Wyle Ready for "ER" Discharge
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By Marcus Errico
Looks like Dr. Carter's ready to retire the stethoscope.
Noah Wyle tells E! News Live that he's going to check out of ER following the show's upcoming 11th season.
"I've just got other stuff going in my life right now," Wyle says. "I've got a son, I've got family and friends that said goodbye to me 12 years ago and are wondering when I'm coming back, and this little urge to scratch a different kind of itch in my career, and it's just coming to the end of the character's run."
During his summer hiatus, Wyle, whose non-ER credits include The Pirates of Silicon Valley, White Oleander, Donnie Darko and The Myth of Fingerprints, worked on the TNT TV movie The Librarian, which is set to air in December. He also has an indie romantic comedy called The Californians in the can.
A five-time Emmy nominee, Wyle has been the one constant on the show since day one, with his Dr. John Carter growing from naive County General resident to the show's backbone. He's the only major ER player to have stuck with the show through its 10-season run, outlasting cast stalwarts like George Clooney (news) , Anthony Edwards (news), Julianna Margulies and Eriq La Salle.
Wyle, 33, signed a lucrative deal in 2001 that made him one of TV's highest paid stars. That contract expired at the end of last season, but Wyle decided to reup for the 2004-05 campaign.
Last season ended in tragedy for Carter and gal-pal Makemba "Kem" Likasu (Thandie Newton), who lost the baby she was carrying.
Carter's love life looks to be a focus of the new season, too. Although there's no word whether Newton will return for any episodes, former Twin Peaks beauty Madchen Amick (news) will be joining the NBC series as a recurring guest star, playing an idealistic social worker who falls for the dashing doc.
The addition of Amick comes just a few months after word that Alex Kingston's contract had not been extended, meaning her Dr. Corday will be ditching County General sometime this season. Meanwhile, A Walk to Remember's Shane West has joined the cast as maverick Dr. Ray Barnett. Amick and West are the latest infusion of new blood to the hospital drama, which added fresh faces like Linda Cardellini (news) (nurse Sam Taggert) and Parminder Nagra (medical student Neela Rasgotra) last season.
Reps for show producer Warner Bros. TV and NBC insist that Wyle's exit is not a fait accompli. They say there have been no discussions yet about extending his current new contract and a new deal could still be hammered out.
But Wyle says it's time for him, and ER, to move on.
"It feels like the show is on the edge of reinventing itself," he tells E! "It's time to take it to that next evolutionary place, where names like George and Tony, Eriq, Julianna and Noah are a thing of the past, and names like Shane, Linda and Parminder are a thing of the future.
ER kicks off its new season Sept. 23.