LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - ABC is giving Scrubs the sort of heavy network support that its creator says was missing during the show's seven years on NBC.
The comedy's production will be upgraded to HD (high-definition) for its eighth-season premiere on ABC, and the network has commissioned six two- to four-minute webisodes to give the show extra promotional heft.
"It was a pleasant surprise to have people from the network visit the set, because nobody has done that in six or seven years," creator/showrunner Bill Lawrence said at the Television Critics Association press tour Wednesday. "I don't think that's NBC dropping the ball; I think it's the difference of doing a show for a network that also produces you."
Scrubs, produced by ABC Studios, is set to premiere midseason. Some have suspected it will be the show's final season, and star Zach Braff in particular says he's likely headed for an exit.
"My sense is this is my last year," Braff said.
Yet Lawrence and ABC Entertainment president Steve McPherson indicated there might be a way to keep the comedy going with new cast members, a la NBC's revolving-door medical drama ER.
"We do think that it will not hopefully be a one-season situation," McPherson said. "We do think there's an opportunity after that--talking to Zach, talking to Bill--and whether all of the cast is a part of that, I still think there's a great amount of growth there."
Added Lawrence: "McPherson was supportive of the idea that it's like 'ER' as a comedy. We brought in some younger people into the show."
Still, Lawrence has the finale--which he'd written about four years ago--ready to go, and it might finally reveal the name of the janitor (Neil Flynn).
"We just have to change some pop culture references," he said. "When you hear the janitor's name, the show's over."