Following in the path of fellow successful freshman series Blue Bloods, USA Network’s Fairly Legal is returning for a second season absent its showrunner. Creator and executive producer Michael Sardo has announced he’s leaving the show, likely to focus on his new Lifetime project with Carrie-Ann Moss. He’s currently in negotiations to stay on in some capacity but whatever his role, Sardo likely won’t have a strong hand in shaping Fairly Legal’s direction moving forward.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Peter Ocko, co-executive producer of The Office, will immediately take over the day-to-day operations on Fairly Legal. He previously served as an executive producer on the acclaimed but underseen Pushing Daisies.

Earlier this month, Fairly Legal was given a thirteen episode order, and this behind the scenes shake-up shouldn’t alter its target season premiere date of sometime early in 2012. The only real question is whether Peter Ocko will have a different vision for the show than Michael Sardo. The history of television is littered with numerous showrunner shake-ups. I’m not sure there has ever been one that hasn’t somehow affected the program, but they can run the gamut between slight alterations and a completely new direction. With more than three and a half million viewers regularly tuning in, it seems likely viewers will only be in for a few slight alterations, but there’s no way to know until we start seeing new episodes.

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