'ER' To Sign Off Tonight After 15 Years

Sneak Peek: Noah Wyle & Eriq LaSalle Return To 'ER' Sneak Peek: Noah Wyle & Eriq LaSalle Return To 'ER'

Fifteen years after “ER,” the pioneering career-launching medical drama, first debuted, the show that spawned infinite others in the same genre is finally signing off tonight from NBC.

The list of A-list careers launched at the fictional County General Hospital in Chicago is too long to recall. From George Clooney to John Stamos, and from Noah Wyle to Goran Visnjic, Eriq LaSalle, and Anthony Edwards, there has been no shortage of hot medical men in residence throughout the years.

The same goes for the ladies; from Julianna Margulies to Linda Cardellini and Maura Tierney to Parminder Nagra… the women in residence have certainly never been your typical Nurse Ratcheds.

In tonight’s finale, Noah Wyle returns along with many “ER” alums. Alexis Bledel (“Gilmore Girls”) and Ernest Borgnine also guest star. Gates (John Stamos) works on a young teen brought in with alcohol poisoning after playing a deadly drinking game with friends. Dr. Carter (Wyle) opens a new medical facility for the underprivileged in Chicago and some old friends from County General all come to show their support. It’s Sam’s (Linda Cardellini) birthday and Alex (Dominic Janes) and Gates surprise her with a special gift. Meanwhile, Carter works with an intern to save a mother in labor with twins. Parminder Nagra, Scott Grimes, David Lyons and Angela Bassett also star.

The death of co-creator Michael Crichton in November 2008 certainly was a game changer for the show last fall. It may have been one factor in ultimately sealing the show’s end. NBC’s programming gamble with Jay Leno (aka – the decision to have no more 10 PM scripted shows) also no doubt played its part. Ultimately, many forces converged to make 2009 the end of the line.

But “ER” has always been a reflection of our culture and times. During the Clinton administration the show represented a beacon of hope, and during the Bush years the show’s tone almost seemed to echo a more drastic sense of fear.

The two-hour season finale of “ER” airs tonight at 9 PM on NBC. An “ER” retrospective airs before at 8 PM.

Check out a preview, HERE.

And for video behind the scenes at the finale, click HERE.

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