Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

How Clooney Will Check out of `ER' Is Still a Mystery

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

How Clooney Will Check out of `ER' Is Still a Mystery

Article excerpt

PASADENA, Calif. -- When George Clooney leaves NBC's ER, the

show that made him a star, at the end of the upcoming season,

his defection will surely hurt television's most popular drama.

But you won't get John Wells, the producer of ER, to say

anything bad about him.

Clooney "has lost literally millions of dollars" in order to

honor his five-year contract, Wells told members of the

Television Critics Association. "That ethic is something that

has been less and less present over the last few years."

Wells wouldn't reveal the circumstances under which Clooney's

character, pediatrician Doug Ross, will leave at the end of this

season. But he said, "We're not going to take the easy way out.

He's not going to get hit by a bus or suddenly develop

testicular cancer. That's been George's greatest fear for three

years. He keeps saying, `I just don't want testicular cancer.' "

There will be one new addition to ER's cast this season.

Kellie Martin, formerly of Life Goes On, Christy and Crisis

Center, will join the show as third-year medical student Lucy

Knight. Wells said as the cast changes in the future, the

emphasis will continue to be on bringing in younger actors to

portray medical students and interns.

Wells will be turning over day-to-day supervision of ER to

other members of his production company this year while he

concentrates on a new drama for NBC, Trinity. It is the story of

five siblings, members of an Irish-Catholic family living in New

York.

Wells said he does not expect the show, which will air at 9

p.m. Fridays, to explode to the top of the ratings the way ER

did when it debuted in 1994.

In an increasingly crowded competitive environment, it is

getting harder and harder for any show to capture the public's

attention, he said.

But, he said, networks have become more patient in the past

decade. They will give a show time to find and build an

audience, he said. …

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