331 episodes. 124 Emmy nominations. 49 million viewers. One George Clooney.

25 years ago, ER made its debut on NBC, introducing viewers to the emergency room doctors at County General Hospital in Chicago. The medical drama would launch the careers of George Clooney, Noah Wyle and Julianna Margulies, going on to run for 15 seasons, making it the second longest running medical drama in TV history. 

When it began in 1994, ER, which also starred Top Gun star Anthony Edwards, Sherry Stringfield and Eriq La Salle, was actually an underdog, with most industry insiders assuming CBS' Chicago Hope would win the battle of the big medical procedural; ER ended up becoming the No. 1 show on TV, almost hitting 50 million viewers at one point. As it continued, airing over 300 episodes before ending in 2009, actors like Maura Tierney, John Stamos, Linda Cardellini and Goran Visnjic joined the ensemble cast.

Back when ER first debuted, Clooney gushed about his newfound stardom in an interview with E! News.

"It's fun, are you kidding? You spend your whole life, your whole career, trying to get on a show like this, that people pay attention to and they put you on Newsweek and stuff. It's a dream come true, it's fun for us, you know," he said. "It's tiring just because of our hours on this show, you know, are so long—that we're a little beat and then they say, 'OK, let's go do a photo shoot.' But it's be careful what you wish for you know? But we're having the time of our lives, it's fun."

While the Oscar winner left the show after five seasons, Clooney made several return appearances and has often spoken fondly of his experience on the show...one he actually had to beg to be cast on. That's just one secret executive producer and showrunner John Wells has revealed over the years, along with the series' stars who've dished on squashed storylines, on-set pranks and ER's most devastating deaths...

 

ERs 25th anniversary - cast

NBCU Photo Bank

George Clooney, ER

NBC

Anthony Edwards, ER

NBC

Kellie Martin, ER

NBC

ERs 25th anniversary - cast

Jeff Katz/NBCU Photo Bank

ERs 25th anniversary - Laura Innes

Mitchell Haaseth/NBCU Photo Bank

George Clooney, ER, Returning Stars

NBC

ER, Noah Wyle

NBCU Photo Bank

ERs 25th anniversary - John Stamos

Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank

ERs 25th anniversary - Mekhi Phifer

Mitchell Haaseth/NBCU Photo Bank

E.R., George Clooney, Julianna Margulies

NBC

ERs 25th anniversary - cast

Robert Sebree/NBCU Photo Bank

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