American legal drama The Practice has been cancelled after eight seasons - but TV bosses have already given the green light to a spin-off series.

The show - created by DAVID E KELLEY - will not return for a ninth season this autumn (04), and its season finale on 16 May (04) will end the series.

However, the final episodes of The Practice will set up the spin-off programme, which has been granted a 22-episode order by US network ABC.

The eighth season almost didn't happen - cast members like LARA FLYNN BOYLE and Dylan McDermott were sacked in an effort to cut costs, after a drop in ratings.

ABC boss SUSAN LYNE says, "David, with the help of a truly extraordinary cast, accomplished the impossible this season: they breathed new life into a show that had been on the air for seven years.

"Now it's time to take this series to the next level by moving it to a bigger, more complex law firm where David can introduce new characters and a broader range of legal and personal stories."

12/03/2004 09:38