Zach Braff, Scrubs
Question: I know that you have finally given The Office the credit it is due, but there is still an argument that Scrubs should be paired with My Name Is Earl. Why does it have to be one or the other? I grew up with two full hours of NBC comedy hits on Thursday nights. Why can't NBC put together another Thursday-night powerhouse and have all three of the shows on Thursday?
Answer: You would think, wouldn't you? (And more than a few weighed in with this very thought.) So let this be my latest (by no means my first) cry for NBC to have some common sense and decency and put Scrubs back where it belongs, on Thursdays, if not to close this season out — that seems too much to ask — then to jumpstart next season. The idea of Scrubs leading into an Earl-Office combo, with some unknown comedy filling the first half hour, is my idea of comedy heaven. Unfortunately, NBC has always had a tin ear for this sort of thing, and even in the best of days (the Cheers/Seinfeld/Frasier eras), there was always one stinker in the Thursday lineup, usually cradled between Friends and whatever the 9 pm show was. (Duds like The Single Guy, Caroline in the City, Veronica's Closet, Union Square, the painful list goes on.) One argument for keeping Scrubs on Tuesdays is that most networks would like to have more than one comedy block a week, and thus it's in their best interest to spread the wealth, such as it is. (This is why CBS continues to try to open Wednesday nights with comedy; Out of Practice and Courting Alex will move there mid-March.)

As Adam puts it: "The question is whether NBC can find a fourth compatible show to reestablish its dominant Thursday-night block. Joey clearly isn't it. [By the way, Joey will start airing on Tuesday, 8 pm/ET, starting next week.] Is there anything you've heard about in development that holds promise?" I'll duck the development question. I've learned through experience that shows that sound good (or lousy) on paper mean nothing until you actually see them. I mean, who would ever have pegged a generic-sounding show such as Friends as a smash until you saw their chemistry? Let's just hope NBC develops a halfway-decent new comedy to join the Thursday lineup, whether Scrubs is relocated there or not. They, and we, sure need it.

Finally on the Scrubs front: In response to last week's question about other successful hospital comedies, a number of readers with long memories mentioned House Calls, which lasted three seasons (1979-82) on CBS, and might have lasted longer if not for backstage feuding. Others brought up George Clooney's first E/R series, a CBS sitcom that ran only one season despite a cast including Elliott Gould, Mary McDonnell, Conchata Ferrell and Jason Alexander. And one person recalled Temperatures Rising (and its revised version, The New Temperatures Rising Show) from 1972 to 1974. Of all these, Scrubs wins the legacy prize hands down.