Actor-comedian John Leguizamo will join the team of TV doctors saving lives on NBC’s hit hospital drama “ER” when the veteran show returns this fall for its 12th season, the network said Tuesday.
The Colombian-born performer has signed on initially to appear in 12 episodes of “ER,” starting as a recurring character rather than as a series regular, an NBC spokesman said.
But the Web site of TV Guide magazine reported Leguizamo, 41, was tapped to fill the shoes of former “ER” star Noah Wyle, who played Dr. John Carter and left the show last season. Wyle was the last original cast regular to have remained on the series since its 1994 debut.
The Emmy-winning show was NBC’s top-rated drama last season, averaging nearly 15.5 million viewers a week.
There were no immediate details about Leguizamo’s “ER” role other than he will play a physician. But it marks his biggest move into series television since he produced and starred in the Fox sketch comedy show “House of Buggin” for one season in 1995.
Leguizamo, who immigrated to New York City with his family as a young boy, is a prolific actor and comedian who earned numerous awards for his 1990s stage shows “Mambo Mouth” and “Spic-O-Rama, as well as two Tony nominations for his one-man Broadway debut “Freak.”
On the big screen, he starred in last year’s thriller “Cronicas” as a TV reporter sent to Ecuador in pursuit of a serial killer. His film credits also include “Hangin’ with the Homeboys,” “Carlito’s Way,” “Summer of Sam” and “Moulin Rouge!”
NBC announced recently that actress Kristen Johnston, best known as the leggy, blonde alien Sally on “3rd Rock from the Sun,” has signed a six-episode deal to play a doctor on “ER” this coming season.