Zachbraff_scrubs_290 One way or another, the ninth season of “Scrubs” will be different from the show you’ve experienced for the past eight years — possibly very different.

The long-running show will be back on the air in late fall, and ABC Entertainment president Steve McPherson says that Zach Braff and “a number of” the other regulars will appear in at least some of the episodes. But it will also go in one of two new directions — one of which would be a radical change from what the series has been until this point.

“There are two scenarios [creator Bill Lawrence] is playing with in terms of the next generation is,” McPherson told reporters at a Tuesday morning press conference announcing ABC’s 2009-10 schedule. “One is kind of a complete rethinking, and one is just kind of the next generation — like what ‘ER’ did, but on the comedy side, repopulating the cast.”

Lawrence is set to pitch both ideas to McPherson in the next few weeks, and the network will decide whether to continue on at Sacred Heart (the next-gen option) or move it to an entirely different location (the complete revamp option).

Braff has signed on for six episodes of the new season, with the potential to appear in a couple more. McPherson says Braff’s episodes won’t necessarily be the first six of the season, but the bulk of them will probably air in the first half of the year (ABC ordered 18 episodes of “Scrubs” for 2009-10). McPherson didn’t offer specifics on the other cast members, but Neil Flynn‘s time as the Janitor will almost certainly be limited, as he’s starring in ABC’s new show “The Middle.”

“Scrubs” and fellow returnee “Better Off Ted” will air at 9 p.m. ET Tuesdays following the end of “Dancing with the Stars'” fall cycle, with a late November premiere date likely. “Ted” has been picked up for 13 episodes.

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Posted by:Rick Porter