George Clooney returning to TV

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George Clooney will return to television, Paramount Television said on Thursday, almost 20 years after he left hit show ER to become a movie A-lister.

Clooney will direct and star in the six-episode series, based on USA author Joseph Heller's darkly comedic 1961 novel Catch-22, for Viacom Inc's Paramount Television and Anonymous Content, shooting in early 2018, the studio said.

The series will begin production in early 2018.

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Catch-22 tells the story of Yossarian, an U.S. bomber pilot in World War II. It was previously adapted for the screen in Mike Nichols' 1970 film starring Alan Arkin and Orson Welles.

Almost two decades after George Clooney left the seminal medical drama ER, the actor is making a return to the small screen - and the only catch is the one in the title. He is in a tough situation because he hates embarking on risky combat missions but can't be relieved from duty because of the frustrating Catch-22 rule. In the forthcoming TV series, Clooney will step into Balsam's shoes to play Colonel Cathcart, the ambitious and ruthless officer in charge of Yossarian's squadron. On the big-screen, Clooney's work includes an Oscar win for his supporting turn in Syriana and as part of the cast of best picture victor Argo. The package - co-written by Luke Davies (Lion) and David Michod (War Machine) will be shopped in December.

Clooney will direct, along with Grant Heslov.