Clooney and 'ER' return? Thanks, but no thanks

LOS ANGELES Mon Sep 22, 2008 8:45pm EDT

U.S. actor George Clooney poses on the red carpet at the Film Festival in Venice August 27, 2008. Clooney stars in Ethan and Joel Coen's movie ''Burn After Reading'' which is opening this year's Venice Film Festival. REUTERS/Max Rossi

U.S. actor George Clooney poses on the red carpet at the Film Festival in Venice August 27, 2008. Clooney stars in Ethan and Joel Coen's movie ''Burn After Reading'' which is opening this year's Venice Film Festival.

Credit: Reuters/Max Rossi

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The producers of hospital drama "ER" are hoping to entice George Clooney back for the show's upcoming final season, even though Clooney has said he's not interested in putting his scrubs on one more time.

"ER" executive producer David Zabel told TV Guide that story lines had been dreamed up for the show's 15th and last season for all major past characters, including Clooney's Dr. Ross and his old flame, nurse Carol Hathaway, played by Julianna Margulies.

In an interview with TV Guide released on Monday, Zabel told the magazine he was "optimistic that we might be able to get them all. We have a really good story line for every (major) character from the past to show (the actors) what we want to do."

Anthony Edwards, whose character, Dr. Mark Greene, died of brain cancer in May 2002, has already agreed to return in flashback scenes this season, along with Laura Innes (Dr. Weaver), Paul McCrane (Dr. Romano, who also died) and Noah Wyle (Dr. John Carter).

But Clooney hasn't been tempted yet.

"He is on record as saying he is not coming back," said Clooney's publicist, Stan Rosenfield, on Monday. "It is something he has already done. He is busy making movies."

"ER" launched the career of Clooney as a matinee idol after he left the regular cast in 1999 to pursue his movie career full time. He returned for a surprise cameo in May 2000 marking the departure of Margulies from the show after six seasons.

The groundbreaking series, set in the emergency room of the fictional Chicago-based County General Hospital, was the top-rated drama on U.S. television for several years but ratings have slipped in recent years.

The series will end with a two-hour finale in May 2009, preceded by a one-hour retrospective.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Steve Gorman)

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