Executive producer Bill Lawrence says that the Scrubs we all knew and loved is over. Sure, Zach Braff & Co. will be sticking around for a few episodes to help launch the new Scrubs, but Lawrence thinks the new cast is just as funny and endearing as the old one. TVGuide.com spoke to Lawrence about how he decided to reboot the series, who will be checking in to the show's medical school and what fans of the old show can expect of the new.
TVGuide.com: Tell me how the original cast members are going to work on the new Scrubs. They won't always be on the show, will they?
Lawrence: I think the intention is a gradual transition. [Zach Braff]'s in six episodes, that's it, and when he's done, John McGinley and Donald Faison will be regulars. Even now, you'll sense that the new characters will get more and more developed and step more and more to center stage as we go forward from the old characters. Ken Jenkins, we ended up using him a lot, so he's on the show pretty regularly. Sarah Chalke makes a lot more appearances than people are writing about. She's in a bunch more episodes.
TVGuide.com: Was that always the plan?
Lawrence: Sarah, I just think she's awesome, and she's pregnant! We had always booked her for four or five episodes and would've used her for more, [but she's] having a baby. Ken is just a great old friend to the show and we were able to work something out with him where he worked a day a week because we couldn't afford to have all these guys as regulars, but to keep Ken on the show was fun for us.
I've been doing this a long time and we knew there's no possible way to please everyone. Look, if I had done a brand-new show, you would read 9,000 things about how the new characters all suck. Even though when Scrubs premiered eight years ago, I read 9,000 things in the first two episodes about how these characters suck. With new characters, it takes three, four, five, six episodes to figure out who they are.
And then the other hand, we got these people to make transitions to people hopefully you'll still like. You'll also read stuff, "why can't it just be about Zach, where's Carla and the Janitor" and I'm, like, well, that show's over.
TVGuide.com: What did we watch last May? Was that the series finale?
Lawrence: I saw that as the end of Scrubs; I was trying to re-title the show. We just thought the show was ending every year and then last year we were told it was over before the finale and then afterwards they said you want to do another year of the show? So much so that during the end credits of Scrubs' finale last year, there were real live outtakes of everybody's last scene and you can hear my voice as I was directing say "That's a series wrap on Judy Reyes." When they re-picked up the show, they changed it to "That's a season wrap."
TVGuide.com: How did you decide to go for another season?
Lawrence: [ABC President] Steve McPherson said, "Do you want to keep doing the show?" I said, "Ah, I feel like Scrubs is over. I'd do a new show, use some of the characters, maybe put it in a med school or something" and he said, "Yeah, I'll let you do that; you just have to continue to call it Scrubs for business reasons." So it wasn't too hard of a decision; it was worth a shot. I watched these two episodes with a critical eye and I think it's a different show, but it's been interesting because I watch tons of TV I think it's as funny as most of the shows on TV right now, if not more so, so I'm fine with it.
TVGuide.com: What do you say to people who are hesitant about the "new" Scrubs?
Lawrence: The only thing you could ever say about a TV show is, the weirdest position that we've been put in, is the show has been on nine years in people's heads and I find myself saying, "Give it a chance," which is really surreal. To say I don't like that character after they've had four lines in an episode and I'm like, really? I would hope that people still view it as a new show and not as Scrubs continuing.