Is ''ER'' seeking a transfusion of new blood? It is according to Alex Kingston, who recently learned that her seven-year tenure on the show is about to end. In an interview with the BBC's Radio Times magazine, the 41-year-old British actress said she'd been sacked because of her age. ''Apparently I, according to the producers, the writers, am part of the old fogeys who are no longer interesting,'' said Kingston, who plays Dr. Elizabeth Corday. ''Does it mean that I am the geriatric being pushed out because she is too old?''
These days on ''ER,'' veterans in Kingston's age range, including Laura Innes (44) and Maura Tierney (39) are competing for screen time with younger, newer cast members, including Linda Cardellini and Parminder Nagra (both 28). ''It's fine to have young med students,'' Kingston said, ''but you need to have figures of authority, people of different ages, races, shapes and sizes.''
Kingston also speculated that her $150,000 per episode salary had grown too costly for the producers. On Monday, however, Warner Bros. Television issued a statement saying, ''Alex Kingston has been an integral part of 'ER' for the past eight years. She is a gifted actress and a true professional. Like countless other characters on long-running series storylines run their course over time. The situation with Alex Kingston's character Dr. Elizabeth Corday is no exception,'' the statement said. (Indeed, the writers haven't given Dr. Corday much to do in the two years since the death of her husband, Anthony Edwards' Dr. Mark Greene.) ''We wish Alex all the best in her future endeavors and hope to have the opportunity to work with her again in the near future.''
Kingston, who has already, according to E! Online, taped two episodes for next season, apparently reconsidered her remarks and now seems to agree with Warner Bros. Since the Radio Times article appeared, she's issued her own statement, saying that her comments ''were spoken tongue-in-cheek and, unfortunately, have been taken out of context. ... I regret if these statements affected the producers, as we are in mutual agreement that the storyline for my character has run its course.'' She said she plans to return to England to pursue film and TV work.