ER was the hottest medical drama on TV in its early days. It was pretty much compulsory ’90s viewing. And just about everybody had a crush on at least one member of the cast. Hell, it introduced the world to George Clooney! But if you thought some of the show’s hard-hitting storylines were pretty shocking, just wait for these behind-the-scenes secrets. Everybody ready? Stand back now and CLEAR!
1. ER was supposed to be a movie
Get this – ER almost never made it onto our TV screens AT ALL. That’s right folks, the acclaimed series was initially set to be a film, directed by Stephen Spielberg, no less. According to Elle, creator Michael Crichton had envisioned a “documentary-style movie about what happened during 24 hours in an emergency room.” But studios refused to finance the project as they found “it too technical, too chaotic and too fast-moving.” Hard to believe, eh?
2. One character nearly got killed off
Imagine if Carol Hathaway hadn’t been a regular character in the show, and her compelling relationship with Dr. Doug Ross never happened. Unthinkable, right? Well, believe it or not, feisty nurse Carol – played by Julianna Margulies – was originally scripted to pass away during the first episode. But test viewers liked her so much that the producers decided to keep her on. And thank goodness they did.
3. Filmed in a real hospital
Well, the first episode was anyway. When ER was in its infancy, the production team didn’t have the budget to construct a full set. So they decided to film the first ever episode in a former hospital. Linda Vista Community Hospital in Los Angeles was the place, which had been in service for more than eight decades before it shut down in 1990. Rumor has it that the site’s haunted, and it was later featured in the series Ghost Adventures. Creepy!
4. NBC almost pulled the plug
Believe it or not, the top boss at NBC had a pretty strong reaction to the show when he saw the first episode. Another executive at the time, Kevin Reilly, told the EW website that the president “stormed out of the room.” Apparently, there were objections to the show’s rapid pace, its complex medical conversations, and the amount of blood on display. In other words, everything that made ER so exciting.