ABC working with producers on license fee

Talks continue to heat up over the possibility of “Scrubs” returning for a ninth season next fall.

As noted last week (Daily Variety, April 23), ABC has been in talks with the show’s producers about ways to lower the license fee on “Scrubs,” and that star Zach Braff is now believed to be interested in returning for at least a portion of the episodes.

Insiders at the net said that ABC’s sales team remains high on the show, which they said remains popular with advertisers because of its upscale demographics. “Scrubs” hasn’t been a ratings hit on ABC, but it’s performed decently enough — and the Alphabet doesn’t have many half-hours in its arsenal. 

Exec producer Bill Lawrence would continue with “Scrubs” as well, although his ABC pilot laffer “Cougar Town,” starring Courteney Cox, is also said to be a real contender for next season. But given the longevity of “Scrubs,” there’s no shortage of producers there who could easily take over more responsibilities as Lawrence focused on getting “Cougar Town” off the ground (should it be picked up too).

As for the cast, key players John C. McGinley, Donald Faison and Neil Flynn have all landed pilots this spring — and no thesps are signed for “Scrubs” beyond this year. But some of those actors are likely to return, as least on a recurring basis, should “Scrubs” be back. 

Plus the show introduced a new horde of interns this year, who have also starred in a series of webisodes at ABC.com (“Scrubs: Interns”). Those actors include Sonal Shah, Eliza Coupe, Betsy Beutler and Todd Bosley (another new intern was played by Aziz Ansari, who now stars on “Parks and Recreation”).

Among ABC’s other comedies, “Better off Ted” appears to be a real candidate for renewal as well, thanks to decent buzz — and the fact that it’s not produced by ABC Studios (as the network is looking to spread the financial risk beyond the Disney borders). 

Like “Scrubs,” the decision on “Ted” may come down to cost — and how low 20th Century Fox TV is willing to go for a renewal.

Also still in play on the laffer side: “Samantha Who.”

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