"Ally McBeal" is getting a new friend: Indie guy. James LeGros James LeGros, the so-called Brad Pitt of the indie film world, is set to join the cast of Fox's hit lawyer show -- a sort-of testosterone reinforcement as series stalwart Gil Bellows prepares to exit.
According to reports today, LeGros will bow on the show in May (as in, yes, the May sweeps). The 37-year-old actor will play a thirtysomething lawyer name of Mark Albert. In USA Today, "Ally" creator David E. Kelley says he sees the LeGros character (and a couple of other new ones still to come) as rocking the boat at the all-too-precious firm of Cage/Fish Associates.
The LeGros casting comes at a time of relative upheaval for the still-young, still-popular series. By the end of this -- its third season -- "Ally McBeal" will have said goodbye to Bellows (as lawyer Billy Thomas) and Courtney Thorne-Smith (as lawyer Georgia Thomas). The status of Lisa Nicole Carson (as prosecutor Renee Radick) is fuzzy. She's still with the show; she just hasn't been on the show much since -- per her own account to the National Enquirer -- she did a stint in a New York psychiatric ward after living like "a one-woman party" around the holidays.
Being an indie dude, LeGros isn't really best known for anything, although he has starred in a number of films, including "Living in Oblivion."
HEATHER'S SPIN: Heather Locklear is terribly happy with "Spin City," is terribly happy about the sitcom's impending move from New York to Los Angeles to accommodate new star Charlie Sheen and is just terribly happy. So a rep for the actress tells the New York Daily News, denying rumbles that Locklear is, um, not terribly happy (or optimistic) about the prospects for the ABC sitcom after Michael J. Fox departs at the end of this season.
CUT OUT: This item was going to be about how Mark Fuhrman, the Los Angeles police detective disgraced on the stand during the O.J. Simpson murder trial, had been hired as a consultant by ABC morning news show "Good Morning America," except now he's not. Protest from staffers nixed the deal that would have seen the ex-cop turned author on the dole as a paid consultant for his expertise on a Connecticut homicide allegedly involving a member of the Kennedy clan, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
SANTA MONICA, CALIF., Feb. 16, 2000 -- Courtney Thorne-Smith and Gil Bellows certainly prove to have much more in common than the estranged couple they portray on "Ally McBeal."
That's right. While news of Bellows' defection from the legal-eagle sitcom Friday still burns hot on the consciousness of the show's execs and producers, another "McBeal" veteran has apparently announced her intention to bow out at the end of the third season.
And the said deserter is none other than Courtney Thorne-Smith, who plays Bellows' onscreen wife, Georgia. And her reason for leaving is really not that much different from what she's doing and has been doing for the past who-knows-how-many-years. You see, Thorne-Smith would like to pursue a career in sitcoms ... but where she's the lead and plays second to no one.
David E. Kelley, creator and producer of the hit Fox show, confirmed Thorne-Smith's exit in USA Today. But her defection might come as the best complimentary plot device given Bellows' (aka Billy, Georgia's husband) third-season bail.
"When [Gil] was going to leave, we knew the storylines for Courtney would probably diminish as well," Kelley tells USA Today. "We were kind of at the end of the run for Billy, and the two of them could see that maybe now is the best time for them to go."
A full-fledged plan to restock the dwindling "Ally McBeal" cast is already in effect. According to Kelley, two lawyers, one male one female, are slated to join McBeal's Boston law firm later this season.
No word yet if Ally's going to fall customarily head-over-heel for the new male addition ... or the new female one, for that matter.
DALY SYNDROME: Carson Daly, the non-too-spectacular VJ for MTV's "Total Request Live," might be spreading his emcee schtick to that of noncable territory.
Daily Variety reports today that Daly is currently in advanced negotiations on a new joint deal with CBS. If sealed, the contract would expand Daly's "personal and production brand" to both MTV and CBS -- which, in teenspeaks, means that Daly will, like, be on CBS and host special shows and stuff like that.
RANDOM BITS: Fox's "Who Wants to Marry a Multimillionaire" has minted its first successful marriage Tuesday night. Rick Rockwell, a San Diego millionaire -- real estate investor, a motivational speaker and owner of homes in both Vancouver, B.C., and the sunny California coastal city -- has chosen one Darva Conger, a Gulf War veteran, from 10 semifinalists.
Fox has picked up five additional episodes of the freshman family drama "Get Real" despite its less-than-satisfactory ratings performance. The show is slated to return to Fox on March 8 at the 9 p.m. PST slot.