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Thursday, 18 April, 2002, 09:53 GMT 10:53 UK
Ally McBeal dropped
Calista Flockhart
Calista Flockhart starred as Boston lawyer McBeal
US series Ally McBeal is to be dropped when the current series ends its run, the programme's makers have said.

The final episode of the series, which has been slipping in the ratings, will air on 20 May, ending a five-year run.

"It's sad to say goodbye to something you love, even when perhaps it is time," Ally McBeal's creator, David E Kelley, said in a statement.

The series, made by 20th Century Fox Television, won an Emmy for best comedy series in 1999.

Kelley, a former Boston lawyer and the husband of actress Michelle Pfeiffer, had a hand in most of the Ally McBeal scripts.

The show starred Calista Flockhart as a Boston lawyer who expends as much energy on her love life as she does on her cases.

Initially, it seemed to be able to do no wrong, attracting acres of coverage and comment in press in the US and in the UK.

Jon Bon Jovi
Jon Bon Jovi has played McBeal's love interest

It pioneered a distinctive mix of humour and romance, reality and fantasy, with 30-something Flockhart tormented by visions of a giant, dancing baby.

But over its second and third, series, rumours of weight problems began to dog Flockhart, and the show seemed to be losing its sparkle.

Regulars Gil Bellows and Courtney Thorne-Smith both left to pursue other projects.

The show was revitalised by the introduction in the fourth series of troubled star Robert Downey Jr as Ally's love interest.

However, Downey's personal problems and arrests for drug-related offences eventually got him dropped from the series.

Barry Humphries
Barry Humphries: The man behind Dame Edna

After that, Jon Bon Jovi was drafted in as a love interest.

Other guest stars have included Barry Humphries's character Dame Edna Everage, Matthew Perry, Mariah Carey, Sir Elton John, Barry White and Sting.

In the UK, Ally McBeal screens on Channel 4 and its youth-oriented digital station, E4.

Channel 4 airs the programmes about half a season behind the US. It has yet to start showing the fifth series.

E4 is only about nine weeks behind the US.

See also:

17 Sep 01 | TV and Radio
Ally McBeal spot for Sir Elton
22 Oct 01 | Entertainment
Carey 'to star' in Ally McBeal
24 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Heche 'to join Ally McBeal'
27 Apr 01 | TV and Radio
Ally creator 'furious' at Downey Jr
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