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Hollywood Notes

Apr 22, 2002  •  Post A Comment

‘Ally McBeal’ canceled by Fox
Fox has canceled “Ally McBeal,” the quirky series about a female Boston lawyer (Calista Flockhart) whose love life and fantasies divided viewers and critics. The end came just days after the series, which had seen its once formidable ratings slide over the past two seasons and had been on a six-week hiatus, returned with a highly touted two-hour episode, featuring guest star Matthew Perry (“Friends”). The two-hour special got a thumbs down from the Nielsen jury, recording a series low in adults 18 to 49 (3.8 rating/10 share) for an original episode, according to Nielsen Media Research national data. It drew 8.1 million viewers, fourth among the Big 4 networks.
Over the past five years, prolific producer David E. Kelley (“The Practice,” “Boston Public”) wrote almost every episode of the series and will pen the series finale to air during May sweeps. Mr. Kelley also has a new drama in development for next season, “Girls Club,” about three female lawyers sharing a loft in San Francisco, which could be a candidate for the 9 p.m. (ET) Monday vacancy that “Ally” will leave.
Grossi exits Columbia TriStar TV
As expected, Len Grossi has left his post as president of Columbia TriStar Television, saying he wishes to pursue other business opportunities, including providing consulting services to the studio through his company, Baseline Media and Entertainment. His departure from Columbia TriStar comes approximately six months after Sony Pictures Entertainment cut back Columbia TriStar’s television operations and terminated its talent roster and active program development for the broadcast networks. Mr. Grossi is also understood to have had conversations with three diversified media companies about a senior role. And although Baseline is unlikely to participate in the upcoming network upfront, its first TV projects are likely to be in kids TV and in the reality genre, Mr. Grossi said.
CBS’s Zaks takes UPN post
Laurie Zaks, a longtime programming executive at CBS, is moving over to UPN as its senior VP of current programs. She will assume her new post effective Monday. Ms. Zaks will now oversee current programming responsibilities for all comedy and drama series on UPN. Previously, Ms. Zaks served as VP of current programs for CBS, where she oversaw “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “King of Queens” and “The Guardian.” She joined CBS as director, current programs, a position she held for three years.
TV’s leading man, Robert Urich, dies
Actor Robert Urich, best known for his roles in “Vega$,” “Spenser: for Hire,” “S.W.A.T.” and “Soap,” died at the age of 55 after a long battle with cancer. Mr. Urich passed away April 16 at a Los Angeles area hospital. Mr. Urich’s TV career, which is believed to have included the most starring or hosting roles in TV series (19 in all) for one person, began with “Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice” in 1973 and most recently included a role in NBC’s “Emeril.” Mr. Urich won an Emmy for his narration of “U-Boats: Terror on Our Shores,” a documentary, and a Cable ACE award for National Geographic’s “On Assignment,” which he hosted. He is survived by his wife, Heather; his three children; two brothers; a sister; and his mother.
GLAAD honors `Will & Grace,’ `Six Feet’
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation presented GLAAD Media Awards to NBC’s “Will & Grace,” HBO’s “Six Feet Under” and Showtime’s “Resurrection Blvd.” April 13 in Los Angeles. The shows were recognized for “fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community” and the issues affecting it. “Will & Grace” was named outstanding comedy series, “Six Feet Under” was recognized as outstanding drama series, and the “Saliendo (Coming Out)” episode of “Resurrection Blvd.” was selected as outstanding individual episode in a series without a regular gay character. In addition, GLAAD’s special Stephen F. Kolzak Award was presented to “Six Feet Under” creator Alan Ball at the event, which was held at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. The Kolzak award is given to “an openly gay member of the entertainment or media community for his or her work toward eliminating homophobia.