For the past two years, NBC has waited until the last minute to renew their critically-acclaimed sitcom, Scrubs. Each time, it looked like ABC (whose sister company ABC Studios produces the show) was ready to take it over if the peacock network cancelled the series. Presumably to keep Scrubs out of the alphabet network’s hands, NBC has renewed it each year. It now appear that ABC isn’t willing to take a “wait and see” attitude any longer.
Following the conclusion of the writers strike, NBC announced that several of its sitcoms were heading back into production for additional 2007-08 season episodes. Scrubs was conspicuously missing from the list.
Of the 12 episodes that were produced prior to the writers strike stoppage, the network still has five that haven’t aired. Last May, NBC ordered 18 episodes for the season but has been hesitant to commit to filming the remaining six.
As this was promoted as the Scrubs’ last season, fans were left to wonder if the sitcom would actually be given a proper finale. Creator Bill Lawrence has promised that he would give some resolution to the fans in some way but NBC has been dragging their feet. Apparently, ABC is tired of waiting.
The alphabet network has reportedly been conducting negotiations to take over the series for 18 season eight episodes for the 2008-09 season. Some believe that the deal has been completed but ABC isn’t talking.
NBC, who still has a first-option contract for the sitcom, isn’t happy about the negotiation news and may take legal action. NBC Entertainment/Universal Media Studios co-chair Marc Graboff says, “NBC has a license agreement with ABC Studios, which includes a right of first negotiation and first refusal to extend the series term beyond this season. We’re living under the terms of this license agreement, and we expect ABC Studios to do the same.”
For its part, the peacock network is still in negotiations for ways to end season seven of Scrubs. Prior to the ABC news, options under consideration included ordering one more episode as a series finale or producing the final episodes for a direct-to-DVD release.
If Scrubs does return for an eighth season, will the entire cast be along for the ride? Zach Braff previously expressed interest in moving on. Thankfully for Scrubs fans, all of the actors’ existing contracts cover season eight. Braff signed a lucrative deal last Spring and that contract would cover another year.
If the sitcom does return for another season, the show would likely head back into production soon. Keeping the series going, either on NBC or ABC, would add additional episodes to Scrubs’ syndication package which has been very profitable. Stay tuned!