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NBC Hands Advertisers a Big Bill for ER Finale

How much do a few minutes with Dr. Ross cost? Almost half a million bucks. NBC is seeking $425,000 for a 30-second ad spot on ER 's April 2 series finale, Broadcasting & Cable reports. The long-running medical drama will wrap its 15th and final year with a two-hour extravaganza that features familiar faces in George Clooney, Noah Wyle, Anthony Edwards and other original cast members. ER normally fetches $135,000 for a spot and brings in a cumulative total of $2,878,000 per broadcast. The finale's bloated price tag marks the highest rate for an outgoing series since Everybody Loves Raymond bid adieu to the tune of $1.3 million, in 2005. The ER farewell event starts at 8 pm/ET with a one-hour retrospective, before going into the two-hour episode. Source here

Ratings: Grey's Anatomy Puts Up a Good Fight - Featured

Thursday's ratings roundup: * 8 pm/ET Survivor: Tocantins inched up slightly from its premiere to win the hour with 13.67 million total viewers. Bones cinched second with 9.5 million (down 12 percent from its fresh eppy), while Ugly Betty settled for third (7.65 mil). NBC's My Name Is Earl (6.72 mil) gained 420K, but Kath & Kim (5.13 mil) scared off another 350 thou. * 9 pm CSI topped the hour with 16.85 million viewers, dropping 930K. Grey's Anatomy 's scalpel-vs.-scalpel and fist-vs.-fist showdowns drummed up 15.39 mil, a week-to-week increase of 310K and the series' biggest audience since Nov. 20, 2008. (Was it just me or did Addison seem a bit, um, turned on by the boys' donnybrook?) * 10 pm With the Grey's crossover over, Private Practice plunged 20 percent yet still edged out Eleventh Hour - 11.37 mil to 11.23 mil. (Who took my Twitter challenge and spotted Private Practice's second, non-Anya Buffy alum?) ER delivered 7.44 mil, up 190K. Source here

TV Tonight: Noah Wyle's Back in the ER

When ER began 15 years ago, Noah Wyle's John Carter was just a baby-faced intern trying to handle the fast pace and tough cases of County General's ER. Tonight, Carter is back, with years of experience and a mysterious reason for returning to the hospital that made him a man. The episode is titled "The Beginning of the End," and that's certainly the truth: The show is entering its final batch of episodes on the way to the big finale in March. Wyle is just the latest in a long string of guest stars who have shown up for return engagements: Anthony Edwards turned up in November, and we still have the second coming of George Clooney's Dr. Doug Ross to come. Wyle's scheduled for five episodes, and while we'll have to tune in to see his reasons for coming back, executive producer John Wells said a while back that Carter featured prominently in his plans for the series' end. While I haven't been a regular ER viewer in years, I'm definitely curious to see what's in store for these last few hours. Anyone else? To watch a clip of Wyle talking about his return to the show, just read more. Source here

Tonight's TV Hot List for Thursday, Feb. 19, 2009 - Featured

* Survivor: Tocantins - The Brazilian Highlands (8 pm/ET CBS) "Crazy" Sandy managed to avoid being ousted last week since her tribemates could no longer tolerate bossy Carolina. But if the Jalapao tribe doesn't win immunity tonight, the team's resident "old lady" will likely be sent packing. A key challenge for everyone is a rain-soaked basketball-like game that turns into a physically draining adventure. * ER (10 pm/ET NBC) How fitting that ER's Valentine's Day episode features the return of the beloved Noah Wyle. His appearance makes the quest to come full circle in the show's final season appear complete. Or is it? Meanwhile, County's world keeps turning despite Carter's surprise visit. Banfield remains intent upon having a baby regardless of the signs that are saying no, Neela makes a critical mistake with her transplant patient, and Gates has an unusual case involving a wedding groom and mushrooms. Can you feel the love? * Grey's Anatomy (9 pm/ET ABC) Addison's brother might be all better, but Addison is still pulling double duty (here and on Private Practice ) again tonight. That pregnant woman with the brain aneurysm (what a way to bring Addison and Derek together again!) has a complication that'll take another episode - and more fireworks - to resolve. Speaking of fireworks: How about Derek punching Mark? And just so you know that this an extra-special episode, Faye Dunaway guest stars as a renowned surgeon - who screws up. * Bones (8 pm/ET Fox) It's doubtful anyone would ever call Booth a slacker, but after spending the last few weeks being temporarily blinded while kidnapped and suffering a broken hand and concussion playing ice hockey, the guy deserves a break, right? Well, now it seems like a bad back will finally keep him on the sidelines, so Agent Perotta (Marisa Coughlan) pitches in to help with a murder case involving a female science-fiction fan and her connection to a convention for comic-book and video-game aficionados. * Being Erica (10 pm/ET SoapNet) This comedy import from Canada focuses on the life of 32-year-old single gal Erica Strange (Erin Karpluk), who, despite her name, isn't all that strange. She's just someone who has made a few mistakes in her past and has regrets about them. However, thanks to her somewhat mysterious therapist, she gets to do what no one else can: Go back in time and redo certain pivotal life moments. In the series opener, a hospitalized Erica meets her new therapist, Dr. Tom, who has her relive an old high-school dance. Source here

Ratings: A Record Audience Crosses over to Private Practice - Featured

Thursday's ratings rundown: * 8 pm/ET Survivor: Tocantins - The Brazilian Highlands premiered to an audience of 13.8 million total viewers, an increase of 900K over Gabon's opener and on par with Fans vs. Favorites. Placing a distant second, Ugly Betty was up a hair, to 7.44 mil. NBC's Earl (6.3 mil) gained 140 thou, but Kath and Kim (5.48 mil) kissed off 520K. Fox's broadcast of the NAACP Image Awards averaged 4.23 mil over its two-hour run. * 9 pm CSI topped the hour (if not the demos) with an audience of 17.78 million viewers, slipping 11 percent from its last fresh outing. Grey's Anatomy (or "Private Anatomy Hour 1") matched last week's audience of 15.07 mil. (Grab the tape, Izzy! Grab the tape!!) In third, NBC's The Office (8.9 mil) gained 490K, while 30 Rock surged 20 percent week-to-week, hitting 7.62 mil. * 10 pm Private Practice /"Private Anatomy Hour 2" gained another 8 percent to deliver 14.15 million viewers - the spin-off's largest audience ever. Eleventh Hour settled for also-ran status with 11.04 mil (down 11 percent), followed by ER (which held steady at 7.25 mil). Source here

VIDEO: ER Stars Talk of Alum's Return and "Goofy" Costumes

Dr. Benton returns to the ER this week when original cast member Eriq La Salle steps behind the camera to direct an episode of the long-running - and soon-to-end - NBC drama. La Salle's visit in effect marks the latest "homecoming," following final-season encores by Anthony Edwards (as Mark) and Alex Kingston (Elizabeth). In the video below, current ER star Parminda Nagra talks about being directed by La Salle, detailing how he got her to see Neela in new ways. Also, Scott Grimes (in this video) gives a sneak peek at the goofy superhero costume Archie dons in this week's episode, and shares his own take on La Salle's expert guidance. Source & Video

Sherry Stringfield Returning to ER

Sherry Stringfield is returning to ER , a source close to the deal has confirmed to Stringfield's participation is the latest in a slew of alums who have signed off to send off the show in its final season, a group that already includes Anthony Edwards, Julianna Margulies and George Clooney. Stringfield played Dr. Susan Lewis on NBC's medical drama from 1994-1996 and then returned to the show in 2001 for another four seasons. No word on how Dr. Lewis will reappear this time. Source here

Tonight's TV Hot List for Thursday, Feb. 12, 2009

* My Name Is Earl (8 pm/ET NBC) Crabman's witness-protection journey continues tonight in an episode featuring guest stars Morgan Fairchild, Joan Van Ark and Andrea Parker. The enigmatic Darnell and his family land squarely in an upscale community, courtesy of their new identities. But you can't take the trailer park out of Joy, who struggles to adjust to her new luxury lifestyle and her privileged neighbors desperate housewives, slinky cougars and trophy wives all. Meanwhile, Darnell's beloved Mr. Turtle (slowly) comes home, so Earl sets out to return the pet to its rightful owner. * Survivor: Tocantins - The Brazilian Highlands (8 pm/ET CBS) Two of tonight's 16 castaways who arrive in the brutal interior of Brazil to begin their "adventure of a lifetime," as host Jeff Probst likes to say, are in for a rude awakening. Why? Because in the premiere of the 18th edition of the reality series, the 16 players are divided into two tribes from the get-go and each group is forced, before speaking a word to each other, to eliminate one person from their team based solely on their first impressions. Does that mean it's the end of the journey for the banished pair? Maybe. Maybe not. * Grey's Anatomy (9 pm/ET ABC) Derek was thisclose to proposing to Meredith last week when he got that uh-oh phone call from Addison, setting up tonight's crossover with Private Practice. Her dying brother (Grant Show) is being rushed to Seattle Grace, and only Derek, it seems, can save him. But you know that the Der-Mer story line isn't going away, and you can look for some spice from the Practice contingent as well. The developing Callie-Arizona (Jessica Capshaw) romance will be on hiatus, however: Capshaw isn't in the guest cast. * NAACP Image Awards (8 pm/ET Fox) Past winners Halle Berry and Tyler Perry host the 40th annual celebration of the contributions of people of color to literature, music, television and movies. Al Gore and Dr. Wangari Maathai receive the Chairman's Award, and Muhammad Ali receives the President's Award. Performers at Los Angeles' Shrine Auditorium include nominees Beyonce, Jennifer Hudson, Seal, and Stevie Wonder. Sean "Diddy" Combs, Taraji P. Henson, Keke Palmer, Regina Taylor and Kerry Washington are among the presenters. * ER (10 pm/ET NBC) It was bound to happen. That rascal Brenner, the party-boy, devil-may-care doctor, has grown on us. It's not just because he revealed a history of child abuse or because Neela has warmed up to him; it's also because he's finally demonstrating some concern for his patients and his work. We see it again in tonight's episode, directed by former show star Eriq La Salle, when Brenner goes above and beyond for a patient that has been badly injured in a car accident. Source here

Julianna Marguiles on Her Reunion With George Clooney in 'ER' - Featured

More light is shed for the big finale of "ER" that will bring back two of its major stars, George Clooney and Julianna Margulies. In an article published Friday, January 6, People magazine quoted Marguiles as saying that the chemistry she and Clooney had, still applies in the reunion filming. "It's been nine years and it was like we'd never been apart," Margulies told her eyebrow stylist Ramy Gafni at his RamySpa in Manhattan. Gafni added, "She said, 'The chemistry was still there.' She said she loves him to pieces and that he's such a great guy." In the series, Clooney plays Dr. Doug Ross who has a relationship with nurse Carol Hathaway but never marries her. Clooney exit the show in 1999 while Marguiles followed a year later. In January this year, it was rive that the show's co-creator John Wells ordered a closed-set shooting for the filming in the fourth week of the month. Clooney consequently was photographed on the set, reportedly also wearing a wedding band. This may mean that Dr. Ross is attached and it's possible that nurse Hathaway is in the other end of the line. The unknown reunion episode will provide as a big closure prepared for the show's finale on April 2. Source here

Susan Sarandon on ER

Does anyone watch ER anymore? I'm happy this is the last season, but that show really should have ended, lke, ten years ago. How many fires, earthquakes, bombs, falling out of the sky helicopters, limbs lost, addictions fought and people resurrected from the dead should one audience be expected to tolerate? Country General Hospital should have been shut down about fifteen hundred cataclysmic disasters ago. That show fucking exhausts me. ER is credited as the show that gave George Clooney his break. To me, he will always be George the handyman at the Over Our Heads novelty shop, on The Facts of Life. Longtime fans have been hopeful that Clooney would return for the final season, and it looks like they are getting their wish. Also appearing for the George episode was Susan Sarandon. Not sure how she fits into the storyline, but don't be surprised if her character suffers a fatal implant explosion. Source here