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"Zero Hour" debuts to low ratings

Anthony Edwards is shown in a scene from "Zero Hour."
ABC

11 years after leaving weekly TV behind, "ER" star Anthony Edwards returned Thursday with the supernatural-themed "Zero Hour."

The new series premiered on ABC with Edwards in the starring role of Hank Galliston, the editor of a skeptics magazine who ironically winds up immersed in the world of the paranormal following his wife's bizarre disappearance.

Edwards previously starred on "ER" as Dr. Mark Greene from 1994-2002, winning a Golden Globe in 1998 for his performance. He also briefly returned to the role with a guest appearance in 2008 during the medical drama's final season.

"When I left 'ER' I thought, I'd never do a network drama again -- not because I didn't love it but because it was so much work," Edwards said in a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, also revealing that part of the appeal of working on "Zero Hour" comes from its stark difference in style to "ER."

The ratings for the premiere installment of "Zero Hour" were less than phenomenal, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The first episode lost viewers during its second half-hour, becoming ABC's lowest-rated in-season premiere for a scripted series in the network's history. The critics apparently weren't impressed either:

Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times: "'Zero Hour,' while initially tantalizing (priests, Nazis, Anthony Edwards, an unholy birth, a secret map -- I'm in! I'm in!), is more than a little disappointing (flat-footed dialogue, absurd plot machinations, cardboard main characters, ludicrous historical leaps -- I'm out! I'm out!)."

Tierney Bricker, E! News: "So yeah, TV gold this is not, but Zero Hour is kind of like junk food. You know it's empty calories and you shouldn't eat it, but you find yourself eating it anyway. We'll probably keep watching Zero Hour just because it's so insane that we want to see what the hell they are going to do next. Again, Nazis are involved."

Matt Zoller Seitz, Vulture: "Without [Edwards'] unpretentious intelligence anchoring 'Zero Hour,' I doubt I could have gotten through ten minutes of the pilot without gnashing my teeth in annoyance."

James Poniewozik, Time: "If you DVR the premiere and watch the first few minutes and the last few, you will be treated to the most over-the-top hilarious parody movie trailer you will likely see all year."

Tim Goodman, The Hollywood Reporter: "'Zero Hour' has lots of twists and turns that could be worth following. It also has the DNA to be laughably bad."

Tell us: Did you tune in for "Zero Hour"?

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    Ken Lombardi is an entertainment reporter for CBS News. He has interviewed over 300 celebrities, including Clint Eastwood, Oprah Winfrey and Tom Hanks.