The Plot Thickens Calista

*Special note: This is most likely not true, so take it for what it is (a tabloid).

Ally producers are covering up Calista Flockhart's weight problems by making her pregnant in the show

In an attempt to disguise Calista Flockhart's falling weight, Ally McBeal producer David E. Kelley has come up with a clever diversion - he's going to make her character pregnant. The father of the baby will be the show's newcomer, former Melrose Place mega-spunk Antonio Sabato Jnr, who will refuse to marry the perennially single lawyer, despite the fact she's carrying his child. The plot lines are already being written and will apparently include more dancing baby appearances and rumours that Ally deliberately got pregnant.

Ally executives, concerned by the persistent rumours Calista is suffering from an eating disorder, will pile the kilos on her slight frame with plenty of realistic padding - like the "pregnant dress" that her pesky assistant Elaine (Jane Krakowski) invented. Word is that Calista - who was rumoured to be quitting the show to concentrate on her film and stage career - has just signed a five-year deal with Fox to continue starring in the show, and is apparently right behind the idea.

In real life, Calista says she'd love to become a mother and thinks being a single mum is a great ratings boost. "Calista likes the idea of being a working mother and lawyer," notes one of the show's producers. "Lots of her friends in real life, like Rosie O'Donnell, Madonna and David Kelley's wife Michelle Pfeiffer, became single working mothers. Michelle adopted a baby - and then married Kelley and had one of her own."

Calista understands being preoccupied with finding a boyfriend and having maternal feelings. "I identify with the biological clock ticking," says Calista, "that's my concern, and not only people in showbusiness have that concern. Women all over America wonder how to have a baby and a career. My career is zooming, and so I think marriage or motherhood is not timely for me. But I can understand that Ally hits a nerve with some women who consider her a role model."

The storyline would further fuel the passion between Ally and her old boyfriend Billy. With Ally expecting, he and all the guys on the show will view her very differently - and all want to become surrogate fathers. "It could give the show a terrific new lease of life," says the source, "although the series is still one of the hottest in America." The only down side to the pregnancy idea, say studio officials, is that Ally will have to start wearing longer skirts. "It would look a little bizarre for a pregnant Ally to waltz into court with a swollen belly and in a micro-mini."

Calista has tried her best to divert attention from her tiny 44kg frame. "I try to have a sense of humour," she says, "but, you know, it's embarrassing because people are staring at me, watching everything I put in my mouth. I do eat a lot. Bacon, eggs, hash browns, tomato juice. But what are you going to do? I guess it's all part of the package."

But even though Ally is busy finding herself a boyfriend and having a baby, Calista, 34, remains single. Despite rumoured affairs with There's Something About Mary star Ben Stiller and Ally McBeal's executive producer Jeffrey Kramer, she has yet to settle down with any one guy. "I think because I'm playing Ally McBeal that everyone assumes that I'm preoccupied with finding a boyfriend. But I'm really not," she insists, "There is, every now and again, that midnight sweat of 'Oh God! I really am alone!' But I'm very happy being alone, and if I found the right person I'd be happy being with somebody. I don't need a man and I don't need a family ..." she pauses, "but that doesn't mean I don't want one."