Ally McBeal's Gil Bellows, whose character Billy has swung from a straight-and-narrow lawyer and husband to a bleached-blond, woman-hating, chauvinist pig this season, is leaving the hit Fox show.
"Gil [Billy] will be leaving the firm," says Fox publicist Jonathan Hogan. "He will be back as a recurring character next season. We'll wait and see how it plays out."
Gossip maven Liz Smith, who broke the story in her column today, says Bellows wants to pursue other opportunities in film and TV. Most recently, he appeared with Vanessa Williams in the Lifetime movie The Courage to Love and will be seen opposite Sharon Stone in the fall romantic drama Beautiful Joe.
On the show, Bellows plays Billy Thomas, the ex-boyfriend of Ally (Calista Flockhart) and the husband of Georgia (Courtney Thorne-Smith).
In the past season, Billy's cheated on his wife (which led to their separation), hired a set of models to escort him to meetings, bleached his hair and decided all women should stay at home to have children and serve the sexual needs of their husbands.
Fox is keeping mum on how Billy's exit will be handled. The most recent storyline, though, may hold a clue: In Monday's episode, Georgia sued the firm for breaking up her marriage.
In other Ally news, the mysterious illness plaguing star Lisa Nicole Carson has been revealed--by the Star tabloid (so take the report with a grain of salt).
Reports last week said Carson was recovering at home after a two-week hospital stay. In an exclusive phone interview with Star, Carson says her hospitalization was the result of a bad drug trip.
"I smoked a joint that was laced with PCP. I think the joint may have triggered a collapse in my nervous system," she allegedly said from a phone at the New York hospital where she was being treated. "Now I'm here drinking lots and lots of water and trying to get the drugs out of my system."
The actress also revealed a history of mental illness to the tab. "I've been called schizoid, manic depressive, crazy, since I came out of the womb," Carson continued. "I'm a super-bad bitch."
Carson also purportedly told the Star that her future on Ally McBeal was uncertain. Meanwhile, Carson's publicist, Pat Kingsley, said she had no knowledge of Carson ever calling the tabloid. Kingsley also said Carson would be back on the Ally set in two weeks.