Zach Braff by Mitch Haaseth/ABC
Zach Braff will be leaving
at the end of this season. "Not by his choice," joked executive producer Bill Lawrence. That's the big, though perhaps not-too-surprising news to come out of ABC's panel Wednesday.
As a result, the jocular conversation, led by head jester Lawrence, steered toward envisioning a post-J.D. Sacred Heart world. "Isn't Turk without J.D. a bit like Joanie without Chachi?" one snarky reporter asked. "It's like Chachi without Joanie actually," corrected Donald Faison (Turk himself!). Lawrence admitted that he had always pitched
as a comedy, with a revolving cast of characters that would allow for new blood from time to time. The show has already introduced us to a new set of younger interns. "We cried when [Lawrence] said he was bringing in younger actors," said Sarah Chalke. To which the always-complimentary Lawrence shot back: "Why don't you take a gander at the opening credits [which date from the show's first season] and see how young you used to look?"
Until the youth brigade takes over the hospital, though, there is still this season with which to contend. As was previously reported, former Friend Courteney Cox has signed on to play Sacred Heart's new chief of medicine for three episodes. Lawrence reports that Cox is no diva. "Aside from being
, she is a gamer, up for anything. You don't get that all the time with high-profile actresses."
Also keep an eye out for a wedding episode they recently filmed in the Bahamas. Whose wedding, you ask? "About once a year, we have to let [The Janitor] be a real person," Lawrence reported, "So he's getting married in the Bahamas." He invites 700 people to the ceremony - for the presents, of course. J.D. rounds up the crew to go and hopefully sabotage the nuptials. (Fun fact: Lawrence himself plays the preacher.) So then do we find out The Janitor's real name in the course of vow-exchanging? "It's Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFake," reported Neil Flynn, the actor who plays the nameless custodian. "When we find out The Janitor's real name," said Lawrence, "then the show really
Of course, everyone wanted to know if Chalke would be filming more
How I Met Your Mother
. While Chalke claimed ignorance - "I don't know what's happening with that," she said - Lawrence butted in. "They don't want me to say it," he said with mock-seriousness, "but she's the mother." -