Featured the first use of the word "shit" in an American network television broadcast (other than documentaries). Spoken by Mark Harmon in an appropriate context. Very little negative publicity resulted.
In season one, episode fourteen, "Cutting Edges", the series quietly broke a major network television taboo by showing the uncensored breasts of a teenage girl, after her character undergoes successful reconstructive surgery. The scene, conducted with no fanfare and in good taste, attracted little controversy.
Premiered on a Thursday in the U.S., the same night as ER (1994). "Hope" was trounced in the ratings and moved to another night. Noah Wyle and Peter Berg appeared on each others shows in uncredited or voice-over roles. In one storyline, "Hope" did a commercial that looked exactly like the opening credits to ER (1994).
There are a lot of references throughout the series to St. Elsewhere (1982), another popular hospital-themed drama. Kate Austin wins the "Left Anterior Descending Aorta" award for being a top notch cardiac surgeon. Stephen Furst appeared playing a vet named Elliot. On St. Elsewhere, he played Elliot Axelrod, whose father was a vet (he did not appear as his St. Elsewhere character though as Elliot Axelrod, he was killed off on St. Elsewhere). Kate quotes her mentor to be "Dr. David Demidian". Mark Craig (William Daniels), on St. Elsewhere, said that Demidian was his mentor as well.
Many members of the cast have gone on to work together on other series. Mark Harmon, Rocky Carroll, Lauren Holly, Roma Maffia, and Stacy Edwards appeared on NCIS (2003). Thomas Gibson and Mandy Patinkin appeared on Criminal Minds (2005). Adam Arkin, Hector Elizondo, Rocky Carroll, Mark Harmon, Ron Silver, and Roma Maffia all appeared on The West Wing (1999). John DiMaggio and Lauren Tom provided voices for Futurama (1999).
During the show's run, Cadillac ran a series of ads for it's new mid-size sedan, imploring people to "Lease a Catera". Then, the announcer would ask, "Who is Lisa Catera, anyway?" Shortly thereafter, Stacy Edwards joined the cast, playing Dr. Lisa Catera (1997-1999).
The only Golden Globe win the show received was for the performance of Christine Lahti in the 1997 season which was a funny moment during the award event when her name was announced as winner and she couldn't be found since she was in the bathroom and had to rush to the stage to accept the award. Robin Williams went on to stage (along with the show's producer who knew she was there), made some jokes and later presented the award to her.