If you’ve watched NBC in the past week or so you might’ve noticed promos for Scrubs which urge you to tune in for "the final episodes." Not "the final episodes of the season," mind you; just "the final episodes."
Cue alarm bells. Is the network tipping its hand that the series, currently its longest-running comedy, is about to be DNR’d? And if so, does that mean that Scrubs might be headed to ABC in the fall?
Maybe. Or maybe not. According to this Variety story, the promos are ambiguous by design since the network hasn’t made a decision on whether to renew the comedy for a seventh season. NBC announces its 2007-08 schedule at its upfront presentation Monday, May 14, and it’s unlikely we’ll know the fate of Scrubs much before then.
Creator Bill Lawrence has frequently said that if NBC no longer wants the show, it’s a likely candidate to wind up on ABC, since it’s produced by that network’s sister studio (and, by the way, Zach Braff has since signed a fat contract extension to return next season). But there’s a catch involved in that as well.
The Variety story notes that NBC’s option on Scrubs doesn’t expire until May 16 — a day after ABC’s upfront. That doesn’t preclude ABC picking up the show if NBC passes, but it would steal some thunder from the Alphabet’s song-and-dance for advertisers.
Then there’s the question of how much upside the show has for ABC. Critics for the most part still like it and has devoted fans, something ABC’s half-hours have been sorely lacking this season. However, it’s not a cheap show to make, Braff is only committed to one more season and those fans, loyal though they may be, are not legion (the show’s averaging a bit under 7 million viewers this season).
I hope Scrubs comes back next season, somewhere. The show has at times this season been a little off its game, but it’s earned — sheerly through perseverance, if nothing else — the right to end the way its cast and crew want it to end. And I really hope that network gamesmanship doesn’t prevent that.