In Depth

David E. Kelley Legal Series Headed to NBC

NBC is back in business with David E. Kelley, landing the prolific writer-producer’s first project under his new deal at Warner Bros. Television.

The network has made a series commitment to Mr. Kelley’s concept, a one-hour legal-themed series about a father and daughter who are both lawyers, according to sources familiar with the negotiations. The series will have a strong comedic bent.




Mr. Kelley first rose to prominence as a writer-producer on the 1980s NBC legal hit “L.A. Law,” which was created by Steven Bochco. “Law” was one of the tentpoles of the Peacock’s then-blockbuster Thursday lineup, which at the time included series such as “The Cosby Show” and “Cheers.”

NBC will have a big hole in its Thursday night lineup next fall, with “ER” scheduled to end its long run on the network next spring. Mr. Kelley’s series would have to be considered a strong contender for the time slot, though NBC obviously won’t make any final decisions about scheduling until next spring.

The new NBC legal project is being developed as Mr. Kelley wraps production on his current ABC legal dramedy, “Boston Legal.”

Mr. Kelley’s representatives at the Endeavor Agency have been quietly talking up the new project since around the time of last month’s Emmys, signaling to networks that the writer was working on a new concept. Several networks expressed strong interest in the series, but NBC ulimately stepped up to land the project.

Mr. Kelley signed a multiyear deal with Warner Bros. in May, ending a 22-year relationship with 20th Century Fox TV.

The writer-producer has created a slew of long-running series, including “Doogie Howser, M.D.” (with Mr. Bochco), “Picket Fences,” “Chicago Hope,” “Ally McBeal,” “Boston Public” and “The Practice.”