News for 2/13/2005

CBS Turns to Familiar Faces for Pilot Casts

By Nellie Andreeva

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Lisa Gay Hamilton ("The Practice") has come on board the CBS legal drama pilot "Conviction," while "24" alumna Reiko Aylesworth has been cast in the network's medical drama pilot "3 Lbs."

"Conviction" centers on a defense attorney-turned-prosecutor who reconstructs crimes in narrative to get convictions. Hamilton will play an assistant district attorney who reports to him.

Hamilton recently finished a starring turn opposite Phylicia Rashad in the Broadway production of "Gem of the Ocean." She also co-stars in Rodrigo Garcia's indie "Nine Lives," which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.

"3 Lbs." revolves around brain surgeons, one of them played by Aylesworth, who played CTU agent Michelle Dessler Almeida on "24" for two years.

On the pilot pickup front, Fox has greenlighted "Kitchen Confidential," a sitcom executive-produced by "Sex and the City" creator Darren Star.

Based on the autobiography by Anthony Bourdain, executive chef at brasserie Les Halles in New York, "Kitchen" centers on a bad-boy, down-on-his-luck chef who takes over at a top New York restaurant and must fight off all the urges of his former lifestyle.

News for 6/21/2004

The following article appeared in the June 2004 issue of Essence Magazine

News for 4/6/2004

The following article appeared in the March 2004 issue of O, Oprah Magazine

News for 2/28/2004

The following article appeared in the February 2004 issue of Essence Magazine

Lisa Gay Hamilton Q&

News for 7/12/2003

'Practice' Co-Star in Lesbian Foray for Showtime

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Lisa Gay Hamilton, who played attorney Rebecca Washington on ABC's legal drama "The Practice" for the past six years, is set to do a guest arc on Showtime's new drama series "The L World."

The show revolves around the lives and loves of a group of West Hollywood women, including a gay couple (Jennifer Beals, Laurel Holloman). Hamilton will play an artist who has an affair with Beals' character.

News for 6/1/2003

ABC's 'The Practice' Returning Without Top Stars

By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - ABC's veteran legal drama "The Practice" will be back in court this TV season, but with a major cast shake-up the jury is far from agreed on whether the Emmy-winning show from producer David E. Kelley will survive.

Stars Dylan McDermott, Lara Flynn Boyle and four other series regulars are leaving the cast as the show, which has been struggling in the ratings, returns this fall for an eighth season, the network and producers said on Tuesday.

Among the ensemble players who will remain on the show are Camryn Manheim, Michael Badalucco and Steve Harris, while McDermott will reportedly return for some guest appearances.

The cast changes coincide with the 11th-hour deal ABC recently struck with producers of the series -- David E. Kelley Productions and 20th Century Fox Television -- to keep the show on the air for a substantially lower fee.

Under the new pact, ABC agreed to restore "The Practice" to its longtime 10 p.m. Sunday time slot, but the licensing fee received by producers for the show was cut to less than half of the $6 million per episode the network had been paying, according to one source familiar with the deal.

In a statement, Kelley attributed casting changes to "economic and creative realities."

"This is perhaps the finest group of actors and people one could ever hope to work with," he said. "I hope for all of them to recur if possible, and if I'm lucky, I'll get to work with them on future projects as well."

ABC added in its statement: "While we're sorry to see these talented cast members leave the show, we're excited to discover what David has in store for 'The Practice' this fall."

The series, which follows the exploits of the defense attorneys in a Boston law firm, stumbled in the ratings this season after it was moved from Sunday to Monday nights to make room for an ABC remake of "Dragnet."

Exiting with McDermott and Boyle, two of the most recognizable stars from the series, will be original cast members Kelli Williams and Lisa Gay Hamilton, along with Marla Sokoloff, who joined the cast in its second season, and Chyler Leigh, who signed on this past season.

Their departures were especially jarring given that McDermott and four of the others appeared in New York last week at an ABC presentation of its new schedule for advertisers.

"The Practice" is hardly the first ensemble series to face major casting make-overs. Veteran dramas like NBC's "ER" and "Law & Order" and the ABC cop show "NYPD Blue" have gradually replaced many of their stars over the years and still managed to thrive. But it is rare for so many principal players to leave their show all at once.

One source told Reuters the cast shake-up was driven less by financial considerations than by Kelley's desire to bring fresh blood to the show, which won an Emmy for outstanding drama series in 1999. The source added that the producers plan to add several well-known actors to the cast.