Last summer, it was looking questionable about the future of the NBC sitcom Scrubs. Initially, series star Zach Braff said that he didn’t expect the series to go another year. He felt like both he and creator Bill Lawrence were itching to do other things. Then, Lawrence said that he would be open to do another season, even without his bud Braff if necessary. Rumors have gone back and forth ever since but, of course, all of it was contingent on where or not NBC would want a seventh season. Well, it now seems like things are finally settled. Well, mostly.
It’s now been confirmed that the offbeat medial sitcom will definitely be back for another season but, it looks very likely that that will be the last. Lawrence explains the good news this way: “The reason that we have our destiny in our own control is because the show’s a dinosaur and ABC (Disney) owns 100% of Scrubs even though its on NBC. It’s sold into syndication, it’s doing well, so they essentially told us… I said ‘Should I be writing a series finale for the show this year?’ And they said, ‘No’ because if it’s not (picked up) on NBC, we’re gonna do another year on ABC.”
So which network will air the series? It’s likely that it will be NBC. They aren’t overflowing with popular programming and Scrubs has become a cornerstone of NBC’s attempt to reclaim “Must-See-TV Thursdays.” The show’s holding its own against very stiff competition from the other networks and, is NBC’s youngest skewing primetime series (the show’s average viewer age is about 36). Lawrence shared, “We’ve essentially been told that NBC is really happy with how we are doing. I would say it’s better than a coin flip we are back on NBC.”
The series recently scored higher ratings with a special musical episode (which cost double what a regular episode cost). The special episode actually came about because of the series unknown future. Lawrence said, “We decided to do a musical episode show now because we outlined at the beginning of the year when we thought this might be our last year. I always promised everybody, the cast are all musical theatre geeks, the writing staff likes it. It’s really a labor-intensive thing so I promised everybody we’d do it in the last year of the show. So (this year) they said ‘this could be our last year’ and we did it — and it’s not going to be the last year so it was a giant waste of time (laughs).”
So, will Zach Braff be back for what looks to be the final season? Lawrence now says that Scrubs would not continue without J.D. but “feels pretty good” that Braff will be back for the seventh season. For his part, Braff has said that he would be willing to return if “all the right pieces fall into place” which include Lawrence’s continued participation and “some scheduling tweaks” (presumably to allow him to do his film work). He’ll be making a decision in the next month.
I think it would be pretty difficult for Braff to miss out on the series’ swan song so it’s a pretty safe bet the cast will remain intact — no matter what network they’re on. Of course, things can always change. We’ll keep you posted if they do so stay tuned!