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Wednesday, 29 November, 2000, 11:25 GMT
Downey Jr arrest boosts ratings
Calista Flockhart with Robert Downey Jr as Larry Paul
Calista Flockhart with Robert Downey Jr as Larry Paul
Actor Robert Downey Jr returned to the set of Ally McBeal on Tuesday three days after his latest arrest on drug charges.

The news of his arrest boosted the audience figures for Monday's US episode to their highest point for eight months, at more than 14 million.

"He's concentrating on work and himself," said spokesman Alan Nierob. "He's a recovering addict.

"He's working hard at his sobriety as he has for the last 18 months."

Robert Downey Jr
The actor was arrested in Palm Springs on Saturday
As the new love interest for Ally McBeal star Calista Flockhart, Downey had completed eight planned episodes.

He was signed to do two more after viewers and television critics agreed he was a boost to the four-year-old series.

According to Nierob, producer David E Kelly has fully backed Downey's return to the show.

The network, however, has taken a more pragmatic approach.

"We certainly have our wishes and prayers with him but we have a television show to produce," said Gail Berman, Fox's programming chief.

Downey was arrested in Palm Springs on Saturday on allegations of drug possession, being under the influence of a controlled substance and committing a felony while free on bail.

He was released on Sunday on $15,000 (12,000) bail and is scheduled to appear in court on 27 December.

An anonymous 911 call led police investigators to a room at the Merv Griffin's Resort Hotel and Givenchy Spa, where they allegedly found Downey with cocaine and methamphetamine.

The arrest came three months after the 35-year-old actor was freed from prison on a previous drugs conviction.

Following his release, Downey made a speedy comeback in Ally McBeal and signed for the film American Sweethearts.

He also agreed to play Hamlet on stage in January in a production in Los Angeles, to be directed by Mel Gibson.

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See also:

06 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Downey Jr to release McBeal songs
11 Aug 00 | Entertainment
Downey Jr lands McBeal role
03 Aug 00 | Entertainment
Downey Jr freed from prison
27 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Robert Downey Jr arrested
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