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‘Practice’ actress lined up for spinoff sitcom

Ellen Gray Philadelphia Daily News

ABC’S “The Practice” may be on its way out, but Camryn Manheim’s not going away quietly.

Sunday’s finale of the David E. Kelley drama is expected to leave Manheim’s character, Ellenor Frutt, in limbo between the show’s old firm of criminal-defense lawyers — which is closing — and the civil-law firm headed by Denny Crane (William Shatner) that will be the focus of the so-far-untitled “Practice” spinoff.

Given that Ellenor recently knocked the daylights out of one of Crane’s lawyers (played by guest star Rebecca De Mornay), she seems an unlikely contender to join her buddy, Alan Shore (James Spader), at Crane, Poole & Schmidt.

Not to worry. She’s lined up a sitcom.

“Frasier” writer Dan O’Shannon is pitching a half-hour comedy for ABC’s midseason that would have Ellenor moving back home to live with her two sisters and perhaps teach at a local college.

Taking a character from a drama and spinning her into a comedy has never really been done, Manheim says.

“I haven’t seen the script yet, but I’m really looking forward to it,” she said.

Manheim said she hoped Ellenor would finally get to show “a little spontaneity and a little fun,” something she seldom got to do on “The Practice.”

“We didn’t have many occasions to be funny in our eight years,” said Kelley. “When clients are on trial for murder, it’s tough to get the giggles.”

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