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ABC defends new ‘Practice’

The significantly revised version of “The Practice” that will air in the fall -- with a half-dozen key cast members leaving, including Dylan McDermott and Lara Flynn Boyle -- is “ ‘The Practice’ that David Kelley envisions,” ABC Television Entertainment Group Chairman Lloyd Braun told reporters Wednesday.

Sources have attributed the changes to a combination of a lower fee from the network and a desire to reinvigorate the show creatively. Still, some have questioned whether ABC knew what it was buying, especially after the network paraded the entire cast onstage for its fall schedule presentation to advertisers last week.

Insiders say ABC couldn’t have known what changes were in store at that time, since the deal to renew the show was finalized less than two days before ABC’s event for media buyers. All Braun would say is that he discussed the situation with Kelley, the program’s creator, and “we are on the same page on this show.”

-- Brian Lowry

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