The top-rated ER (Pearl, 9.30pm) has haemorrhaged several key characters in the past season and the show's producer, Warner Brothers, has spent heavily to prevent further bleeding. Eriq La Salle, who plays the volatile yet brilliant Dr Peter Benton, received a reported US$27 million (about HK$209 million), according to Variety magazine, to stay with the medical drama for another three seasons. The signing comes in the wake of the exodus of the popular George Clooney (Dr Doug Ross) who left the show earlier this year for movie stardom. Other defections include Julianna Margulies, who plays nurse Carol Hathaway, Dr Ross's love interest. She announced she will leave the show after the 1999-2000 season. Gloria Reuben, the HIV-infected physician's assistant Jeanie Boulet, is also leaving, probably by succumbing to her various ailments. Replacement help comes in the form of Alan Alda and Rebecca DeMornay, who have signed on for guest appearances next season, albeit on a part-time basis. Last year, Warner Brothers paid heavily to retain the services of the series' stars Anthony Edwards and Noah Wyle. According to Variety, Edwards, who plays Dr Mark Green, signed for US$35 million making the California native the highest-paid television actor at nearly US$400,000 per episode. Figures for Wyle's deal were not available. Warner Brothers can easily afford to pay such high salaries as last year NBC paid the studio a record US$13 million for each episode in a three-year deal. In tonight's episode, ER's 100th, Dr Corday (Alex Kingston) is grilled for administering an accidental overdose to a patient and further grief comes from her relationship with Dr Benton. Nurse Hathaway becomes suspicious of the circumstance surrounding the death of an eight-year-old boy. I hope you watched last week's pilot episode of Brimstone (Pearl, 8.30pm) for this is a stylish and well-written show, despite its cancellation. With a theme-song by Peter Gabriel and a plot-line revolving around the Devil's bounty hunter, Ezekiel Stone (Peter Horton), the US show developed a big cult following during its short life and there is a movement on the Internet to see its return. It is doubtful the US network Fox, which cancelled the show in February after only 13 episodes, will resurrect Brimstone as each episode cost about US$1.4 million to produce; on a par with such programmes as the top-rated Ally McBeal. Being Fox's lowest-rated drama did not help matters either. However, it could return on another network. Tonight, Stone faces a moral dilemma when he tracks down a medieval rape victim (Holly Fields) who was damned to hell for avenging her attackers. Now she is back and continuing her revenge.