Wow – it has certainly been an ordeal to keep up with ER. Since its demise on Nine to its resurrection on GO, ER must have had more timeslot changes and double episode additions then any show in history.
In its hay day, ER used to be one of the top rating shows on Nine, featuring prominently in prime time. Then, as ratings fell, and Nine itself went through a period of management transformation – which ultimately resulted in the network losing its long held position as Australia’s Number One television network – ER was relegated to late night timeslots, then taken off altogether with almost no notice to fans.
Midway in its 13th season at the time, ER was held off until summer of 2008/2009 where, by playing double episodes late Thursday nights, Nine managed to get through the full 13th season, ending with episode 1 of season 14. As the 2009 ratings year began, ER disappeared once again, not to be seen until Nine gave it another chance in October that year, only for ER to be off again in time for summer before being given a chance on GO! from January 2010.
Meanwhile, in the US, the 15th and final season came to an end in April 2009. Stars from former seasons of ER including George Clooney and Julianna Margulies (now seen on Ten’s The Good Wife) had returned to the final episodes of the series, setting the show up for a remarkable climax and conclusion that would leave viewers satisfied. US talk shows at the time such as Ellen and the View featured many discussions about ER’s ending.
Late 2009, ER turned up on Nine, 10.30 Thursday nights before being taken off again after playing just seven episodes. The 300th episode – originally to air on Nine on December 17, 2009 had a huge write up in TV Week even though it did not air then.
Then, on January 7, 2010, ER came to GO! For many, the move seemed a little strange for a channel supposedly focussing on “youth” but for ER fans, it would hopefully be the much needed reprieve to finally see the rest of the show.
ER on GO started with season 14, episode 9 at 10.30pm Thursday Jan 7. Then moved to 9.30pm for episode 300 (season 14, ep 10) the following week. A few weeks later, ER was on at 8.30 with double episodes – without warning. Then back to a single at 9.30, then doubles again from 8.30. The double episodes stopped in March, leaving ER at 9.30pm Thursdays. Then, from time to time, an extra episode would be added at 10.30pm, again resulting in doubles.
Now, it looks like ER is finishing its run with the last few episodes of ER remaining at 9.30pm Thursdays. The ER finale (a two hour episode) will air at 9.30pm, Thursday July 8, 2010 on GO!
The conclusion of ER on GO means that seasons 14 and 15 can be played on cable – 111 Hits so far have played seasons 9-13, and further means the DVDs can be released. Season 14 is already available.
Despite something like 20 programming changes to ER on Nine then GO, somehow, I managed to see every episode played over the past few years, and look forward to seeing the conclusion on July 8.