Chicago Hope

Chicago Hope Information

Chicago Hope is an American medical drama television series, created by David E. Kelley. It ran on CBS from September 28, 1994, to May 4, 2000. The series is set in a fictional private charity hospital in Chicago, Illinois.


The show starred Mandy Patinkin as Dr. Jeffrey Geiger, a hot-shot surgeon with emotional issues stemming from the psychiatric condition of his wife (played by Kim Greist), who drowned their infant son. Adam Arkin plays Dr. Aaron Shutt, a world-renowned neurosurgeon and Dr. Geiger's best friend. Thomas Gibson played Dr. Daniel Nyland, a promiscuous ER doctor and trauma surgeon who was later suspended due to him having an affair with a patient's family member and later was injured in a car crash. Dr. Keith Wilkes played by Rocky Carroll, often clashed with Nyland and was known for his back-to-basics and rough demeanor. He was good friends with Peter Berg's character, Dr. Billy Kronk. Kronk was known for his cowboyish demeanor and known to be very cocky, as showed in an episode where he cuts off a man's injured leg with a chainsaw in a scene where Kronk helps out at an accident site. Peter MacNicol, Hector Elizondo and Alan Rosenberg feature as the hospital's in-house attorney and chief of staff, respectively. Christine Lahti joined in the second season as a talented cardiac surgeon with a feminist chip on her shoulder, vying with Geiger for the chief of surgery position. She was known fighting in a custody battle with her malicious ex-husband and businessman, Tommy Wilmette. Mr. Wilmette did everything he could to get Austin to lose custody of their daughter. He purchased the hospital at the end of Season 2. Dr. Austin is suspened because she and her daughter go AWOL on a trip to New Zealand. Mr. Wilmette was upset because it took him three months to find his ex-wife and daughter. In Season 3, the doctors want Mr. Wilmette to sell the hospital and the doctors would run it. The doctors viewed that Wilmette didn't know how to run a hospital and cut too many costs that involved patient care. Mr. Wilmette later met with Senator Kennedy at the White House to talk about Healthcare Reform. In Season 2, Geiger resigns from Chicago Hope after trying to save Alan Birch from a deadly gunshot wound to his heart.

Geiger adopted Birch's baby daughter. Geiger later rejoins the doctors at the end of Season 5 when he becomes Chairman of the Board and fires half of the doctors. In Season 4, Dr. Shutt became a psychiatrist and temporarily lost his ability to operate after suffering from a brain aneurysm. In Season 6, Shutt returns to Neurosurgery and works alongside Carla Gugino's character, Dr. Gina Simon.


Actor Character Seasons
Patinkin, MandyMandy Patinkin Geiger, JeffreyDr. Jeffrey Geiger 1"2, 6 (Guest Appearances in 3-5)
Lahti, ChristineChristine Lahti Austin, KateDr. Kate Austin 2"5
Arkin, AdamAdam Arkin Shutt, Aaron Dr. Aaron Shutt
Berg, PeterPeter Berg Dr. Billy Kronk 1"5
Brook, JayneJayne Brook Grad, DianeDr. Diane Grad 1"5
Carroll, RockyRocky Carroll Wilkes, KeithDr. Keith Wilkes 3"6
Curtis-Hall, VondieVondie Curtis-Hall Hancock, DennisDr. Dennis Hancock 1"5
Edwards, StacyStacy Edwards Catera, LisaDr. Lisa Catera 4"5
Elizondo, HectorHector Elizondo Watters, PhilipDr. Philip Watters
Gibson, ThomasThomas Gibson Nyland, DannyDr. Danny Nyland 1"3
Gugino, CarlaCarla Gugino Simon, GinaDr. Gina Simon 6
Harmon, MarkMark Harmon McNeil, JackDr. Jack McNeil 3"6
Hart, RoxanneRoxanne Hart Schutt, CamilleNurse Camille Schutt 1"2
Hershey, BarbaraBarbara Hershey Alberghetti, FrancescaDr. Francesca Alberghetti 6
Holly, LaurenLauren Holly Hanlon, JeremyDr. Jeremy Hanlon 6
MacNicol, PeterPeter MacNicol Birch, AlanAlan Birch 1"2
Maffia, RomaRoma Maffia Giandamenicio, AngelaAngela Giandamenicio 1
Marshall, E.G.E.G. Marshall Thurmond, ArthurDr. Arthur Thurmond 1
Rosenberg, AlanAlan Rosenberg Brickman, StuartStuart Brickman 6
Sheridan, JameyJamey Sheridan Sutton, JohnDr. John Sutton 2
Stoltz, EricEric Stoltz Yeats, RobertDr. Robert Yeats 5
Edwards, Monique Monique Edwards Canyon, LaurelNurse Laurel Canyon 2"6


The pilot episode of Chicago Hope was broadcast the day before NBC's ER in a special Sunday, 8 p.m. time slot. After the first week, however, the two Chicago-based hospital dramas went "head to head" in their primetime 10 p.m. Thursday night slot. ER was the victor: its first season proved a ratings winner. Despite receiving critical acclaim, Chicago Hope was shifted to 9 p.m. Thursdays, and ultimately to Monday nights in 1995 in a bid for higher ratings, while ER remained in its time slot.

Chicago Hope remained in the Monday slot and performed well, with ratings peaking at 11.9, with a 20 share. In the second season, however, Kelley and Patinkin decided to leave the show. The show was moved to Wednesdays at 10 p.m. in 1997 to make room for the Steven Bochco drama, Brooklyn South, on Mondays. In 1999, both Kelley and Patinkin returned, with a revamped cast now including Barbara Hershey and Lauren Holly, but excluding Lahti, Peter Berg, Jayne Brook, Vondie Curtis-Hall, and Stacy Edwards. CBS also moved the show back to Thursday nights, against NBC's Frasier and ABC's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. The show was canceled in May 2000.

In 2007, former co-stars Rocky Carroll (Dr. Keith Wilkes); Mark Harmon (Dr. Jack McNeil) and Lauren Holly (Dr. Jeremy Hanlon) worked together on the series NCIS. Holly left the show after three seasons, while Harmon and Carroll remain with the cast today. In addition, Carroll has a recurring role as his NCIS character, Director Leon Vance, on that series's spin off, NCIS: Los Angeles. Jayne Brook (Dr. Diane Grad) has guest starred on NCIS as well.

Nielsen ratings

Seasonal rankings (based on average total viewers per episode) of Chicago Hope.

Note: Each U.S. network television season starts in late September and ends in late May, which coincides with the completion of May sweeps.

Season Timeslot Season premiere Season finale TV season Ranking Viewers
(in millions)
1st Thursday, 10:00 p.m. September 18, 1994 May 22, 1995 1994"1995 29 11.2
2nd Monday 10:00 p.m. September 18, 1995 May 20, 1996 1995"1996 24 11.4
3rd Monday 10:00 p.m. September 16, 1996 May 19, 1997 1996"1997 30 10.2
4th Wednesday 10:00 p.m. October 1, 1997 May 13, 1998 1997"1998 39 8.9
5th Wednesday 10:00 p.m. September 30, 1998 May 19, 1999 1998"1999 73 9.9
6th Thursday 9:00 p.m. September 23, 1999 May 4, 2000 1999"2000 62 9.4


With the exception of some infrequent on-location scenes, the vast majority of Chicago Hope was filmed on sound stages at the studios of Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation, located in the Century City area of Los Angeles.


Chicago Hope aired for six straight seasons and 141 episodes.


Fyvush Finkel and Kathy Baker appeared as their Picket Fences characters in the first season. Likewise, Mandy Patinkin and Hector Elizondo brought their Chicago Hope characters to Picket Fences that year. Both Adam Arkin and Lauren Holly had previously appeared on Picket Fences as a lawyer and as a deputy sheriff, respectively.

Mandy Patinkin appears in an uncredited role as Geiger in a 1994 episode of Homicide: Life on the Street. Chicago Hope producer John Tinker shot this footage as a favor to his St. Elsewhere colleague Tom Fontana.

Chicago Hope characters crossed over to Early Edition early in that show's run. Rocky Carroll, Jayne Brook, and Hector Elizondo all guest-starred in scenes taking place in the hospital.

DVD releases

Revelation Films has released the first three seasons of Chicago Hope on DVD in Region 2 (UK) for the very first time. Season 4 will be released on March 11, 2013, season 5 on July 22, 2013 and season 6 on November 18, 2013.

DVD Name Ep# Release dates
Region 1 Region 2 Region 4
Season One 22 N/A March 5, 2012 N/A
Season Two 23 N/A July 23, 2012 N/A
Season Three 26 N/A November 5, 2012 N/A
Season Four 24 N/A March 11, 2013 N/A
Season Five 24 N/A July 22, 2013 N/A
Season Six 22 N/A November 18, 2013 N/A


The series broke a network television taboo by showing a teenager's breast after her character underwent reconstructive surgery. This was generally seen as relevant to the subject matter and went relatively uncriticized.

On November 18, 1998, Chicago Hope became the first regular series episode to be broadcast in HDTV. The episode was entitled "The Other Cheek".


Over its six seasons, Chicago Hope was nominated for many accolades and won several, including seven Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe.

Emmy awards

Year Award Recipient
1995 Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Mandy Patinkin
1995 Outstanding Individual Achievement in Cinematography for a Series Tim Suhrstedt for the episode "Over The Rainbow"
1996 Outstanding Individual Achievement in Casting for a Series Debi Manwiller
1996 Outstanding Individual Achievement in Directing for a Drama Series Jeremy Kagan for the episode "Leave Of Absence"
1997 Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Hector Elizondo
1998 Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series Christine Lahti
1998 Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Drama Series Russell C. Fager, R. Russell Smith, and William Freesh for the episode "Brain Salad Surgery"

International airings

In the UK, seasons 1 and 2 originally aired on BBC One. More recently, all seasons of the show have been shown on ITV3. Starting on September 3, 2007, it began airing on Zone Romantica in the UK and Ireland. In Australia, the series originally aired on The Seven Network. In Germany the first seasons were shown in the 1990s. In Hungary, the series aired on Viasat3.In Indonesian,the series originally aired on RCTI,Starting From January 1999 Ended From August 2001

In popular culture

  • The "South Park" episode "It Hits the Fan" lampoons the controversy over the show using the word "shit", with a plotline that concerns the controversy that erupts when a network TV show announces it will use the word. The episode then goes on to use the word "shit" 162 times in its 30 minute running time.
  • In the Early Edition episode "The Choice", as Gary picks up a hurt girl, a bystander (Eddie Jemison) tells him not to and asks "Don't you ever watch Chicago Hope?" The girl in the episode was played by Mae Whitman.
  • Episode 5 of Season 3, "Liar Liar", took a nod to its rival medical series, ER, when a publicist hired by the hospital creates a promotional video that looks and sounds almost exactly like the opening credits of ER, but with "ER" replaced by "CH" and minus the actors' names.
  • The show also appears once on Ally McBeal in the episode "Love's Illusions" when Ling Woo turns on the television and says "uh! Chicago Hope" after a failed attempt at sexual intercourse with Richard Fish.

This webpage uses material from the Wikipedia article "Chicago_Hope" and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. Reality TV World is not responsible for any errors or omissions the Wikipedia article may contain.



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