Television history was about to change a bit, when NBC premiered their long-running medical drama ER on September 19, 1994, before finding its way to its stronghold Thursday 10pm timeslot, where it remained for its entire lifespan. For the first few weeks, the Michael Crichton-created and John Wells-run drama was facing off against CHICAGO HOPE on CBS, and the expectations were not friendly with NBC in this duel. CHICAGO HOPE got the better reviews, and had the bigger name behind the camera (David E. Kelley). Which is probably why it was such a surprise for everyone when ER turned out to be the more successful show. And most likely a week later, no one was surprised anymore, when they saw that ER was not only the more successful TV drama, but also much better quality-wise.
ER is the show I could always watch. In fact, I currently watch at least one episode a day of this show, for most likely the rest of my life. It is my all-time favorite show after all. and it looks like I was not the only one thinking that, looking at the numbers for the first season, which started off high for NBC, but low compared to what ER would deliver during the next four, five years. The season started off with a 27 share, and even went as high as a 40 share, cementing its place in television history. In a way, the first action-episode “Blizzard” put ER on the map of Nielsen ratings killers, delivering the highest numbers of the show so far (it was the first episode above a 20.0 rating), and continuing to climb afterwards. Whatever kind of promo NBC stuck behind that one episode, viewers were interested after that.