Saturday, March 03, 2007

The Wedding Bells - March 03, 2007

Premiering Wednesday, then moving to Fridays; Fox


Tales from the quipped

David E. Kelley has always had a knack for telling funny stories. And he has plenty of funny stories to tell when it comes to The Wedding Bells.

By Eric Kohanik

Executive producer David E.Kelley knows there are some funny wedding stories out there.

In fact, the tale of his own wedding – in 1993, to actress Michelle Pfeiffer – is one of them.

“The funniest part about my wedding is that I had absolutely nothing to do with it,” Kelley quips during a press conference with reporters and TV critics in Los Angeles. “My wife was so sensitive to the idea that paparazzi might invade the process and ruin it that she kept all the details secret from everybody – including me.

“I remember sitting ‘backstage,’ if you can call it that, right before I was about to walk down the aisle – and not having any idea what was about to happen! I thought, ‘I wonder if I’m losing control of my life by getting married.’ But it worked out well.”

It certainly did. So, too, has the way Kelley tends to spin his yarns. His dry personal wit and humour have always struck a favourable chord with me. So have the many quirky elements that have come to be the trademarks of his TV shows.

A former lawyer in Boston, Kelley’s work in the TV world began with him writing for L.A. Law back in the 1980s. He then moved on to create some of the most memorable series on TV: Doogie Howser, M.D., Picket Fences, Chicago Hope, The Practice, Ally McBeal, Boston Public – and, of course, his current TV fixture, Boston Legal.

Kelley’s new project is The Wedding Bells, a comedy-drama that teams Teri Polo, KaDee Strickland and Sarah Jones as the Bell sisters, a trio of wedding planners whose bridal business tends to attract offbeat characters.

Regular viewers of Boston Legal will surely detect some familiar faces in The Wedding Bells. (Look for Delta Burke, who recently did a guest arc on Boston Legal, to pop up in the opener.)

Familiar faces have become a recurring element in Kelley’s series, for a number of reasons. “There are some times a role is written and I know an actor’s rhythms and talents and want to go back because I feels afe with that actor,” he explains. “Other times, it’s just through the casting process and the casting director will say, ‘This particular actor you’ve worked with before is perfect for this role,’ and I’ll agree or won’t agree. But the truth is you take the talent wherever you can find it.”

Well, not everywhere. Although Kelley has drawn on a proven talent pool for The Wedding Bells, his wife never seems to be part of that pool.

Naturally, it’s another funny story.

“Well, I think it’s best that we have divergent paths,” Kelley says, a wry smile creeping across his face. “She’s a bit controlling with her career and what she likes to do. And I’m a bit controlling in mine.

“I like to be senior management – and that never, never happens in her company.”

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