Wyle Remaining in the "ER"
Thu Aug 14, 1:05 PM ET
By Josh Grossberg
Dr. John Carter's prognosis at County General is looking good.
Noah Wyle, the sole original cast member who has remained on NBC's hit medical drama since it premiered in 1994, has extended his lifespan on the show by another year, reupping for the 2004-05 season, his publicist has confirmed.
"He is definitely on board for an additional season beyond this upcoming season," said Wyle's rep, Eddie Michaels.
The move ends any speculation Wyle might have been looking to hang up the stethoscope soon after the actor requested his schedule on the upcoming fall season of ER be curtailed so he could spend more time with his wife, makeup artist Tracy Warbin, and their nine-month-old son, Owen.
While some reports have indicated that Carter would only be turning up in 16 segments this season as part of his family leave, Michaels says nothing is set and it depends on how the writers map out the story line for Dr. Carter.
"Obviously, he's a very family-oriented guy but it's yet to be determined," said Michaels.
Wyle is, however, expected to return to a full workload and appear in every episode for the 2004-05 season.
"One of my greatest joys on ER has been writing for Noah Wyle," executive producer John Wells told the Hollywood Reporter.
ER, which recently celebrated its 200th episode last spring, has been picked up by NBC for at least two more years.
While continuing to anchor the series' emergency room following the departures of stars George Clooney, Julianna Margulies and Anthony Edwards, Wyle's new contract also calls for him to direct two episodes as well.
To help buttress the show's star power when its resident hunk is not on duty, producers plan to introduce several new characters, including Bend It Like Beckham's Parminder K. Nagra.
Wyle, a five-time Emmy nominee, will be in front of the camera for the first two episodes of the upcoming season. That's when ER will wrap up a two-part cliffhanger that had Dr. Carter and Dr. Luka Kovac pulling a Doctors Without Borders in last season's finale and traveling to the African Congo to treat victims of a civil war.
While Wyle takes some time off to get his house in order, he has managed to moonlight in a few other projects as well.
He's currently in San Francisco filming The Californians, an indie romantic comedy costarring Illeana Douglas and Cloris Leachman that's based on Henry James The Bostonians. He plays a wealthy developer looking to build tract homes on some environmentally sensitive coastal land.
He's also hosting Mavericks, Miracles and Medicine, a four-hour world premiere documentary miniseries airing September 16 through 19 on the History Channel about the real-life doctors both past and present behind some of humanity's greatest medical marvels.
"Actors like to do a variety of things," said Michaels, "but certainly ER has been and is going to be his priority."