ERIQ LA SALLE TO LEAVE ‘ER’

Eriq La Salle is planning to leave the hit hospital drama ‘ER’ next season.

According to reports, he wants to pursue opportunities in the fields of directing and producing.

”We’re sorry that Eriq won’t continue on ‘ER,’ but we are thrilled he will be around for one more year,” said NBC Entertainment president Jeff Zucker. ”We thank him for his enormous contributions toward making the show America’s top-rated drama for seven years.”

La Salle has been on the show since it debuted in 1994, and he has had three Emmy nominations for his role as Dr. Peter Benton.

For its 2002-2003 season, ER will have only 2 original castmembers remaining — Noah Wylie and Sherry Stringfield. Anthony Edwards has already announced that he will leave the series after next season.

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