ER's longest serving cast member Noah Wyle has signed up to continue with the show for another year.
Wyle wants to direct as well as perform
Wyle, who has played Dr John Carter for nearly 10 years, has completed a one-year extension to his contract which will see him return for the 2004-05 season.
He will also be given the opportunity to step behind the camera to direct two episodes of the series.
Wyle has risen to become the lead actor in the NBC drama since the departures of George Clooney and Anthony Edwards, who both went on to pursue movie careers.
There had been fears the medical drama would drop in ratings when the first of the big name stars left.
But viewers have stayed loyal and it continues to be one of the biggest dramas on US television.
Meanwhile, Wyle has been given time off from the next series to spend time with his family and to concentrate on carving out his own movie career.
His recent big screen outings have included White Oleander and Donnie Darko.
He is expected to be missing from at least three episodes of season 10, which begins in the US in September.