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Bill Lawrence on Scrubs

Published August 22, 2007 in Television
By Fred Topel | Image property of NBC.
Scrubs Scrubs

Scrubs' sixth season ended with the suggestion that JD and Elliot might get back together. Both are engaged and long since done with their dysfunctional coupling, but the finale ended with an almost kiss. Creator Bill Lawrence promised he would not turn them into Ross and Rachel for the show's final year.

Scrubs Not Friends

"This show is not Sam and Diane," said Lawrence. "It's not Cheers. I always knew that. I always hated that if you have a group of characters which are male and female, are single, similar and put any aspects of romantic comedy, the thing to fear as a producer is the promotions will be, 'Will JD and Elliot?' and we didn't want to be that show. I think we're not that show. I think we got away from it and I think it was an effective tool to end the year to have two dysfunctional people screw up their respective relationships."

That said, what if people want them to get together? Can Scrubs have it both ways? "What we're arguing about now amongst the writers is that we actually watch our fan base on the Internet, a bunch of websites about the show. People are pretty evenly divided on whether or not that couple ends up together or not. We're just going to try and I don't want to say give the people what they want. That's too trite. But hopefully resolve the show in a way that people are satisfied if they want that couple to be together, and people are satisfied if they don't want them to be together."

The show will return to NBC, despite rumors that it could shift over to ABC, as Disney/Touchstone produces the show. "The nice thing for us was that we weren't really on the bubble because Steve McPherson, who is now president of ABC, the president of the studio when we made the show and he pretty much told us that he was going to put the show on ABC if we weren't on NBC. We really wanted to finish the show where we started. Part of the model of this show in modern economic times is to be cost effective and our show only costs $2 million an episode and it's been on for seven years. So NBC was nice enough to pony up the dough and let us finish up. Really all it came down to for us at the end was the choice of doing 22 episodes on a new network which might have been a little hinky or 18 episodes on the network we have been on for six years. It was an easy choice and I say that as if I had anything to do with making it. But we're just happy."

Always a ratings struggler, Lawrence has a sense of humor going into year seven. "I think this is the year that Scrubs really becomes a big hit. We had always kind of geared our plan towards peaking in the seventh year. Now's when we really roll out the promotional stops. You're not going to believe some of the things we'll be doing. I feel like there are only two options you can do. You can either make the show that you've been making all along and hope that the people that like it stick with it, or claim that the Nielsens are fraudulent, which they are as everybody knows."

Scrubs returns to NBC this fall.
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Compiled By (Sources)
Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of NBC.

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