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Friday, February 29, 2008

TV Hot Spot: News

'Scrubs' Moving to ABC?

Post by: Sal

Source: Variety

NBC is crying foul over reports that "Scrubs" is on the move from the Peacock to ABC.

Alphabet net is said to be close to picking up an 18-episode season from sibling ABC Studios of the critically acclaimed Zach Braff laffer.

But if that's true, NBC Entertainment/Universal Media Studios co-chair Marc Graboff said ABC Studios would be in breach of contract - and would take appropriate legal action.

"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," Graboff said. "We're living under the terms of this license agreement, and we expect ABC Studios to do the same."

Meanwhile, ABC Studios execs were scrambling Thursday to respond to rumors that a deal had already been done. Studio hasn't commented on rumors that discussions have commenced between the Alphabet and its sister studio.

NBC, on the other hand, believes that it is still in talks with ABC Studios to decide how to resolve the seventh - and what was believed to be the final - season of "Scrubs."

"Scrubs" produced 12 episodes before the writers strike put things to a halt; seven have already aired, with five more slated for this spring. That leaves six remaining segs under this season's 18-episode order.

Peacock and ABC Studios had been negotiating whether the net would go ahead and air all remaining six segs, or air some of those episodes, with the rest going to DVD.

NBC execs were also in talks with ABC Studios over whether the net would commit to a big series finale on the air. Peacock wanted assurances, before spending that money, that "Scrubs" wouldn't wind up squeezing out an other season on ABC.

ABC Studios and NBC have rarely seen eye-to-eye on "Scrubs." Studio has complained that "Scrubs" never got its due from a marketing standpoint, and also suffered through countless scheduling moves.

"Scrubs" has indeed been a workhorse on Peacock's sked, bowing in Oct. 2001 on Tuesday nights, and ultimately moving a whopping 17 times between Tuesday and Thursday (and once, on Wednesday) slots during its seven seasons on the air.

Also, for the past several years, NBC has entered the May upfront season with "Scrubs" on the bubble - and every year, conventional wisdom has put ABC as the likely benefactor should the Peacock decide to pull the plug. But so far, "Scrubs" has received a last-minute order from NBC - until now.

As for this year, writers on the show recently returned to work, giving the impression at one point that "Scrubs" would indeed return to NBC's airwaves this spring.

But with no deal in the offing, ABC has once again entered the picture. Network entertainment president Steve McPherson developed "Scrubs" as the head of ABC Studios, then known as Touchstone TV. McPherson remains a fan of the quirky comedy, and has expressed interest in adding the show to the Alphabet's lineup - giving the net an instant comedy franchise.

Should "Scrubs" continue, it would be with the entire cast - including star Braff. Thesp signed a rich deal with ABC Studios last spring that made him one of the top-paid actors on TV. Show's seventh season was originally expected to be its last - and NBC has marketed it as such.

Bill Lawrence created and exec produces "Scrubs," which revolves around the world of medical resident J.D. (Braff). Donald Faison, Sarah Chalke, John C. McGinley, Neil Flynn, Ken Jenkins and Judy Reyes also star.

"Scrubs" received Emmy noms for outstanding comedy series in 2005 and 2006, and has also won the Humanitas Prize.

In TV history, NBC shows that have hopped to ABC include "Diff'rent Strokes" and "Something So Right."

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