‘Ally McBeal’ Sequel Series in Works at ABC, Black Female Lead


Ally McBeal‘s TV status is no longer bygones.

ABC is developing a sequel series to the quirky ’90s legal dramedy, with a Black female lead taking over for Calista Flockhart’s title character, our sister site Deadline reports.

The new take on Ally McBeal will focus on a young Black woman who joins the current incarnation of the Cage & Fish law firm straight out of law school — and who is also reportedly the daughter of Ally’s old roommate Renee, played by Lisa Nicole Carson on the original series. (Flockhart has been approached about reprising her role and serving as an executive producer, but no deals have been made yet.)

Karin Gist, who wrote for Grey’s Anatomy and Revenge before serving as showrunner on Fox’s Our Kind of People and ABC’s mixed-ish, will write the pilot and serve as an EP as well. Original series creator David E. Kelley is not involved in the new series but has reportedly given it his blessing; he’s said in the past if Ally were to come back, he’d want a woman to write it.

Ally McBeal debuted in 1997 on Fox, starring Flockhart as a hopelessly romantic young lawyer at a top Boston firm. It quickly became a cultural sensation, breaking boundaries with its then-unique mix of comedy and drama and its bizarre CGI flourishes that represented Ally’s inner hopes and fears — like the infamous “Dancing Baby” that appeared when her biological clock was ticking. Ally won the Emmy for best comedy series in 1999 along with a pair of Golden Globes, ultimately running for five seasons. RustWire first reported that a revival was in the works last year.