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Wells eyes another year in the ‘ER’

Exec producer, NBC think about new season

Despite buzz that this could be the final season for “ER,” exec producer John Wells isn’t ready to call it quits just yet.

At Saturday’s swank Hollywood bash marking the NBC medical drama’s 300th episode, Wells told Daily Variety that he’s expecting to begin talks with NBC about another season of the show sometime this month.

Industry thinking has been that NBC might be ready to finally check out of “ER” come May simply because the show’s ratings have declined enough that they don’t justify its large per-episode pricetag. It’s believed the show still commands north of $5 million per hour, about double what a first-year drama costs.

Still, if producer Warner Bros. TV could find a way to reduce the cost of “ER” a bit, NBC might have an incentive to keep “ER” open. Skein still averages a 4 rating in the adults 18-49 demo, above NBC’s overall demo average this season of a 3.4 rating.

Does Wells think a deal can get done?

“I hope so,” he said, adding he and the show’s producers still have some stories to tell.

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