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Shift Change: "Scrubs"... on ABC?

It's no secret that medical comedy Scrubs has been, well, lagging a bit in the ratings this season.

Now in it's sixth season, the series has been shifted about a number of times in the schedule and, hell, it nearly didn't come back for the sixth season of medical-tinged hijinx and surreal fantasy sequences until NBC exercised their option for an additional installment literally at the eleventh hour.

Nearly a year later and Scrubs is back in the same situation it was at the end of the 2005-06 season. It's a prohibitively expensive show to produce and, despite studio ABCTV (formerly known as Touchstone) locking up Zach Braff for a seventh season, NBC doesn't seem certain it wants the show to return next year.

They might be able to come to an arrangement should the studio reduce the license fee it requires NBC to pay for the right to air the series (the longer series, like Scrubs run, the more expensive the license fee becomes), but NBC and Kevin Reilly might decide that the real estate itself--a slot in its newly created Thursday night comedy block--is worth more to them than Scrubs.

However, unlike last season (where NBC renewed the show and then held onto it until December), Scrubs is being courted by another suitor altogether: ABC. It's no secret that ABC is in dire need of a comedy hit and it's far easier to build a fanbase around a show that, you know, already exists rather than try to develop one from scratch.

ABC has had a Herculean task trying to generate audience interest in new comedy skeins In Case of Emergency, Big Day, and Knights of Prosperity (though there are rumors swirling that the latter will return); it still has Notes from the Underbelly waiting to launch as well. Veteran comedies According to Jim and George Lopez might be on their way out, so what is a network to do but poach someone else's comedy series, especially if the other guy doesn't want it anymore.

It makes sense, especially as Scrubs is produced by sister studio ABCTV. Even with a reduced license fee, it's still an attractive prospect for ABC; the longer the show runs, the more they can make on syndicated revenue (Scrubs recently started airing its first five season on Comedy Central).

I'm happy to see Scrubs live on for a while longer (personally, I love the show) but part of me can't imagine it sharing a network with Lost, Desperate Housewives, and Grey's Anatomy. Which is precisely why ABC needs a hit comedy: to alter the perception that it only offers drama and reality competitions (like Dancing with the Stars).

But I also feel somewhat sad that NBC would continue to use and abuse this smartly written, deftly acted comedy the way it has in recent years. I just wish that they would wake up a bit and realize they don't want to throw out something they've already built from the ground up.

What's On Tonight

8 pm: NCIS (CBS); Dateline (NBC); Gilmore Girls (CW); America's Funniest Home Videos (ABC); American Idol (FOX; 8-10 pm)

9 pm: The Unit (CBS); Law & Order: Criminal Intent (NBC); Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search of the Next Doll (CW); Primetime (ABC)

10 pm: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (CBS); Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (NBC); Boston Legal (ABC)

What I'll Be Watching

8-10 pm: American Idol.

Tonight, the top 12 contestants perform for their chance at pop credibility and probable future anonymity.

8 pm: Gilmore Girls.

I've given up on this once-great drama, but for the few of you out there still watching, here's what's going on. On tonight's repeat episode ("Go, Bulldogs!"), the theme is parenting as Christopher and Lorelai visit Rory during Yale's Parents' Weekend and April's swimming coach talks Luke into taking her adult swimming class.

Comments

If NBC is still flip flopping on "Scrubs" I think it makes perfect sense for ABC to scoop it up. I really don't care what network it's on as long as they keep it on the air!
Anonymous said…
What Danielle said.
Anonymous said…
I think with the ABC buzz around NBC will pick up Scrubs and burry it someplace just to prevent ABC from getting it.
The CineManiac said…
First news that Medium might switch networks so that it hits the all important 100th episode so it can be syndicated and now Scrubs!
I don't care what network their on, just as long as I can still enjoy them.

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