'Ally McBeal' May Be Latest Classic Series With a Revival

Ally McBeal could be the next beloved 1990s series to get a revival in the streaming era. A limited series revival is reportedly in the early stages of development, with star Calista Flockhart returning in the title role. The original Ally McBeal aired on Fox from 1997 to 2002 and was created by David E. Kelley.

Flockhart is being "eyed" to reprise her role in the new series, according to TVLine. Kelley would join as an executive producer, but would not serve as showrunner. No network or streamer is attached to the project, but Hulu could be a potential landing spot. The streaming platform is owned by Disney, which also now owns series producer and distributor 20th Television. All five seasons of the original Ally McBeal are also on Hulu.

In a 2018 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Kelley said Ally McBeal was one of the only shows he would be interested in rebooting or revisiting. However, he said he would rather have a woman serve as showrunner. "I do think because of the gender politics that were so part and parcel of Ally McBeal, it's become very relevant and ripe," the prolific television producer said at the time. "So, I'd be open to the idea of Ally McBeal being done again, but I don't think it should be done by me. If it were going to be done, it really should be done by a woman. If it's going to be new, it should be new and different. And I did it: 100 hours."

Ally McBeal starred Flockhart in the title role, a lawyer who joins the fictional Boston law firm Cage and Fish, which is co-owned by a law school classmate. It was famous for pushing sexual boundaries in the workplace, as lawyers and secretaries often dated each other, which would not be allowed in the Me Too era. The original main cast included Courtney Thorne-Smith, Greg Germann, Lisa Nicole Carson, Jane Krakowski, Peter MacNicol, and Gil Bellows. Lucy Liu, Portia de Rossi, Vonda Shepard, and James LeGros also starred. Robert Downey Jr. was a main cast member in Season 4. The fifth and final season also included Regina Hall, James Marsden, and Hayden Panettiere.

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The series was critically acclaimed at the time, winning the Outstanding Comedy Series Emmy in 1999 and the Best Series - Musical or Comedy Golden Globe in 1997. Flockhart also won a Golden Globe in 1997. Ally McBeal also featured crossovers with Kelley's other Boston-set legal drama, The Practice.