From Ally McBeal to Ann Coulter?

Well, probably not. But Calista Flockhart, formally of Ally McBeal, will be playing a conservative pundit on a new ABC series debuting this fall. “Brothers & Sisters” will follow “Desperate Houswives” and will also feature Sally Field as Flockhart’s mother.

Asked to describe the pundit, producer Ken Olin (formerly a star of “Thirty Something’) said, “She’s not Ann Coulter. She’s not insane.”

“She’s not insane.” That’s a nice qualification to differentiate the show’s character from Coulter’s lack of same. But I think the show is missing an opportunity. Drama thrives on conflict and who is more conflicting than Coultergeist? The potential for story lines that drip with dramatic tension is enormous. The character’s rabid antogonism, unbounded ego, and even gender confusion, could give the show some powerful ammunition for salacious entertainment.

And while drama thrives on conflict, television thrives on controversy. The closer this show’s character is alligned with Coulter, the more promotion juice they could squeeze out of it. If ABC is going to be too timid to run with this, I hope somebody else will do it.