ER

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ER

VIBE – Weekdays from 23 January, 2.25pm

Get in on the ground floor of this iconic, award-winning medical drama as we go back to the very beginning, every weekday on Vibe. At Chicago’s County General Hospital, the difference between life and death rests on split-second decisions. From paediatric resident Dr. Douglas Ross’ (George Clooney) turbulent relationship with Nurse Carol Hathaway (Julianna Margulies) to third-year medical student John Carter’s (Noah Wyle) trial by fire in the emergency room to the exacting demands of smart, driven surgical resident Dr. Peter Benton (Eriq La Salle), these are the origins of the stories that continued for fifteen lauded seasons.

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ER

VIBE – Weeknights from 4 June, 10.30pm (Encores the following day, 6.30pm)

Relive all of the drama, chaos and romance as the final three seasons of the hit medical series airs every weeknight on Vibe.

When life and death often hang in the balance of a split-second decision, the overburdened emergency room of The Chicago County General Hospital is a place where tragedies and miracles happen. In the season premiere, the aftermath of a shootout in the ER continues to ripple through the staff, affecting everyone on duty. The stress of it all causes Abby (Maura Tierney, Liar Liar) to go into premature labour as front desk clerk Jerry clings to life from gunshot wounds.

Cameron Diaz to film Man vs Wild episode

Following the news Jake Gyllenhaal had filmed an episode of Man vs Wild with Bear Grylls, it’s been announced that Cameron Diaz will film an episode also. Grylls confirmed in a recent interview: “She’s agreed to it, which is great. So we’re going to do it in due course.”

Guest stars confirmed for new Gervais comedy

Sting, Steve Carell and Johnny Depp have all been officially confirmed to appear in Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s new comedy series Life’s Too Short. The trio will appear in cameo roles on the sitcom that centres on the life of dwarf actor Warwick Davis.

Project Runway guest judges announced

Kim Kardashian, Christina Ricci, Zoe Saldana and Malin Akerman have all been confirmed to make guest judging appearances on the new season of Project Runway. 

Smallville actor jailed

A former Smallville and ER actor has been sentenced to one year in prison for his role in a drug ring. Sam Jones III pleaded guilty to conspiracy to sell large quantities of the painkiller Oxycodone.

9:30pm Monday, January 25 on TV2

TV2 commemorates the passing of ER: The Final Season, with the last ever episode tonight.

In the finale of the long-running hospital drama, Dr Carter (Noah Wyle) opens a new medical facility for the underprivileged in Chicago, and some old friends from County General turn up to show their support. Arriving back to Chicago are Dr Weaver (Laura Innes), Susan Lewis (Sherry Springfield), Dr Benton (Eriq La Salle) and Elizabeth Corday (Alex Kingston). Elsewhere, Mark Green’s daughter, Rachel (Hallee Hirsh), turns up at Country as a new medical student, and Gates (John Stamos) works on a young teen brought in with alcohol poisoning after playing a deadly drinking game with friends.

Following the finale, ER: Retrospective, screening at 10.30pm, goes behind the scenes of the hugely successful series, in an hour-long special to mark the ending of one of the world’s best-loved medical shows.

9:30pm Monday, January 4 on TV2

It’s Neela’s last day at County General, and she has some big decisions to make, in tonight’s ER: The Final Season.

Preparing for her long-awaited promotion at another hospital, Neela (Parminder Nagra) gets ready to leave the Emergency Room for the final time. However, she finds the prospect of leaving County far from easy, and as her final day plays out, she and Dr Dubenko (Leland Orser) argue about the treatment of two surgical cases.

Neela also finds herself torn between the two men that have been vying for her attention – Australian medic Brenner (David Lyons), and Ray (Shane West). Can her old friend Abby (Maura Tierney) help her make the right choice?

Nagra joined the medical drama in 2003, at the start of the show’s tenth season, which is something that made the imminent ending intimidating for the British-born actress.

“I think the longest amount of time I’ve spent anywhere else was high school,” Nagra explains to USA TV Guide. “So it does feel like graduating – leaving this institution, and going out into the big wide world again. It is a little daunting and nerve-wracking.”

Unlike some of her co-stars, Nagra has decided to step away from acting for a few months.

“There are a few of us going on to do other projects right away. For me, I have my own little project going. I got pregnant!”

Since making her name in the hit movie Bend It Like Beckham (which can be seen on January 2, 8.30pm on TV2), she has spent six years in television. In thinking about her next move, the actress is open to both mediums. She says she would consider, “whatever is good and challenging”.

“I’m not opposed to doing another series at all – a lot of people would think I’m crazy,” Nagra jokes. “But it would be nice to go and do [a movie] for a few months and then say goodbye – being on something for six years is much more difficult.”

If you have missed an episode, full episodes of ER: The Final Season will be available free online 12 hours after the show has aired on TV2. Go to tvnz.co.nz and click the ‘ondemand’ button.

9:30pm Monday, December 14 on TV2

The wait for the most highly anticipated episode of ER: The Final Season, is over – tonight on TV2, George Clooney is back.

In the special episode, Clooney is reunited with his blue scrubs – and his old co-star Juliana Margulies (Carol Hathaway). The couple haven’t been seen in the hospital drama since 2000, when Hathaway left Chicago to live with Ross in Seattle, and it’s there that their story resumes. Neela (Parminder Nagra) and Sam (Linda Cardellini) arrive in the city to collect some organs from a recently deceased young man. However, the operation hits a snag when the man’s grandmother (Susan Sarandon, Shall We Dance) is reluctant to give her permission for organ donation, and it’s up to Ross and Hathaway to convince her otherwise.

Back in Chicago, and unknown to Ross, one of the patients in need of the man’s kidneys is John Carter (Noah Wyle). And, as he lies seriously ill in a hospital across town from County General, Carter is surprised to run into his former mentor, Dr Benton (Eriq La Salle).

When Clooney left the series in 1999, he told the crew he’d miss them, and added, “I might come back for some episodes”. Now, ten years later, that time has finally arrived, though Clooney has remained continually tight-lipped about his return to the show amid the fierce press speculation – and at one point even denied that it was happening at all.

For current cast member Parminder Nagra, the experience on the top-secret closed set was one of the highlights of her acting career. In a scene featuring Linda Cardellini, Nagra and Clooney, she reveals that the two women could barely hide their grins, forcing the director to ask them to tone down their performances. But, Nagra says, “It was an absolute pleasure. Finally, I can say I’ve done a scene with George Clooney”.

The episode also reunites another classic pairing from the show’s past – Eriq La Salle and Noah Wyle, as former mentor and protégé Benton and Carter. La Salle has been on hand to direct an episode of the final season, but this is the first time Dr Benton has been on screen since he briefly appeared at Mark Green’s funeral in season 11.

“There are a lot of things that I do think needed to be addressed,” says La Salle, on his character’s reunion with Carter. “There was something about the relationship that still needed to be explored. I don’t know that we’re going to finalise anything, but it’s nice that we have another chance to deal with certain things.”

If you have missed an episode, full episodes of ER: The Final Season will be available free online 12 hours after the show has aired on TV2. Go to tvnz.co.nz and click the ‘ondemand’ button.

9:30pm Monday, November 23 on TV2

It’s time for another County General legend to revisit the emergency room, as Dr Carter returns, tonight on ER: The Final Season.

While other ER alumni have made passing visits to the halls of County, Carter is back in Chicago and he wants to work – and that means he’s signing on as a trauma doctor, and will be sticking around until the end of the season.

Tonight, it’s Valentine’s Day and Neela (Parminda Nagra) is under the spell of Dr Brenner (David Lyons), but Ray (Shane West) is also competing for her affections from afar. Elsewhere, Banfield (Angela Bassett) refuses to give up on having a baby, but is having trouble convincing her husband of her plan.

Noah Wyle is one of the most high-profile actors returning to the show’s final season, having been involved in the show since its pilot – and he was delighted to be part of the denouement.

“I was one of the original ensemble actors. I stayed longer than most of them, and still keep in touch with most, if not all,” Wyle says. “So it feels very right and symmetrical to come back and have a hand in writing the last chapter.”

Wyle was also on set during the production of another much-anticipated episode this season.

“I actually came back to visit when Anthony [Edwards] was doing his guest appearance. That was the beginning of the surreal experience for me – seeing him wearing those green scrubs again after six or seven years. It was kind of like the intervening time never really happened.”

Speaking about his own return trip to one of the longest running and best-loved series in US TV history, Wyle is very upbeat.

“It’s like going to your closet and finding your favourite pair of jeans from high school and thinking, ‘That’s never gonna fit me’, and you put it on and you go, ‘Woo-hoo, hey, that looks pretty good’,” Wyle says. “It’s remarkably comfortable. It’s like going to a family reunion. It’s very rich, there are lots of emotions.”

Carter, however, is not just in Chicago for business – and he is withholding a secret from his hospital colleagues.

If you have missed an episode, full episodes of ER: The Final Season will be available free online 12 hours after the show has aired on TV2. Go to tvnz.co.nz and click the ‘ondemand’ button.

9:30pm Monday, November 9 on TV2

The history of the emergency room is revealed, as Dr David Morgenstern (William H Macy) returns to County General, this week on ER: The Final Season.

Gates (John Stamos) and Morris (Scott Grimes) treat an older man who was assaulted on the street, unaware that the man is Dr Oliver Kosten (Rance Howard), one of the founding fathers of the Chicago ER. Shortly after he’s brought in, Morgenstern (guest star William H Macy, Fargo) arrives to visit his old mentor, and his former workplace.

William H Macy, who starred in the series during the hit show’s initial few seasons, says that it was “pretty sweet” to be back in the show.

“I’m proud to be part of something that will go down in television history,” he reveals. “It’s quite flattering, not only to have been a part of it originally, but to be asked back for the last season.”

Thinking back on his time on the show, Macy marvels at his co-star’s knack for picking up the medical terminology during filming. He reveals that Noah Wyle and George Clooney (both of whom will be making a return visit to the show shortly) could, “walk the walk, and talk the talk with the real doctors”.

“They knew exactly what had to happen if someone came in with a head trauma,” Macy says. “They had all the terms, they knew everything. Noah could have performed an appendectomy by the time he left the show.”

As the hospital drama reaches its conclusion, it’s only fitting that viewers get a glimpse of the origin of the trauma centre at County, and through a series of flashbacks, we discover how Morgenstern’s mentor, Kosten, fought to set up an emergency service back in the 60s.

“You used to stand a better chance of surviving a gunshot wound in Vietnam, than a car accident in Chicago,” Macy explains. “There was no 911 system, and there was no specialty for trauma – someone came up with that. [The episode] speaks to the evolution of American medicine.”

Elsewhere, while treating a mother thought to have late stage cancer, Dr Brenner (David Lyons) gets a shocking diagnosis from Kosten, and Sam (Linda Cardellini) gets an unexpected visit from her sister (Shannon Woodward).

If you have missed an episode, full episodes of ER: The Final Season will be available free online 12 hours after the show has aired on TV2. Go to tvnz.co.nz and click the ‘ondemand’ button.

9:30pm Monday, October 26 on TV2

Doctor Corday (Alex Kingston) makes an appearance on tonight’s special episode of ER: The Final Season, as we take a trip into the unconscious mind of Neela (Parminda Nagra).

Three outcomes to the same day are cleverly interwoven, as Neela finds herself having a recurring dream about trying to save a young girl with sickle cell anaemia. In each dream, she has conversations with Ray (Shane West), welcomes Brenner (David Lyons) back from Australia, and assists Gates (John Stamos) in trying to save a man who jumped out of a window during his sleep. But each time, it’s the smallest action which affects the outcome in the most profound way.

Elsewhere, as she goes for an attending interview at Duke, she is surprised to see Dr Elizabeth Corday as her interviewer.

Kingston was in Scotland when she got the call asking her to come back. She had been reading in the newspaper that ER was coming to an end, and had heard rumours that they were bringing back some of the cast, but she says it never occurred to her that she would be asked back. “Then I got a call asking if I would, and I jumped on a plane.”

The experience has been incredibly positive for Kingston, who last appeared in the show back in 2004, when her character left Chicago to return to her native England.

“I keep smiling and laughing – it feels so right to be back, it feels so normal,” she says. “In fact [in the years since leaving], to drive past Warner Brothers and know that I’m not driving into the ER studio to go to work, that was weird for me. To be here again is really nice.”

The old team welcomed her back with open arms, according to her co-star, Parminder Nagra. “She’s so pleased to see the old crew,” Nagra says. “You hear these big whoops and hollers springing up from wherever she’s seeing somebody again.”

Nagra was thrilled when she read the script for the episode and Corday’s name appeared. “I just thought the storyline was great – it was such a lovely way to tie her back in, and give the character a life outside of all those seasons she was in,” she explains. “You wonder, ‘where did she go?’ and here we see her in her new life.”

If you have missed an episode, full episodes of ER: The Final Season will be available free online 12 hours after the show has aired on TV2. Go to tvnz.co.nz and click the ‘ondemand’ button.

9:30pm Monday, September 21 on TV2

Tonight on TV2, prepare for goose-bumps as Anthony Edwards makes his much anticipated return to ER with the words, “Welcome to County General. I’m Dr Greene.”

Out for a morning run, Dr Banfield (Angela Bassett) finds herself trying to rescue a three-year-old girl from drowning in a nearby lake, and the incident brings to mind a traumatic visit to the Chicago ER from six years earlier, where a distressing incident brought her into contact with Mark Greene (Edwards).

In the emotionally charged flashback sequences, Dr Greene battles to save the life of Banfield’s young son, at a point when his own health was tragically failing. Fans of the long-running drama can revisit the hospital from years past, with glimpses of other ex-County staff along the way.

Edwards was surprised that he got back into the swing of things so quickly, as he told Associated Press. “It took about a half an hour – and after that, I really felt like I’d never left.”

Edwards’ last appearance in the hit medical drama was in 2002, when his character died of a brain tumour. In his interview with WPEA radio, he explains how he thought that particular door was closed forever.

“I never thought it was possible … Now in retrospect, the fact that they came up with a flashback to bring him back made perfect sense, and it was a great way to return. For me, selfishly, it was great to spend four or five days with old friends.”

Edwards maintains that it was an easy decision to make, when he finally got the call. “How could I say no?” he says. “You spend so much of your life with these people and we have been through so much with each other – births of kids and all that stuff.”

In a kindness that parallels the much-loved character that he plays, he also asked to work for a minimum fee, in exchange for a US$125,000 donation to the AIDS related charity Shoe4Africa, who are constructing a children’s hospital wing in Kenya.

Tune in for a truly memorable episode of the hospital drama, featuring moving performances from Edwards, Bassett and her real-life partner, Courtney B. Vance, who plays her husband, Russell Banfield.

If you have missed an episode, full episodes of ER: The Final Season will be available free online 12 hours after the show has aired on TV2. Go to tvnz.co.nz and click the ‘ondemand’ button.