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George Clooney will appear on 'ER'...but when?

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It’s probably a good idea to program your TiVo now for the final episodes of ER; if history is any guide, NBC won’t let us know when — or even confirm if — George Clooney will make a much-anticipated return to the drama. It wouldn’t be the first time Clooney has made a surprise appearance on the show — Spoiler Alert, if by some chance you’ve never seen it! — as he turned up in May 2000 for Julianna Margulies’ farewell as Carol Hathaway. That episode, titled “Such Sweet Sorrow,” ended with Carol happily reuniting with Clooney’s Doug in Seattle.

The previous Clooney cameo came as a huge surprise to fans since NBC didn’t promote it. Then again, that two-minute scene was fully meant to stay under wraps; a source close to the show said executive producer John Wells took only a skeleton crew to the Seattle area and offered bonuses to his workers if they kept quiet about the very special episode. Clooney’s appearance was not even credited.

One burning question regarding Clooney’s expected upcoming cameo is how much he’ll get paid (assuming he even accepts compensation). Another source close to the show speculated that whatever Clooney earns — be it the SAG minimum or a $100K-plus payday for a few hours work — it seems plausible that Clooney could donate it to charity.

Take a glimpse of the memorable reunion back in 2000 (sadly, there is no audio available on any of the reunion clips we found on YouTube).