|Mandy Patinkin in "Chicago Hope"|
By DONALD PORTER
PASADENA, Calif. -- It looks as though Mandy Patinkin, star of the CBS hospital drama "Chicago Hope," will joining the short list of stars who have left hit shows early in the run.
Entertainment industry trade papers Variety and The Hollywood Reporter were abuzz with the news of Patinkin's imminent departure.
Other actors to leave high-profile shows early in the game include McLean Stevenson ("M*A*S*H") and David Caruso ("NYPD Blue").
Christine Lahti, making her network series debut, will be introduced as an "irreverent cardiothoracic surgeon" -- which sounds awfully close to Patinkin's current character -- in the new season's first episode, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Lahti has starred in numerous films, including "The Doctor" and "Running on Empty."
Patinkin, the publication noted, will probably stick around for a while, with his character being written out of the show around episode eight. Apparently, Patinkin is eager to return to New York City.