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90s Doctor Shows: A Trip to the Entertainment ER

If you were a producer or actor or anyone in the entertainment industry looking for a path to success in the 1990s, there was one sure thing you could go after: a medical drama. After decades of build-up, 90s doctor shows rocketed to the top of the television stratosphere and made stars out of just about of everyone involved.


ER ran from 1994 to 2009, with 302 episodes and over 100 awards. It was set in the emergency room of fictional County General Hospital in Chicago. The show follows a team of doctors who try their best to save patients that come through the hospital’s doors every day but they also have drama going on outside work as well like family issues, romantic entanglements, and problems with their boss.

ER’s most notable stars were George Clooney as Dr. Doug Ross and Julianna Margulies as Nurse Carol Hathaway but they also had plenty of other actors who went on to have great careers such as Noah Wyle, Maura Tierney, Goran Visnjic, Eriq La Salle, Laura Innes and many more.

Chicago Hope

Running from 1994 to 2000, Chicago Hope is set in a fictional hospital in Chicago. The show follows the lives of the doctors who work at this hospital and their patients, many times serious cases that come into the ER, and many with life-threatening or life-changing conditions.

Starring Mandy Patinkin as Dr. Jeffrey Geiger, Joe Morton as Dr. Aaron Shutt and Adam Arkin as Dr. Alexei “Lex” Chernov, Chicago Hope was created by David E. Kelley and ran for six seasons.


A spinoff of Empty Nest, Nurses followed a team of nurses working at a Miami hospital, including Gina Cuevas (Ada Maris), Sandy Miller (Stephanie Hodge), and Greg Vincent (Jeff Altman).

Another notable character was Dr. Hank Kaplan, played by Kip Gilman. Hank was a good and sympathetic doctor, and also Gina’s love interest.

The show ran from 1991 to 1994 and featured regular cameos by Dr. Harry Weston, from Empty Nest.

Northern Exposure

Northern Exposure followed the adventures of a New York doctor who is sent to work in Alaska as repayment for his medical education being paid in full.

The show ran from 1990 to 1994 and starred Rob Morrow as Dr. Joel Fleischman, with a number of other actors appearing during the course of its five year run.

Notable recurring characters included Maggie O’Connell (Janine Turner) and Chris Stevens (John Corbett) among many others.

Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman

Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman was a 90s drama about a female doctor, played by Jane Seymour, in the 1800s American West who won’t let social conventions and comments from her male contemporaries get in the way of treating patients as she sees fit.

The show ran from 1993 to 1998 and starred Joe Lando as Dr. Mike Rosser and Jane Seymour as Dr. Quinn.

Doogie Howser, M.D.

Doogie Howser, M.D., was a 90s sitcom about teenager Doogie who becomes a doctor and undertakes his career while living at home and juggling the normal pressures and demands of growing up.

The show ran from 1989 to 1993 and starred Neil Patrick Harris as Doogie Howser.

Along the way Doogie became a television classic and spurred on countless “too young” jokes across the country.

General Hospital

After three decades on the air, General Hospital just kept trucking right along during the 1990s.

Set in the fictional town of Port Charles, General Hospital follows the lives and loves of a group of medical professionals that work at General Hospital.

The 90s brought us such memorable moments as Robin’s stint in witness protection with Stone Cates (played by Michael Sutton) and Dr. Bobbie Spencer’s (Jacklyn Zeman) tragic death in a plane crash.

The 90s also brought us the return of Nurse Jessie Brewer (played by Hudson Leick) and her whirlwind romance with Dr. Noah Drake (played by John Reilly).

Third Watch

Although ostensibly a cop show, Third Watch often ventured into the medical realm when victims or perps found themselves at nearby Mercy Hospital. There were plenty of paramedics sightings, too.

Set in New York City and following the dramas of the fictional NYPD 55th precinct, Third Watch was one of the late 90s’ most popular cop dramas.

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