Julia Roberts: Armando Gallo/Retna
April 08, 2002 at 04:00 AM EDT

When does the off-camera talent on a television show actually upstage those on screen? When Julia Roberts agrees to executive-produce, naturally. Roberts’ Shoelace Productions is developing the drama ”Queens Supreme” for CBS, starring Annabella Sciorra, Oliver Platt, and Robert Loggia as supreme- court judges in the New York City borough.

Actor Tim Robbins will direct the pilot that ”does for the judicial system what ‘M*A*S*H’ did for the medical world,” explains Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, Roberts’ producing partner. ”As the doctors were operating, they were talking about other things. Here, it won’t really be about the cases, it’ll be about the characters.”

Goldsmith-Thomas insists that Roberts will remain an exec producer only (in fact, it was a friend of Goldsmith-Thomas’, and not the pretty woman, who came up with the ”Queens Supreme” idea): ”Julia wants to create work that she’s proud of, whether she’s in it or not.” Of course, all bets are off come November sweeps.

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