No More Thorne-Smith in Ally’s Side

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.