The executive producers of ER are hopeful that George Clooney can be tempted back to County General for the show's final season.

"We have a really good storyline for every character from the past," David Zabel told TV Guide magazine.

However, comments from Clooney's publicist suggest that he is unlikely to revisit the medical drama.

After 15 years, the Chicago-set show is nearing its climax and has the Hollywood writers' strike to thank for being given one final fling.

According to Entertainment Weekly, the show was renewed by NBC after the Writers' Guild of America's (WGA) industrial action prevented the development of any new series.

And as they plan the end to the long-running emergency room saga, executive producers John Wells and Zabel plan to tempt some fan favourites into returning to the hospital corridors.

Noah Wyle (Dr Carter) is to return for four episodes while Goran Visnjic is likely to reappear as Dr Kovac.

And even Anthony Edwards, whose character died in 2002, will return in flashback form for an episode entitled Heal Thyself.

But a Clooney return seems the least likely, according to his publicist Stan Rosenfield.

"He is on record as saying he is not coming back," he said. "It is something he has already done."

Clooney left the show in 1999 but returned as Dr Doug Ross in a shock cameo the following year.

But according to Rosenfield, the Ocean's Eleven star is now "busy making movies".

A five-time Emmy winner, ER has also won a Golden Globe - for Edwards in 1998 - and took the prize for best performance by a cast in a drama series for four consecutive years at the Screen Actors Guild awards.

23/09/2008 15:49:02