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‘ER’ stabilizes at NBC

Popular hospital drama to return in Fall

County General Hospital probably won’t be shutting down the “ER” this year after all.

NBC has been talking with Warner Bros. TV about keeping the long-running medical drama in place for one more year (Daily Variety, Feb. 12). Peacock and the studio are said to be close to an agreement in which a reduction on “ER’s” license fee could keep the show going for a 15th season.

“ER” was expected to end its lengthy run this year, but the writers’ strike and work stoppage put a crimp in those plans. Now that production has resumed, “ER” is delivering between four and six more segs this season. But rather than end on such a short note, NBC may now want to make some noise by bringing “ER” back for one final farewell season.

Still unclear: how many episodes NBC may license next season.

Among total viewers, “ER” was the No. 1 show for several years — and managed to remain in the top 10 for a decade. But the drama has seen its fortunes fade in recent seasons. This year, season to date, “ER” has averaged 9.5 million viewers — putting it in 48th place, the show’s lowest perf ever.

Reps from NBC and Warner Bros. TV were unavailable for comment.

As for the Peacock’s other medical series that was slated to retire this June, “Scrubs” is also now expected to make a return next year. Star John C. McGinley was even quoted this week as saying the show’s long-rumored move from NBC to ABC is a done deal. But as of Tuesday, ABC Studios had not officially announced the laffer’s fate.

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