The Baltimore Sun

Yes! Clooney, Margulies expected to reprise 'ER' roles this spring

The rumors this week that George Clooney will make a cameo appearance on ER appear to be true, as People magazine posted yesterday a photo of Clooney attired in the scrubs of Dr. Doug Ross, the role he played on NBC's long-running hospital drama that will end this spring.

Julianna Margulies, who played his love interest, nurse Carol Hathaway, is also expected to return.

Neither the actors' representatives, NBC nor producer Warner Bros. would confirm the rumors, but People reported that series co-creator John Wells recently ordered a closed set for a Clooney appearance Thursday.

Clooney and Margulies were among original cast members when ER premiered in September 1994; Clooney left in February 1999, although he made a brief appearance in the May 11, 2000, episode - Margulies' last.

Former cast member Noah Wyle will return for four episodes as Dr. John Carter.

Landing the pilot

Katie Couric has landed the first interview with pilot Chesley Sullenberger, who brought his distressed plane down in the Hudson River on Jan. 15 with no loss of life.

The interview with Sullenberger and his crew will be shown on CBS' 60 Minutes on Feb. 8.

It's a coup for Couric - and it may have come at the expense of her old show. Sullenberger had been set to speak first to Matt Lauer of NBC's Today show, but that interview was postponed during the investigation of U.S. Airways Flight 1549 and its water landing.

Alleged Travolta extortion

Authorities in the Bahamas have detained an island lawmaker and a paramedic in an alleged plot to extort money from actor John Travolta after the death of his 16-year-old son, police said yesterday.

One of the suspects, ambulance driver Tarino Lightbourne, was detained yesterday. Earlier, he had been quoted as describing efforts to revive Jett, who died of a seizure this month at Travolta's vacation home on Grand Bahama.

Authorities did not reveal what the alleged extortion involved. Travolta and his wife Kelly Preston have returned home to Florida, and his publicist Paul Bloch said yesterday he has no comment.

Sen. Pleasant Bridgewater, an attorney from Grand Bahama, has been held for questioning since Thursday, Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police Marvin Dames told the Associated Press.

Not empty-handed

Aretha Franklin did more than sing "America" at President Barack Obama's inauguration. She also came bearing gifts.

Her spokeswoman, Gwendolyn Quinn, says Franklin, 66, gave Obama a collection of 17 sermons by her late father, Detroit minister C.L. Franklin. She also gave him a biography of her father and a Bible "engraved with a personal message."

Franklin gave first lady Michelle Obama a gold brooch with diamonds. Franklin's 15-year-old grandson, Jordan Franklin, gave Obama daughters Malia and Sasha a collection of gospel/Christian hip-hop music, Quinn said.

So 21st century

Pope Benedict XVI launched his own YouTube channel yesterday, the latest Vatican effort to reach out to the digital generation.

The Vatican said it was launching the channel to broaden the pope's audience while also giving the Holy See better control over the papal image online.

The Vatican plans to update the site ( daily with the most important papal news items (in Italian, German, English and Spanish) that are produced by the Vatican's television station, CTV.

The Vatican has had its own Web site,, since Christmas 1995.

From Sun news services

today's birthdays

Actor Ernest Borgnine, 92.

Singer Neil Diamond, 68.

Singer Aaron Neville, 68.

Actress Nastassja Kinski, 50.

Gymnast Mary Lou Retton, 41.

Actress Tatyana Ali, 30.

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