An Ally McBeal Sequel Series Is Apparently Happening, But With Some Big Changes

Calista Flockhart on Ally McBeal
(Image credit: 20th Television)

'90s classics like Full House and Boy Meets World are among the TV shows to have had successful sequel series in recent years, and such projects don't seem to be slowing down anytime soon. In fact, another beloved show from that decade is seemingly making its way back to the small screen. It's been reported that an Ally McBeal sequel series is reportedly in the works, but it's going to have some pretty big changes.

ABC is developing the show, according to Deadline, and the trade further reports that there's going to be an interesting twist to the next chapter in this franchise. The show will apparently follow a young Black woman fresh out of law school, as she gets her first position at a firm. And reportedly, the lead character will be the daughter of Ally McBeal’s district attorney roommate and friend, Renee Raddick. As fans might remember, Lisa Nicole Carson played the role of Renee on the original series. 

The project will be written and executive-produced by producer Karin Gist, who most recently served as an EP on Our Kind of People and Mike. It's said that Gist managed to impress executives at the alphabet network with her fresh take on the world created by David E. Kelley decades ago. Additionally, the now-gestating series is allegedly part of ABC's effort to maintain its track record for creating substantive female-driven dramas.

This wouldn't be the first revival or revamp that the network has pursued over the past several years. The network most famously has Roseanne sequel series The Conners (which will drop its fifth season as part of ABC's 2022 fall schedule). The company also tried to bring back L.A. Law, though the show was ultimately scrapped.

Despite the changes, there's a chance that fans might see OG leading lady Calista Flockhart reprise her role as the titular lawyer. The trade reports that Flockhart has been approached about returning for the Ally McBeal spinoff, which would be her first TV role since making her return as Cat Grant in the Supergirl series finale. Her involvement is reportedly pending until a script is completed but, should she return, she could also serve as EP. It's unknown as to whether any other cast members would return (though I doubt Season 4 star and future Iron Man Robert Downey Jr. would return for it).

One person who definitely won't be involved behind the scenes is David E. Kelley. It's said that with a Black woman in the lead, Kelley felt that said story should be told by Karin Gist. Despite not being involved in the follow-up, Kelley allegedly gave the project his blessing.

The Fox legal dramedy had a successful five-season run from 1997 to 2002 and followed the neurotic titular character as she attempted to contend with life’s many tribulations. At the same time, she practiced law at the same law firm as her ex-boyfriend and his wife. In addition to the lead character, the series focused on the lives of her friends and cohorts, with courtroom trials serving as plot devices. Other notable cast members included Courtney Thorne-Smith, Greg Germann, Jane Krakowski, Lucy Liu, and Portia de Rossi. The series went on to win multiple Emmy awards amongst a slew of other major accolades and has remained popular across the web, greatly due to the memes that it's spawned.

The premise of this Ally McBeal follow-up is, at the very least intriguing, and one would hope that if it gets off the ground, it'll maintain the essence of its predecessor while implementing the big creative changes. If you want to check out every dancing baby meme or outrageous daydream sequence, you can watch all five seasons of the parent show by subscribing to Hulu. And as the fall approaches, check out CinemaBlend's 2022 TV schedule for info on what's premiering and returning in the months to come.

Adreon Patterson
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A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).