Gary Susman
March 10, 2004 AT 05:00 AM EST

In the massive bloodletting that ended last season of ”The Practice,” only Camryn Manheim, Steve Harris, Michael Badalucco, and newbie Jessica Capshaw were spared pinkslips. They survived to rebuild the law firm around new star James Spader. Turns out not even the new blood — Machiavellian lawyer Spader and tough paralegal Rhona Mitra — could save the eight-year-old drama from its ratings slide. USA Today reports that ABC will cancel the show at the end of the current season. However, series creator David E. Kelley is creating a spinoff due this fall. This time, only Spader, Mitra, and possibly Capshaw will be spared the ax.

To make way for the new show, ”The Practice” will begin a storyline this month [WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD] that sees Spader’s Alan Shore getting fired. As he files a wrongful termination suit, he’ll be recruited by a bigger, more powerful firm, where the new series will be set. No word on whether the new show will get ”The Practice”’s old Sunday slot, but Spader, Mitra, and Capshaw might want to keep their résumés up to date.

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