The series' mastermind, David E. Kelley, gathered the cast and crew on the set Wednesday to break the news.
Chris Alexander, a spokesman for 20th Century Fox Television, told The Associated Press, "There were tears. It was emotional."
"It's sad to say goodbye to something you love, even when perhaps it is time," Kelley said in a statement.
The show--about a smart, but emotionally wrecked, lawyer played brilliantly by the weight-challenged Calista Flockhart--was a smash success when it first hit the airwaves, hitting a chord with audiences. It mixed reality with fantasy in a unique and refreshing way. Ally not only saw dancing babies, but she also had to contend with an office full of people more wacky than herself.
Ally McBeal won the Emmy in 1999 for best comedy series but had taken a dip in the ratings in recent years. In the 2000-2001 season, however, it seemed to have a resurgence when Robert Downey Jr. joined the cast as Ally's true love, Larry Paul. He won both Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe awards for his brief stint on the show. Yet Downey's real-life drug saga forced him to leave Ally behind.
"I always thought the series would end after six years," Kelley said at the time.
The final episode will air May 20.