Noah Wyle, formerly of "ER," says he satisfied his childhood "lust" by trading his scrubs for a machine gun in the new Steven Spielberg-produced alien invasion drama "Falling Skies," whose pilot episode earned record ratings.
The two-hour program's premiere, which aired on TNT on Sunday, June 19, was watched by 5.91 million viewers, making it the cable network's top new series for the year to date, the Hollywood Reporter said.
Wyle, 39, played Dr. John Carter on the hit drama series "ER" from 1994 to its finale in 2009. The show helped launch the film career of George Clooney, who also portrayed a doctor.
The pilot of "Falling Skies" takes place in Massachusetts six months into after an alien invasion that wiped out most of the world's population and its modern power structure. Wyle plays Tom Mason, a former history professor who is made a de-facto military commander who helps leads the survivors in a rebellion.
"''ER' was an amazing opportunity and experience for me but it didn't really satisfy that lust that I had at the outset of my career, which was really just a holdover from childhood, where you want to play 'Cops and Robbers' and run around and shoot at things with your backyard with your stick ... gun," Wyle told OnTheRedCarpet.com correspondent Jacob Burch in a satellite interview.
"This is satisfying on all levels for that," he said. "It's 'Go to work and get dirty and get handed a machine gun and get to play in the woods with your friends.'"
"Falling Skies" will continue to air on Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on TNT.
Aside from his work on "ER," Wyle also starred in the 1992 movie "A Few Good Men" and in the 2001 Jake Gyllenhaal film "Donnie Darko." In 1995, he and Clooney also guest starred on the show "Friends," playing doctors.
Additional reporting by Jacob Burch, correspondent for KABC Television's entertainment show "On The Red Carpet" (check for local TV listings).