Boston Legal returning to court

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Boston Legal will be back for a fifth season, but it wasn't easy.

The legal dramedy from superproducer David E. Kelley (Ally McBeal) was given another season by ABC, but its future had to do with the promise of another show and not its own, according to Variety.

Kelley owns the rights to the show Life on Mars, which ABC dearly wants to see in its lineup. The producer stood his ground and allegedly told ABC that if it wants Mars, it's going to have to green-light another season of Boston Legal. That's what we call hardball, folks.

Under the terms of the agreement, Kelley will stick with Boston Legal, depart Mars, and hand over the reigns to Mars to ABC. The network is expected to install producers from October Road to handle show-running duties on Life on Mars.

Boston Legal was not considered a lock for renewal this season. It carries only a small but loyal and upper-class audience.

Life on Mars is another adaptation of a British drama series, and follows a detective who is somehow transported back to the 1970s. ABC is expected to pick up the series for a full season.

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