ER Cast @ Paley Center

Kevin Parry/The Paley Center for Media

You know, they say the first 300 episodes are always the hardest—so for ER, it should be smooth sailing from here on out.

The medical drama, which also happens to be the most Emmy-nominated series ever, premiered in 1994 and some 14 years later is still a fixture of Thursday-night TV.

Sustaining such quality over such a long period of time (300 eps at 44 minutes each is an astonishing 13,200 minutes!) is the televisual equivalent of building the Colossus of Rhodes, not to mention a testament to the talent and devotion of the cast, crew and producers over the years. So, in honor of the milestone ep 300—called "300 Patients" because it features Archie Morris' quixotic quest to treat , yes, 300 patients in one day—the Paley Center for Media threw the show a little celebratory hootenanny.

And here's what you ER lovahs need to know...

The Big 3-0-0:  According Maura Tierney, "300 is a big episode. A big, very dramatic episode for my character and for Goran [Visnjic]'s character. It's a lot of action. It's one of those ERs that's very chock-full of stuff. There's a car crash." She ain't kidding about drama between Abby and Luka. Maura and Goran will knock your socks off as they sort out the devastation wrought by their long separation. And Peter Fonda guests in a subplot that will make you cry—probably more than once.

Will the Show Go On?  When asked how many more years she might have with the show, Maura says, "Well, one. We have one left. That's all the information I have." So, like Abby, Maura's living day to day? "Yes exactly, like Abby. She has to take it one day at a time. She should be!" Meanwhile, executive producer John Wells sums it up with, "I think we're closer to the end than we are to the beginning." This year is the last year of their existing three-year deal with NBC. If the bad thing were over, they'd be in talks with NBC at this point about continuing the series, but as it stands, everything is up in the air.

Yep, Jeanie's Back!  Executive producer John Wells and show runner David Zabel confirmed that Gloria Reuben returns for a one-episode guest spot airing in January. Now, if only we could get Laura Innes back for that same ep! Those two were fab together. According to producers, however, Busy Philipps seems to be gone for good.

A Little ER Trivia:

  • George Clooney never asked for a penny more than his original salary, as part of a handshake deal with Wells that allowed him to go off and do non-ER work during the season.
  • John Stamos was originally up for Erik Palladino's role of Malucci, if you can believe that.
  • In the course of the evening it was also revealed that Scott Grimes, Paul McCrane and Gloria Reuben were all originally cast as short-term guest stars, but through a process the producers call "writers' room Darwinism," all three grew their parts into the long-running regular roles they became.
  • When asked about their favorite scenes over the years, Linda Cardellini said she loved doing the episode where she shot her baby daddy to death. As for Stamos, "I used to be on a show where my lines were like, 'Michelle, can you say poo-poo?' so pretty much every scene here my favorite scene." Oh, those wascally Tanners!

ER's 300th ep airs tonight.

—With reporting by Jennifer Godwin

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