David E. Kelley's on a roll. And so are several heads on his TV shows.
For the third time in recent weeks, the über-producer has pink-slipped a core character from one of his series. This time around, comic actor Brian Haley, who plays one of three adult siblings heading up Kelley's upcoming dramedy The Brotherhood of Poland, N.H., has been handed his walking papers. The move was attributed to some last-minute creative tinkering by Kelly.
The last to be cast in CBS' new fall series, Haley was tapped by Kelley for the role of Waylon, brother to the characters played by veteran thesps Randy Quaid , aka Cousin Eddie from the Vacation movies and older brother of Dennis, and John Carroll Lynch, a Minnesota native perhaps most memorable for his turn in Fargo.
A standup comic-turned-actor, Haley, 40, costarred on NBC's Wings for a season and was in CBS' ill-fated 1998 sitcom Maggie Winters with Faith Ford. His film credits include Pearl Harbor, The Man Who Wasn't There and Mars Attacks!,
No immediate word on who will replace Haley, but Kelley is recasting as you read this.
Kelley says there was no ill will regarding his decision to axe Haley, apparently deciding, as producers sometimes do, that the part Haley played needed to be "reconceived" after shooting the pilot.
"Brian's work was exceptional in the pilot, and we hope to be able to bring him back in another role at another time in the future," Kelley said in a statement.
So much for brotherhood.
From an actor's perspective, working with Kelley doesn't necessarily guarantee long-term job security.
Last month the producer expelled four freshman castmembers from Fox's gritty high school drama Boston Public--ex-New Kid on the Block Joey McIntyre, Scary Movie costar Jon Abrams, Cara DeLizia and China Shavers--after determining which characters had "run their course," according to a Fox spokesperson.
And the week before that, Kelley dismissed six key players in ABC's formerly high-rated legal drama The Practice: Dylan McDermott, Lara Flynn Boyle, Kelli Williams, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Chyler Leigh and Marla Sokoloff. They were let go in an effort to not only revitalize the storylines, but, more importaly to ABC execs, curb production costs.