NBC execs were reportedly irked yesterday when The Hollywood Reporter claimed that Scrubs was moving to rival ABC.
“NBC has a license agreement with ABC Studios, which includes a right of first negotiation and first refusal to extend the series term beyond this season,” said NBC Entertainment/Universal Media Studios co-chair Marc Graboff. “We’re living under the terms of this license agreement, and we expect ABC Studios to do the same.”
The fate of the show has been hanging in the balance since the writers strike ended. Scrubs produced 12 episodes before the strike; seven have already aired, and five more are in the can. But this was meant to be Scrubs‘ final season, and fans have been wondering whether NBC would bring the show back for a proper send-off. NBC has reportedly floated several scenarios to producers, including ordering one final episode or producing the remaining episodes direct to DVD. But before committing to a big series finale, NBC would want assurances that Scrubs won’t come back for another season on ABC.
ABC president of entertainment Steve McPherson developed Scrubs during his tenure at the studio (back when when it was called Touchstone Television) and he has been vocal about his intent to pick up the comedy if NBC drops it. In fact, ABC Studios and NBC have rarely seen eye-to-eye on Scrubs, and the studio has complained in the past that the series never got its due from NBC, which repeatedly shifted the modestly-rated show around its schedule–a whopping 17 times between Tuesday and Thursday (and once, on Wednesday) slots during its seven seasons on the air, according to Variety. For the past two seasons, NBC has waited until the eleventh hour to pick it up.
Seems like an awful lot of trouble over a show that’s widely accepted to be on its last legs. All the fans are really asking for at this point is a chance to say goodbye and a respectful send-off. Is that too much to ask?