Stephen M. Silverman
May 20, 2003 03:24 PM

For those who think there are too many lawyers in the world, some news: Dylan McDermott, Lara Flynn Boyle, Kelli Williams, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Marla Sokoloff and Chyler Leigh are all leaving “The Practice” after David E. Kelley Productions and 20th Century Fox TV did not pick up their options, says the Hollywood Reporter.

The dramatic downsizing of the Boston law firm of Donnell, Young, Dole & Flutt is being blamed on the drastic reduction — an estimated 50 percent — of the licensing fee paid by ABC for the Emmy-winning series. The Reporter also says that Kelley wishes to follow the lead of “Law & Order” and “ER,” which have revolving doors when it comes to casting.

“Due to economic and creative realities, many key people will not be returning, including Dylan,” Kelley said Monday. “It hurts, professionally and personally. This is perhaps the finest group of actors and people one could ever hope to work with; 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. I’m indebted to each and every one of them.”

McDermott — who, like Boyle has been with the 7-year-old series from the start — will guest-star in at least four episodes next season, according to the trade paper. But it is not known whether the others will ever show up again.

Those regulars who will remain with the show are Emmy winners Camryn Manheim and Michael Badalucco, as well as Steve Harris and Jessica Capshaw.

After being shifted to Monday nights this past season — which caused ratings to tumble — “The Practice” is being moved back to its traditional timeslot, Sundays at 10 p.m., for next season.

Next season almost didn’t happen. Fearing that his show might not get picked up, Kelley met with the cast and wrote a season-ending episode, “Goodbye,” that could also double as a series finale.

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