Beyond The TV Grave -- ABC’s Philly

Written Asking My Rights by Bridger Cunningham

Producer Steven Bochco was armed with red-hot transplant Kim Delaney from his hit show NYPD Blue, an intriguing premise and a polished cast, Philly looked like it would sizzle.  Pepper in some then-racy nudity.  So why didn't Philly win an appeal with viewers?  Limited promotions and a push for wholesome television following the tragic 9/11 events.  Were viewers tiring of the ass-baring antics it had known from NYPD Blue for 8 seasons?  Or perhaps ABC committed continual scheduling and production snafus which tanked this promising legal drama.


Image result for philly - kim delaney
Kathleen "Katie" Maguire (Delaney) was a single mother and partner in a law firm with attorney Will Froman (Tom Everett Scott).  She fought an uphill battle defending clients while bitterly fighting off ex-husband Dan Cavanaugh (Kyle Secor), the Deputy for Trials.  As she balances work and motherhood with a needling mother minding her young son, Katie eventually becomes involved with judge Jack Ripley (James Denton, Desperate Housewives).  Kristianna Loken, Diana Maria Riva, Rick Hoffman and Robert Harper rounded out the roster.  Spicing up the capable ensemble was Hill Street Blues alum Veronica Hamel, showcasing Bochco's ability to mine talents from his previous masterpieces in an effort to give the show a solid foundation.


Critics gave the series generally favorable reviews, earning Kim Delaney an invitation to be showcased on the cover of TV Guide for the 2001 fall preview.  Positioned in NYPD Blue's previous Tuesday 10:00 timeslot, Philly held a ripe development bed for growth as the former was pushed up to the 9:00 timeslot for its 9th season.  The move failed to launch a significant lead-in, as Philly finished the season in 45th Place with a 6.90 out of NYPD Blue's 8.18 rating in 24th Place.  Added to the poor ratings was controversial headlines surrounding star Kim Delaney's DUI arrest in early 2002.  ABC allowed the series to air in 22-episode entirety before cancelling it.

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