‘ER’ 2.0: Noah Wyle, John Wells Reteam for Max Medical Drama ‘The Pitt’

The whispers last year about a potential ER revival weren’t true, but this could be the next best thing.

Max has handed out a 15-episode, straight-to-series order for The Pitt, a look at front-line medical workers in Pittsburgh starring Noah Wyle and from ER duo John Wells and R. Scott Gemmill.

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Max describes The Pitt as a “a realistic examination of the challenges facing health care workers in today’s America as seen through the lens of the front-line heroes working in a modern-day hospital in Pittsburgh.”

Gemmill, who executive produced more than half of ER’s 330 episodes across its 15 seasons, will serve as showrunner on the series, which hails from John Wells Productions and Warner Bros. TV. Wells and Wyle will also be credited as exec producers.

“We are grateful to Warner Bros. Television and Max for giving us this opportunity to return to the world of urban medicine,” Gemmill, Wyle and Wells said in a joint statement to The Hollywood Reporter. “The myriad of challenges facing the doctors, nurses, technicians, patients and their families who work in the trenches of modern medicine have become only more pronounced in the decade and a half since we last visited their stories. We’re thrilled to be able to return to this world with the support of our partners and are looking forward to pushing the boundaries of dramatic realism and medical accuracy in following the lives of these heroic men and women.”

Gemmill will write the pilot in addition to serving as showrunner. The series is part of Wells’ longtime overall deal with Warner Bros. TV, where he has been based since starting out in 1986. Warners, of course, was the studio behind ER, which found new audiences when the full series hit streaming for the first time in 2018 as part of an exclusive pact with Disney-backed Hulu. It’s unclear if Max will attempt to secure rights to the ER library as part of the run-up to The Pitt.

“It’s no secret Scott, Noah and John know how to make great television. When they came to us with the idea of reinvigorating the medical TV genre with a fresh, realistic look at today’s modern hospitals, we knew we had to jump on it,” said Channing Dungey, CEO of Warner Bros. TV Group. “Their all-star collaboration, along with their impeccable storytelling and unwavering passion they bring to every project, is the perfect prescription for this show to become the next great medical drama. We are thankful to our partners at Max, and we can’t wait for audiences to see this show.”

For Max, there is something to be said for the episode order size of 15. Many streamers, following the breakout success of former USA Network drama Suits on Netflix, have been looking for larger episode seasons of tried and true genres in a bid to emulate broadcast.

“Collaborating with the visionary talents of John Wells, R. Scott Gemmill and Noah Wyle to develop this new series has already been an exhilarating process,” said head of Max originals Sarah Aubrey. “Their passion, creativity and dedication to storytelling elevate every aspect of the project, and together, we’re poised to deliver a compelling and authentic portrayal of today’s medical world that will captivate audiences and leave a lasting impact.”

For Wells, whose Showtime take on Shameless became a streaming hit for Netflix, The Pitt joins a roster of originals that also includes his upcoming Fox lifeguard drama Rescue: Hi-Surf.

At Max, The Pitt joins a roster of scripted dramas that includes The Girls on the Bus, Peacemaker, The Penguin, Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin, Tokyo Vice and J.J. Abrams’ upcoming Duster, among others.

ER ran for 15 seasons on NBC. It ranks as primetime’s second-longest-running medical drama (behind the ongoing Grey’s Anatomy). The series won 23 Primetime Emmys. Wyle starred for its first 11 seasons.

Wells is repped by CAA. Wyle is with Verve, Brillstein Entertainment Partners and Jackoway Austen.

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