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Wednesday, August 5, 1998 Published at 12:40 GMT 13:40 UK


ER star Anthony Edwards to operate on million-dollar deal

Anthony Edwards is going for more time as the overworked ER doctor

Actor Anthony Edwards has signed away his acting life for the next two years to the sucessful medical drama, ER.

Edwards, who has been with the series since its start in 1994, has entered into a deal with makers Warner Bros estimated to be worth $35m dollars.

This means he will earn nearly $400,000 per episode as the character, Dr Mark Greene, for whom he has also been nominated for a Best Actor Emmy this year.

Edwards had already signed on for two more series of the show, but the deal now requires him to carry on working in the emergency room for an additional two.

The price of success

Warner Bros is offering similar contracts, although not on such a pay-scale, to some of the other actors in the show.

The company's record $13m per episode licence fee from NBC for the next three seasons means that its income from the show will be at least $850m in the coming years.

[ image: Noah Wyle, Dr John Carter]
Noah Wyle, Dr John Carter
The other ER stars whom Warner Bros has its sights set on are Noah Wyle, who plays Dr John Carter, Eriq La Salle, who plays Dr Benton, and Julianna Marguiles, who stars as Nurse Hathaway.

Fighting off the competition

But Edwards is said to have landed the top-paying contract. And this is not the first prize he has won for his work in ER.

In 1996, he was the first member of the cast to direct an episode of the series. And recently, he earned a People_s Choice Award as Favorite Male Television Performer in a New Series, and was nominated as Best Actor by Viewers for Quality Television.

In comparison with other stars of America's most successful TV shows, Edwards ranks highly.

David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson reportedly take hom £110,000 and $100,000, respectively, per episode of The X-Files. Touched by an Angel stars Roma Downey and Della Reese also earn similarly.

But sitcom actors are always paid more highly than drama stars: Helen Hunt and Paul Reiser will take hom £1m per episode this season for Mad About You.

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