Cast Reunion for 'Ally McBeal' Finale

04/30/2002 AT 01:00 PM EDT

"Ally McBeal" is planning to go out with a bang, promos for the Fox show indicated Monday night. Adding to the news, the Los Angeles Times reported the following morning that the David E. Kelley program starring Calista Flockhart, 37, as the romantically challenged legal eagle will bring back three departed members of the original cast for its May 20 finale -- including one whose character is deceased. (One name that didn't crop up on the returns list is Robert Downey Jr., 37, whose romantic role was essentially written out after his recent problems involving drugs.) As for those who will reappear: the return of Gil Bellows, 34, as Ally's former lover and colleague, Billy, will hardly come as a shock to fans of the series, notes the paper, given that he has made several appearances as a ghost since Billy died two years ago. Also returning for the finale, to be titled -- aptly -- "Bygones," will be Courtney Thorne-Smith, 34, who played Billy's wife, Georgia, and Lisa Nicole Carson, 32, who played Ally's roommate, Renee. Singer Barry White, 57, will also appear. On the subject of "Ally," losing the program after five years delivers a blow to Fox, notes MediaWeek magazine on its Web site, given that the network is also losing another mainstay, "The X-Files." Fox's Wednesday night lineup delivers mixed results to the network, says the trade journal, while Thursday's and Friday's schedules are in need of major repair. Also, according to MediaWeek, the midseason comedies "That'80s Show," "Andy Richter Controls the Universe" and "Greg the Bunny" have large question marks hanging over them, while new winners appear to be "Bernie Mac" and that favorite of critics, "24." Established hits are "Cops" and "America's Most Wanted," to say nothing of the all-time champs, "The Simpsons" and "Malcolm in the Middle."
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