PASSAGES: 'ER' Cast Continues Drop-Off
DROPPING OUT: ERIQ LA SALLE, who plays Dr. Peter Benton, from the cast of "ER." Joining him at the exit this Thursday will be MICHAEL MICHELE, who plays his love interest, Dr. Cleo Finch. In May, ANTHONY EDWARDS, who plays Dr. Mark Greene, also will leave the show . . . UNRETIRED: The Cure. After last year's farewell tour drew more than half a million people, front man Robert Smith has decided his mope rock pioneers can continue recording. Another tour is in the works. . .ARRESTED: Actor Gary Busey, for alleged spousal abuse, after Los Angeles deputies observed bruises on his ex-wife, who had made a complaint . . . SIGNED: Newsman Tim Russert, to a contract extension that will keep him at NBC through 2012. Ratings for "Meet the Press" have grown 52 percent since he took over as host . . . LAID OFF: CNN anchors Joie Chen ("News Site") and Roger Cossack ("Burden of Proof"). Both shows were canceled, along with two others, resulting in 30 layoffs, according to the Chicago Tribune. . . SUED: MARTHA STEWART, for allegedly stealing the theme music for "Martha Stewart Living" from composer EDWARD DZUBAK, the AP reported. "A composer knows his music when he hears it," Dzubak said.
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