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15 Critical Facts About ER

There are very few TV shows I recall watching in the ‘90s, but I rarely ever missed ER from the first episode to the end of its 15-year run. We came to know characters and they moved on, leaving other characters we also knew. We followed the lives of the staff over time while rooting for the patients who only appeared that week. But there’s always more to know about a TV production, so you may be interested in things like these:  

1. IT BEGAN AS A MICHAEL CRICHTON MOVIE SCRIPT.

It was about 180 pages long and featured more than 100 characters. Crichton was a medical student at Harvard Medical School in the 1960s, and John Carter was the stand-in for Crichton. Steven Spielberg was an executive producer on the project. That, coupled with the fact that Crichton had recently become a hot property following the success of Jurassic Park, helped the pair successfully negotiate a series order with NBC, after the network initially only agreed to a two-hour movie.

12. SOME ACTORS ASKED TO BE KILLED OFF.

Maura Tierney, who played Dr. Abby Lockhart from 1999 to 2009, asked to be killed off. Instead, she was given a juicy enough storyline that she was okay with sticking around until the end of the series. When Edwards told John Wells that he was leaving the show after eight seasons, Wells said that Dr. Greene was too important a character to just walk away from the show, so he asked Edwards: "'Do you mind if we kill him?' And I was like, 'Nope!' You’ve gotta do what’s best for the show, so that’s okay.” When Kellie Martin decided her character, Lucy Knight, wasn’t working for her, she requested that her departure be made “big.”

Dr. Knight’s death certainly was big, and Dr. Greene’s death still makes me feel all verklempt. Find out a lot more about ER, including the lives that were risked and saved because of the show, at mental_floss.


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