Noah Wyle Holds onto 'ER' Stethoscope

08/14/2003 10:35AM

Dr. John Carter is in, and likely to remain so.

Noah Wyle, 32, who has played the good doc on "ER" since the series launched in 1994, has signed a one-year extension to his deal with producer Warner Bros. TV, which means he'll stick around through the end of the 2005 season, at least, says the Hollywood Reporter. (Warner Bros. TV, like PEOPLE, is part of AOL Times Warner.)

Wyle will also step behind the camera for the first time during the 2004-05 season to direct two episodes of the medical drama. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The actor has become the central character on the Emmy-winning series since the exit of Anthony Edwards in 2002, and is the only original "ER" cast member remaining. Last spring, NBC renewed "ER" for two more seasons.

Wyle, however, won't be around for about three episodes during the show's upcoming 10th season, as he has signed to star opposite Illeana Douglas in the movie "The Californians," based on Henry James's classic "The Bostonians."

He reportedly also wants to spend more time with his 9-month-old son, Owen.

Meanwhile, in other TV news, there are some pretty loud rumbles that Patricia Heaton has joined "Everybody Loves Raymond" costar Brad Garrett in not showing up for work in order to get CBS to boost her current salary. Garrett's reps have stated publicly that he will not return to work without a pay hike.

There has been no official comment from the Heaton camp -- she has called in sick for the first few days of shooting this week -- but TV reporters are spreading word of a walkout.

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