Liu Leaving Ally

Ally McBeal will soon be Ling-free. According to various media reports, Lucy Liu, who portrays the diva-like Ling Woo, will only appear in four episodes of the David E. Kelley series next season.

Liu's stock in Hollywood is rising, thanks to her sleek turn in the smash Charlie's Angels, and, like her fellow angelic crime-fighters, she could see a big raise for a sequel to the 2000 hit. However, reports from the set had Liu battling it out with co-star Bill Murray and generally being difficult.

One insider tells the New York Daily News that "David [E. Kelley] can't wait to get rid of her," but the actress' spokesman insists that the parting of ways is amicable.

"I am especially grateful to David for giving me this incredible opportunity and for making it possible for me to do the other projects I've been able to do over the past two years," said Liu in a statement released by her spokesman. A Fox spokesman indicated that Liu might return for an episode or two, "depending on the story line."

James LeGros will no longer be a regular cast member, and neither will Lisa Nicole Carson, reports ET. Carson missed several episodes last season due to an undisclosed illness. Robert Downey Jr., who received an Emmy nomination for his role as Calista Flockhart's love interest, has been written out of the show following his April arrest and won't be back.

New drop-ins already arranged for the 2001-02 season of the legal dramedy include X-Men's James Marsden and Scary Movie's Regina Hall.