|Looks like Law & Order is calling in the big guns for its latest spinoff, subtitled Trial by Jury. |
Murphy Brown star Candice Bergen and Frasier veteran John Mahoney "have begun talks" with superproducer Dick Wolf about starring roles on the fourth member of his Law & Order franchise, according to Daily Variety.
There has already been buzz is that Carey Lowell (now Mrs. Richard Gere), who portrayed Assistant District Attorney Jamie Ross in seasons seven and eight of the original Law & Order, will reprise that character in the new series, debuting on NBC early next year.
On Friday, a spokesperson for Wolf would only say, "No deal is signed, and it's too premature to discuss casting."
It is expected that Jerry Orbach--having left Law & Order at the end of this season after playing Detective Lenny Briscoe since the show's third season in 1992--will be part of the new series, which is being executive produced by writer Walon Green, who worked with Wolf on both the original Law & Order and the failed L.A. Dragnet.
Variety reports that Wolf's plan is to sign up actors to play judges, who appear for multi-episode arcs, but not necessarily the entire 22-episode season. Bergen is, reportedly, in line for one of these bench jobs. Mahoney could also be asked to sit and adjudicate, but is possibly being considered for a more central role.
Bergen, now 58, won five Emmys (and declined a chance at another) for her role as the flamboyantly cranky news anchor in Murphy Brown, which aired for 10 seasons on CBS. Since the series ended in 1998, she has played character roles in a number of feature films, including Miss Congeniality, and guest-starred as a fashion editor in Sex and the City and as herself in Will & Grace. Additionally, she briefly hosted two short-lived estrogen-oriented cable series Exhale with Candice Bergen and Candice Checks It Out.
British-born Mahoney, now 63, was Martin Crane, the cranky blue-collar dad to the quirky shrinks Frasier and Niles, on Frasier, which just ended its 11-year run on NBC. Prior to that success he was cast as Dr. Alex McMurtry on The Human Factor, a drama series produced by Wolf, which CBS canceled after five episodes in 1992.