'ER' to court former stars for final season

Clooneymarguiles_l We might just have the writers’ strike to thank for bringing George Clooney back to the ER! Yep, you read that right; NBC, facing a shortened development season brought on by the 100-day labor dispute, is in the final stages of renewing ER for a 15th season next fall. The reprieve has prompted executive producers John Wells and David Zabel to make ambitious plans for what (finally) appears to be the drama’s last season. “We want to revisit characters that have existed on the show over the years and say where they are now,” says Zabel of stars like Clooney (Doug) and Julianna Margulies (Carol). “We’d love to get them all back in some way, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to. But we’re gonna try.”

He’s already guaranteed a visit by at least one alumnus: Noah Wyle will reprise his role as Dr. Carter for four episodes next season. Goran Visnjic (Kovac) is also expected to make a return engagement. “The toughest will be getting Tony Edwards because his character is dead,” says Zabel, laughing. That’s a little tricky, but there are ways to do it that we’ve thought about. Even if it were like a lost episode from 1996 featuring him and Wyle.”

In the meantime, Zabel will keep the ER buzzing for the remaining six outings this season by bringing on Aida Turturro (The Sopranos) for a three-week stint as a patient and adding a hot new doc (possibly an unknown actor from Australia) who’s supposed to make Dr. Gates (John Stamos) look like a plain white-coat. “He’ll be a sexy rake, a devil you can’t resist,” explains Zabel, adding, “A dynamic new character has the ability to motivate everybody, though it’s easy to get excited about next season considering it will be the last.”

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  • mariac120

    I watched this show for years when it first cameout,then thanks to TNT after talking a 9yr break I started watching it again and now its going off the air Im so upset this show is reaaly a great show and I will miss seeing it.good luck to all the actors

  • JP

    It used to be a good show, but the last 4 or 5 seasons weren’t enough to keep my attention. Not even my mother’s, who was a huge fan of the show.

  • graeme

    I think they should fight like hell to keep Maura Tierney for the last season. She’s been the heart of the show since she joined the cast and a final season without her would seem strange.

  • mrnewsguy

    My wife and I watched ER faithfully from the pilot episode until about midway through last season. The character turnover was never a problem. That’s life, you know? People come and go. What finally made us turn the show off was the constant preaching. It seems that the writers, more and more, used the show to espouse their own political and social beliefs. Christians and other conservatives were always portrayed as bad, ignorant, stupid, cruel, or otherwise negative. Liberals of all stripes were portrayed as enlightened, open-minded, and morally superior. Nearly the entire regular cast was sexually insatiable, constantly leaping from one empty relationship to another – straight and gay alike. Sure, I get it – that stuff gets ratings. But when ER stopped being about gripping medical drama and solid character development and started being about socio-political grandstanding – that’s when they lost us.

  • Matt Clark

    NOOOOOO! Say it ain’t so ER?! I can’t live without you on Thursday nights! Oh wait, I’ve been watching the re-runs with Noah Wyle and Anthony Edwards on TNT…not this soap opera where everyone is hooking up with Neela or Abby! I would love to see Wyle, Clooney, and Margulies come back…but considering she’s got a new show on Fox, Clooney’s a huge star, and Wyle’s doin’ fine living off of ‘Gamma’s’ money…I doubt it…
    Cheers to ER, you will live on forever via my DVD player!

  • Ron

    I didn’t even know Abby and Luka were off the show yet and they are talking about them making a return engagement.

  • addier

    thank god maura and goran are leaving together and comingback together.if maura stays and they split their chracters i would’ve been so upset that i wasn’t going to watch the show anymore but now they’re leaving together and coming back together gave
    me some hope!

  • Eli

    I seriously didn’t realize this show was still on.

  • Steve

    The overt socialist politics of the writers ruined this show. It used to be fun, edgy and fair. Now it is unwatchable. The vile that has dripped from characters mouths for the last five years is a disgrace.

  • carole

    I like the show now. I don’t see the need to trot out oldtimers. The current cast has done a really good job of creating an interesting drama.

  • Alan

    I can proudly say that I have loyally watched ER from the pilot until today. I haven’t missed a season or left the show at any stage. It’s been an amazing journey watching the show change and develop over the years – I can’t believe it’s been 15 years and I’ve watched virtually every episode! The characters I would like to see return are Deb Chen, Kerry Weaver, obviously Carter, Elizabeth Corday, Luka. Everyone pretty much except Michael Michelle. I’ll miss ER but I agree it’s time to go.

  • skg

    Those staff hookups have been going on since the inception of the show. I can think of many over the years off the top of my head. They lost me when they put that little twit who plays Samantha on. I never understood the allure of her character, never liked the motherhood storyline for her and HATED her with Luka. But, having said that, I have watched more that I missed, and when it’s gone, I will miss it.
    That episode about the pregnant woman who was in labor, then not, then in, then dies and the child survives with Tony Edwards was the best thing I ever saw on TV. That episode is my all time favorite. I sat gripped to the TV for that entire episode.

  • Sina

    I could care less if Doug and Carol came back. Luka and Abby are the show for me. I stopped watching when they broke up and when Luka started to date Samanatha (horrible storyline). Their wedding was marvelous and they truly understand each other. They are the reason for the show so since they are coming back I will watch. I hate most of the characters now like John Stamos character and Nelia, the most annoying whinning character on tv.

  • Chelsea

    I hope to the heavens they can get Clooney and Julianna (isn’t she under contract to Fox, though :( ) back for a guest stint! ER hasn’t been the same since Doug and Carol left. I loooved them so much.

  • Anonymous

    They wanted to last about 15 years probably because they wanted to break “Medical Center’s record for the longest medical drama on televison. 15 years is pretty nice. I am sure that they will go out with a bang.

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