Archive for Scrubs

NBC’s Spring and Fall Plans

Fresh off those happy p.r. presses we have this cheery news to report:

NBC will resume the broadcast of many of its scripted series in April with new original episodes following the settlement of the Writers Guild of America strike, including “The Office,” “30 Rock,” “My Name Is Earl,” “Law & Order,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” among other programs. And we’ve got official word on the return of two freshman shows in the fall.

NBC has picked up its freshman drama series “Chuck” and “Life” as well as its hit “Heroes” for the 2008-09 season.

All three series will have major re-launch campaigns next year.

“We are thrilled to be bringing back the high-energy dramas ‘Chuck’ and Life’ for next season,” said NBC Entertainment honcho Ben Silverman. “Additionally, we will be saving and re-launching our #1 drama and most successful franchise, ‘Heroes,’ so that it will run in all original episodes in the fourth quarter.”

“These pickups are a sign of our confidence in these quality series and will allow the respective producers to get a head start on their creative arc for next season,” said co-honcho Marc Graboff. “As a result, they give us a lot to build on as we point to next year’s schedule.”

And I’m doing the happy Snoopy dance over the return of “Scrubs” after those terrible rumors that series’ fans might have to wait for the release of the DVD before we could say our fond farewells.

The smiley Zach Braff stars in “Scrubs”

“ER” (Thursdays, 10-11 p.m. ET) also will come back on Thursday, April 10 with new episodes following the complete run of “Lipstick Jungle,” which concludes on March 20.

“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (Tuesdays, 10-11 p.m. ET) will return with fresh episodes on Tuesday, April 15. “Law & Order” (Wednesdays, 10-11 p.m. ET) resumes with original episodes on Wednesday, April 23. Meanwhile, “Medium” (Mondays, 10-11 p.m. ET) continues in originals.

Specific plans for other NBC scripted series are currently being determined and will be announced later.

The following includes NBC’s new spring broadcast schedule denoting new return dates with original episodes for some of its scripted programs:

“Medium” (Mondays, 10-11 p.m.)
Continues current run

“My Name Is Earl” (Thursdays, 8-8:30 p.m.)
Resumes April 3 with one-hour episode

“30 Rock” (Thursdays, 8:30-9 p.m.)
Resumes April 10

“The Office” (Thursdays, 9-9:30 p.m.)
Resumes April 10

“Scrubs” (Thursdays, 9:30-10 p.m.)
Resumes April 10

“ER” (Thursdays, 10-11 p.m.)
Resumes April 10

“Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (Tuesdays, 10-11 p.m.)
Resumes April 15

“Law & Order” (Wednesdays, 10-11 p.m.)
Resumes April 23

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Writers Strike Called

There seems to be little hope that a strike beginning at 12:01 Monday by the Writer’s Guild of America can be averted.

But before they do, Bryan Fuller and his scribes were busy Thursday night and on to Friday morning trying to finish one more “Pushing Daisies” script.

“We’re desperately trying to finish one last script before we are instructed to put our pencils down,” Bryan said at midnight. “We want to keep our crew employed as long as we possibly can, but don’t know how long that will be. ”

“Desperate Housewives” will shoot the tenth script next week, and then the well is dry.

And the truth is, according to producers like Bill Lawrence of “Scrubs,” if the work stops for a couple of weeks or even a month, it’s not going to do much damage.

Scripts have been stockpiled and, while November is a busy month, some specials bounce network programs off the air anyway. We won’t be seeing “Pushing Daisies” until Nov. 14 because of the Country Music Awards. And the lights go out for much of the month of December.

“The only thing that can really screw up everything is if it’s like it was in 1988 when it went on for 22 weeks,” says Lawrence. “And then you’re talking about drastically altering this TV season as well as the next one. ”

For “Scrubs,” there are two, perhaps three, scripts that have been completed and could be shot. After that, nada.

If things drag on, Lawrence says that chances are good that the final episodes would eventually be written, shot – and pop up on DVD.

“The one thing that’s keeping me from panicking completely as far as ‘Scrubs goes is I have such a good relationship with the studio, that were there something that essentially erased the rest of the year, you know, (we would still do) a finale of the series even if it was something that would just be released on a DVD or something,” Lawrence says. “To tell you the truth it’d probably end up making more money. ”

And money is the central issue here.

The bottom line is over DVD and online residual payments. Writers believe they are not being fairly compensated for their work, which is increasingly being seen through DVD sales and online with online becoming a bigger factor in the coming years. For a more detailed explaination, go to the Wall Street Journal’s story.

The impact is more than just a delay in new programs. During the 1988 strike, almost 10 percent of the TV viewing audience left and never returned.

In these days of eroding audiences, a long strike could cripple the industry. Many people will be impacted, from publicists to dry cleaners, if this proves to be a long strike.

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“Scrubs” Zach Braff and Bill Lawrence talk final season

“Scrubs” creator Bill Lawrence admits he might go through some online withdrawals after his series ends this season.

“I think that I have the potential to be one of those desperate people that was involved in a TV show once that still trying to get people to talk about it years after it’s over,” Bill says during a conference call last week. “Yeah, hey, did you guys remember that episode of Scrubs when…. No. You know what? I’m desperately hoping that I, you know, get to do something again that people are hopefully interest in. “

Bill says he’s had a constant phobia about doing more TV because he’s gotten so lucky twice, once with “Spin City” with Michael J. Fox and then again with “Scrubs.”

“Having such a positive experience again are so slim because there’s so many intangible things that are out of your control,” Bill says. “I’ll probably just continue to be, you know, some desperate guy that surfs the internet under a fake name to see if anybody is talking about stuff that he used to be involved in. And then, you know – I’ll be the guy that types, that Bill Lawrence was a really funny writer. And when someone says, who are you, I’ll immediately exit the internet.”

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Zach Braff as J.D. and Donald Faison as Turk

But for right now, Bill’s just concerned about getting on with the final season of “Scrubs,” which returns at 9:30 p.m. Thursday on NBC.

Bill says he always promised Neil Flynn, who plays The Janitor, that by the end of the show he’d have a name and a girlfriend. On Thursday’s episode, we get a peek at the girlfriend.

“He’s the one character that hasn’t ever had a romantic interest,” Bill says.

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J.D. and The Janitor

In fact, The Janitor began as a figment of J.D.’s imagination.

“I always thought this show was going to last for one season, so `Fight Club’ just happened,” Bill explains. “Then the second year, Neil Flynn’s like, ‘I’d like to talk to some of the other actors.’ All right, whatever.”

Bill says he made a slight miscalculation when he killed off popular character Laverne, the opinionated Christian nurse last season.

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Aloma Wright as Nurse Laverne

“I would never take work away from an actress that we consider part of the family. We thought last year would be the last season. So when I killed Laverne, it was because we basically said ‘hey, what’s a good, dramatic arc for the end of the year since we’re kind’ve ending up the show,’ ” Bill says.

But then he discovered the studios were giving him one more season.

“So I promised her that she would come back. I don’t want people to get mad at me,” Bill says. “She returns as a nurse name Shirley. She looks slightly different but she still looks like the same actress. But the only thing we’re doing is that only Zach’s character thinks the two of them look alike.”

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Zach Braff and Tom Cavanagh

Also coming back to the show this season areTom Cavanagh, Elizabeth Banks and Scott Foley.

“People that our nerdy fans will care about, you know, are little kind of secondary characters named like Hooch and Dr. Zeltzer. And, you know, all these people that we think have made kind of an imprint on people in the past,” Bill says. “We’re trying to get everybody their last hurrah.”

Zach Braff says he has campaigned every season to have David Cross come on as his “Arrested Development” character Tobias Funke.

Which isn’t going to happen.

This season will, however, have a big musical episode, a fairytale based on “The Princess Bride” and directed by Zach.

“You know, every year we choose one episode to spend a whole lot of money on and try to be our showcase thing,” Bill says. “Zach’s the village idiot and Sarah’s the princess. And, you know, the Janitor is a giant. And Todd is the Fairy Todd Something. So, you know, I think that he will be continue to be ambisexual and never really sure what he is, you know. But will (The Todd) ever find love? I think in Todd’s head he’s very happy – that he has found it.”

What about J.D. and Elliot? Will they end up together?

“If you go on to our fan sites there’s a lot of people that want them together and then there’s a lot of people that say that’s not what this show is about. And so they don’t want them together,” Bill says. “And what I think – I think the answer is right in the middle, which is we pride ourselves – this show was never a will they or won’t they show, you know? It was not Ross and Rachel or, you know, Moonlighting – you know, are these characters ever going to end up?
And I think that if we were to end this series on, you know, Zach going to the airport to keep Rachel – or to keep Elliot, you know, from flying away… everybody would feel cheated, you know, because that’s not, you know, what this show has been about. It’s been about all the relationships. That being said, you know, Zach and Sarah as actor and actress, have made people invested in this.
So I am going to resolve it, but I’m not going to make that the end of the series. I think that it’ll happen before people expect it to happen. I think I put a lot of clues what I’m going to do along the way.”

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Dancing around the issue is Sarah Chalke and Zach Braff as Elliot and J.D.

Zach says if he had to pick acting or directing, he’d pick directing.

“I enjoy acting a lot and I love – there’s nothing that makes me happier in life than making people laugh. But I really like the – I find that directing asks so much more of me because you get to – you have to be a little bit of a writer, a little bit of a photographer, a little bit of a, you know, a set designer,” Zach says. “And I just love working with lots of creative people. So when you direct something, you hire all these really creative people and artists, and actors. And then you’re sort of the conductor to that orchestra. And I really, really love doing that more than anything.

Zach says after he came back from selling his independent film “Garden State” at Sundance, Bill made sure he wasn’t taking himself too seriously.

“(It was) the highlight of my life and Bill wanted to make sure that I hadn’t gotten too cocky. So the first scene back was me in full clown make-up getting sprayed with seltzer bottles by the Janitor,” Zach says. “That’s when I knew I was a success.”

So it’s about time in the conference call when The Question comes up.

What’s on your iPod now, Zach?

“Well I’m obsessed with a guy named William Fitzsimmons, who is kind of breaking out. A woman named Ingrid Michaelson, who is kind of breaking out because she has a song on an Old Navy commercial, but she’s a friend of mine and she’s really great,” Zach says. “And another guy I’m listening to is a guy named Jay Clifford who used to be the lead singer of the band called Jump Little Children and now he has his own solo album. ”

Back to the real questions, like Bill paying back the fans. Like putting out the number for Turk’s phone, which they still answer occasionally.

“There’s a weird thing going on right now in which the show has become very big overseas and, you know, one time a group of Europeans came here and they were taking pictures of the set. And I let them on the set, you know, just to wander around and see the actors,” Bill says. “And somehow online they got it around that hey, if you’re visiting America from a foreign country, the Scrubs set will take you around and let you meet all the famous people.
So there’s odd packs of Europeans asking me weird questions about the show here on a daily basis.”

Bill loves it when someone asks questions like, when did Ted lose his hair?
(He started losing it in eighth grade.)

But as much as he loves everything to do with “Scrubs,” don’t expect a reunion show down the road.

“We’ll do a reunions in real life, you know, because we actually enjoy each other’s time and seeing each other and hanging around,” Bill says. “But I don’t have the need to get everybody back on television again.”

Zach says this series has changed his life.

“It’s like winning the lottery in more ways obviously financially, but I mean – what I mean is like getting to be on a television show for seven years where you really respect what you’re doing and you respect who work with and you’re laughing a lot,” Zach says. “I’m going to dinner on Friday night with Donald and Sarah. I mean we all hang out. We’re all really close. I think that when it’s over, it’s really going to hit us hard.”

So, I’ve got to ask since both his mom and brother live in the SF Bay area if he’ll be coming up here soon for any special projects.

Zach: “If you invite me for dinner, I’ll be there.”

Me: “Really?”

Zach: “I am not averse to accepting a free meal from a stranger.”

You’re on, Zach.

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CBS Gets More Big Bang Theory

Maybe it’s the threat of a writer’s strike, which could be happening as early as Nov. 1, but the networks seem to be giving their stamp of approval early this season.

ABC previously announced a full season pick-up of “Grey’s Anatomy” spin-off “Private Practice,” which has consistantly hit the No. 1 ratings spot for new fall shows.

CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” is the first new fall comedy to get a full season pick-up order. The network also gave their solid drama “The Unit” a full season order as well.

And dashing off into a tangent, “Scrubs” creator Bill Lawrence said yesterday that “The Unit” co-star Scott Foley may be back on board for the comedy’s final season if his schedule allows.

“Bang” is kind of growing on me. Johnny Galecki and Jim Parsons as Leonard and Sheldon make the perfect odd and odder couple with their geeky, Cal Tech personalities. Of course, you have to have the dumb blonde, played by Kaley Cuoco. Simon Helberg and Kunal Nayyar round out the cast as Sheldon and Leonard’s two best nerd herd pals.

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Leonard (Johnny Galecki, pictured second from left), Sheldon (Jim Parsons, pictured far right), Wolowitz (Simon Helberg, pictured second from right) and Koothrappali (Kunal Nayyar, pictured far left) undertake a challenging and dangerous experiment, attending the Halloween party being thrown by their hot neighbor, Penny (Kaley Cuoco, not pictured) on The Oct. 29 episode. Photo: Ron Batzdorff/Warner Bros.

As part of the CBS Monday night comedy block, “The Big Bang Theory” from Chuck Lorre, who is also responsible for “Two and a Half Men” that airs afterwards, has been averaging 8.97 million viewers.

“The Unit” is averaging 11.44 million viewers. Tuesday’s episode posted the best ratings – 3.1/08 in adults 18-49 and 4.2/09 in adults 25-54 – since February.

“The Unit” stars Dennis Haysbert, Scott Foley, Robert Patrick, Regina Taylor, Max Martini, Michael Irby, Demore Barnes, Abby Brummell and Audrey Marie Anderson. David Mamet, Shawn Ryan and Vahan Moosekian are executive producers.

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