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October 22, 2008

'ER' has new lease on life


Cue the quippy headlines here, like, "Physician show heals itself -- and network," and "Reports of 'ER' demise greatly exaggerated," and "Not on life support!"

Seems that just when NBC honcho Ben Silverman needs it most, a veteran Emmy- and Peabody-winning show is stepping up in an otherwise lackluster season and kicking some ratings arse in a key Thursday time period.

And some people thought "ER" was beyond resuscitation, just wheezing out its final 14th year until going to much-deserved final resting places like DVD, the interwebs and cable. Not so!

The network is so pleased and needy ("Kath & Kim"? Really?) that it's discussing a full order of 22 episodes with producer Warner Bros. TV to carry it through the season. THR's James Hibberd has more here.

The medical drama is the most Emmy nominated series in history with 123. Who needs to be on the front line of the pop cultural zeitgeist? NBC should take a perennial performer any day. More episodes of "ER" -- stat! 


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Oscar Contenders

  • So "The Dark Knight" didn't make it into the final five after all, never mind that critical and popular support. Let's just call the comic-inspired mega-hit "The Biggest Snubee."

    Here are the best picture contenders in a race that, two weeks away from the Oscars, seems to be a foregone conclusion ("Slumdog") unless there's a come-from-behind possibility ("The Reader" anyone?)

    "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett; the politically timely "Milk;" rags-to-riches fairy tale, "Slumdog Millionaire," Holocaust best-seller-based drama "The Reader," and Watergate-era biopic "Frost/Nixon."

    Could "Button" and "Slumdog" split the vote, allowing another film to take the prize? Doesn't seem likely. After having clung to "Button" for months as what we thought would be the Academy voters' top vhoice, our money's now on "Slumdog." Momentum can't be ignored.

    Watch this blog for updates, ephemera and all manner of postulating.

Picture this

  • Mmmmm, chocolate Oscar. Not every star will walk away from the 81st annual Academy Awards with a trophy, but if they hit the high-profile Governor's Ball they can have pastry chef Sherry Yard's gold-dusted candy version. Also on the menu from celeb chef Wolfgang Puck is tuna tartare in sesame miso cones, chopped Chino Farms vegetable salad with ginger soy vinaigrette, Maine lobster and caviar. Serve it up! (Getty Images)

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