Kelley's legal eagle lands at NBC

Series commitment marks creator's return to network home of 'L.A. Law'

NBC has won the David E. Kelley sweepstakes. The network has given a series commitment to the new legal dramedy from the Emmy-winning creator of ABC's "The Practice" and Fox's "Ally McBeal."

The Warner Bros. TV-produced project, which Kelley penned on spec, is said to be set in a Chicago law firm and revolves around an aging partner and his daughter who works with him as well as a host of eccentric characters around them.

It was pitched to CBS and NBC this month, with both networks responding strongly. NBC made an aggressive play, landing the show with a pilot order and a multimillion-dollar penalty if the project doesn't go to series.

The rich deal marks Kelley's return to NBC, where he worked on the Emmy-winning "L.A. Law" 20 years ago. It also marks the prolific writer-producer's first project for WBTV, where he set up shop in May after more than two decades at 20th TV.

Kelley is wrapping production on the final 13 episodes of the ABC legal dramedy "Boston Legal."

NBC, which is facing the departure of the veteran "ER," hasn't had a lot of traction with newer dramas, the freshmen "Knight Rider" and "My Own Worst Enemy" and the sophomores "Chuck," "Life" and "Lipstick Jungle."

In addition to the Kelley project, the network also has another midseason drama prospect from an A-list WBTV producer: John Wells' cop drama "LAPD."

Kelley is repped by Endeavor, Marty Adelstein and attorney Michael Gendler. (partialdiff)
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