th Century TV is producing.
Gellar was recently attached to a 20th TV comedy spec, and I hear that the studio wanted to stay in business with her after that spec didn’t go. This marks the first live-action comedy series gig for Gellar, who starred in the CW drama Ringer last season. She is repped by ICM Partners and Brillstein Entertainment.
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”.
Thirty years after the end of Mork & Mindy, Oscar and Emmy winner Robin Williams is plotting a return to series television with a comedy written by Emmy winner David E. Kelley. The untitled single-camera comedy, written by The Practice and Ally McBeal creator, is set in the world of advertising and would star Williams as a brilliant ad executive working alongside his daughter.
As he often does, Kelley wrote the script before taking the project out, and CBS is now in talks to pick it up. 20th Century Fox TV, where Kelley was based for 22 years before moving to Warner Bros. TV in 2008, is producing. Kelley’s frequent collaborator Bill D’Elia will serve as an executive producer with him.
A deal with CBS would bring Kelley back to the network where he created his first show to score a best series Emmy win, drama Picket Fences. It was followed by wins for The Practice and Ally McBeal, which made him the only creator to score a best comedy and drama series Emmys in the same year. The ad agency project also would bring Kelley back to the half-hour genre where he co-created his first series, Doogie Howser, MD. Kelley most recently created legal dramedy Harry’s Law, which ran on NBC for two seasons, and medical drama Monday Mornings, which premieres on TNT next year.
Williams, Oscar winner for Good Will Hunting, …
Series cancelled before their time rarely fare well at the Emmys in their last go-around. But NBC’s Harry’s Law defied the odds, landing two noms for its second and final season — the same as last year. Star Kathy Bates earned her second nom in the best actress in a drama series category, and Jean Smart was nominated in the guest actress field for her recurring role as D.A. Roseanna Remmick. David E. Kelley’s legal dramedy was nominated in the same categories last year, winning for guest actor (Paul McCrane). Emmy winner Kelley said he didn’t have any expectations going into Emmy season. “Once you out of sight, you tend to go out of mind,” he said. Nevertheless, “we knew we had first-class actress in Kathy Bates, and Jean Smart had a terrific turn. We just adore Kathy and still feel that she deserved better with the show.”
Bates proved her chops with two Emmy noms today, including a guest-starring nod for her her turn as Charlie Harper’s ghost on Two And A Half Men. “I’m thrilled and honored most particularly about Harry’s Law which has been near and dear to my heart and I miss so much already,” said the actress, who shared her sadness over the cancellation of the series back in May.
EXCLUSIVE: Alfred Molina is set to star in David E. Kelley’s TNT medical drama pilot Chelsea General. Based on CNN chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta’s upcoming novel Monday Mornings, the project follows the lives of five surgeons as they push the limits of their abilities and confront their personal and professional failings. It uses as a 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. Molina will play Dr. Harding Hooten, the steely-eyed Chief of Surgery at Chelsea General, known for his punishing and outwardly-uncaring ways. He heads up a weekly meeting in which doctors are lauded for their good work, or criticized (even fired) for their mistakes. Also cast in the pilot is Bill Irwin (CSI) as Dr. Buck Tierney, a smug doctor who takes himself very seriously and rubs his colleagues the wrong way. Molina and Irwin join previously cast Jamie Bamber and Jennifer Finnigan. This marks a reunion for Molina and Kelley — Molina recently did an arc on Kelley’s NBC legal dramedy Harry’s Law. He also toplined NBC’s spinoff series Law & Order: LA last season. Kelley and Gupta, who is a practicing neurosurgeon, are executive producing Chelsea General; Kelley’s frequent collaborator Bill D’Elia is set to direct the pilot.
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 frequent collaborator Bill D’Elia, who most recently directed the pilot for and executive produces Kelley’s NBC dramedy Harry’s Law, will direct his TNT pilot Chelsea General.
The untitled Williamson project is described as an edge-of-the-seat thriller about a diabolical serial killer who uses technology to create a cult of serial killers, and the FBI agent who finds himself in the middle of it. Siega directed the pilot for ABC’s Charlie’s Angels last season.
Kelley’s Chelsea General is a medical drama based on Sanjay Gupta’s upcoming novel Monday Mornings about surgeons pushing the limits of their abilities and confronting their personal and professional failings. D’Elia has worked on most of Kelley’s series in the past 20 years, since they first worked together on Doogie Howser, M.D.
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.
NBC has given struggling sophomore dramedy Harry’s Law an order for six additional scripts. Because the series was a midseason replacement last year, its original second-season order was for 13 episodes. While short of a back episodic order, the script pickup still represents a vote of confidence for Harry’s Law, which has faced an uphill battle in its new Wednesday 9 PM slot this fall. But while its Live+Same Day adults 18-49 rating has been underwhelming, stuck at a 1.2 for the past two weeks, the show received some good news yesterday when it got a 42% lift in Live+7 to a 1.7 demo rating. Additionally, David E. Kelley’s legal dramedy, which seems perfectly suited for Friday night, draws substantial audiences, most recently averaging 8.5 million viewers in Live+SD. (For premiere week, the series’ viewership grew to a 9.8 million viewers after a 30% DVR bump in Live+7.) NBC brass also has been behind the show, most recently running back-to-back repeats of Harry’s Law in primetime this past Saturday.
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.
PREVIOUS: Had it been picked up to series, NBC’s Wonder Woman pilot would’ve been one of the main attractions at Comic-Con. Instead, scenes from the pilot, created by David E. Kelley, are making the rounds online at the same time the convention is underway in San Diego. While the leaked footage is not from the delivered pilot and is missing special effects and other post-production touches, it gives an idea why NBC passed on the project. Below is the opening chase sequence, whose filming closed portions of Hollywood Blvd., and a boardroom scene, featuring star Adrianne Palicki as Wonder Woman’s alter ego Diana Prince.
UPDATED: Elizabeth Hurley has been tapped for a potentially recurring role in David E. Kelley’s Wonder Woman reboot for NBC starring Adrianne Palicki as the comic book heroine who, in the new version, is a successful corporate executive working to balance all of the elements in her complicated life. Pending visa clearance, British actress Hurley will guest star in the pilot as villain Veronica Cale, the beautiful, highly educated head of one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies in the country who is afflicted with serious deep-seated Wonder Woman envy. Cold Case alumna Tracie Thoms will play the regular role of Etta, Diana Themyscira (Palicki)’s always cheerful personal assistant.
After her standout performance on Fox’s short-lived drama Lone Star, there was a lot of talk about Adrianne Palicki’s star potential. She is on her way to prove it by landing one of the most iconic TV roles, that of Wonder Woman. Friday Night Lights alumna Palicki has been tapped for the title role in NBC’s Wonder Woman pilot, David E. Kelley’s reimagening of the iconic D.C. comic. In the reboot, from Warner Bros. TV, Wonder Woman/Diana Prince (Palicki) is a vigilante crime fighter in L.A. but also a successful corporate executive and a modern woman trying to balance all of the elements of her extraordinary life. Kelley is executive producing the project with long-time collaborator Bill D’Elia. Palicki won the role of Wonder Woman, closely associated with Lynda Carter, who played Diana Prince in the 1970s series, in a decisive manner – she was the only actress invited to test for it. Wonder Woman reunites Palicki with the pilot’s director Jeff Reiner who previously served as director/co-executive producer on Friday Night Lights for the series’ early run on NBC. Palicki, repped by UTA and Anonymous Content, next stars in the feature remake of Dawn.
Wonder Woman will fly this pilot season after all. New NBC entertainment president Bob Greenblatt capped a day of high-profile pilot pickups with a surprise order to David E. Kelley’s Wonder Woman reboot. Additionally, he formally greenlighted another hourlong project from an A-list showrunner, Michael Patrick King’s Mann’s World. Both shows hail from Warner Bros. TV. Meanwhile, the commitment to the J.J. Abrams/WBTV-produced drama Odd Jobs starring Michael Emerson and Terry O’Quinn, whose script came in very late, is being rolled to next season when it will be applied to the same or new Bad Robot project. And Greenblatt has passed on the Josh Schwartz/WBTV supernatural drama Ghost Angeles starring Rachel Bilson.
WBTV took Kelley’s Wonder Woman spec out to the networks in the first week of January. At the time, NBC was the most interested but, with Greenblatt still on the sidelines, the network couldn’t commit to the type of license fee that the studio was seeking in order to do the show Kelley had envisioned, and WBTV decided to shelve the project. With Greenblatt now firmly taking the reins and Kelley just delivering one of the most promising new series for NBC this season, Harry’s Law, NBC stepped up to greenlight Wonder Woman. The project is described as a reinvention of the iconic D.C. comic in which Wonder Woman — aka Diana Prince — is a vigilante crime fighter in …
The TV reboot of Wonder Woman is being postponed. David E. Kelley’s high-profile take on the female superhero has been shelved after not landing a deal at a broadcast network because of what sources called unfortunate timing. The project hails from DC sibling Warner Bros. TV where Kelley is based with an overall deal. The Practice creator Kelley had been looking to do a contemporary take on the World War II-era Amazon, and at the end of September, he met with the DC team, who also had been looking for ways to launch a new Wonder Woman TV franchise. Soon after the meeting, Kelley started working on a pilot script, which, like his other recent projects, was written on spec. The script was reportedly taken out to the broadcast networks on Wednesday night. Fox and ABC passed, while WBTV’s sister network the CW could not afford it. While the project was never considered a fit for Fox and was taken to the network mostly out of courtesy, the ABC pass was more politically motivated. With its empowered female lead, Wonder Woman seems well suited for the network, but word is a potential DC-Marvel clash got in the way. ABC parent Disney acquired Marvel last year for $4 billion, and ABC and Marvel have been busy developing Marvel properties, including a Hulk series with Guillermo del Toro and David Eick and an adaptation of a Marvel female superhero, Jessica Jones, with …
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 are telling me that Kelley’s other show for ABC, Life On Mars, “probably will be ordered” and is “looking like it should be officially picked up any minute.” But insiders say it will have new showrunners: October Road alum Josh Applebaum and André Nemec.