Laura Innes’ character on ”ER” could have fans declaring, ”Yup, she’s gay” this season. Insiders say producers of the seven year old medical drama will give Dr. Carrie Weaver (Innes) a lesbian lover in a short term story arc. No word on whether the role has been cast or when the episodes will air. (A Warner Bros. TV spokesman declined to comment.)
Carrie’s love life has largely taken a back seat to her job as a tough as nails ER administrator, while protracted tales of passion are often given to other members of the veteran cast — namely Noah Wyle, Anthony Edwards, and Eriq LaSalle, as well as former cast members Julianna Margulies and George Clooney. In its six seasons, ”ER” producers have only let Carrie briefly hook up with two men: a South African and an HMO executive.
Ever since Ellen Degeneres’ now infamous coming out episode in her namesake ABC comedy during the 1996-97 season, the broadcast networks have left their doors wide open for the prime time portrayals of gays. Besides established characters on shows (Will and Jack on NBC’s ”Will & Grace,” Carter Heywood on ”Spin City,” and Yosh Takata on ”ER”), there are several new shows this season that feature key homosexual roles. Among them: John Goodman as Butch in the new Fox comedy ”Normal, Ohio,” Valarie Rae Miller as Original Cindy in Fox’s ”Dark Angel,” and James Dreyfus as Oscar in CBS’ ”Bette.”