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Friday, February 29, 2008

NBC to ABC: Those are my 'Scrubs'

Follow Up: 'Scrubs to ABC'

Turns out all it takes to turn a red-headed step-child into the bell of the ball is to try and steal her away for 18 episodes.

Just hours after reports of ABC courting Scrubs, Variety says NBC is lashing out, threatening legal action and claiming they love Scrubs more than anyone ever could:

"NBC has a license agreement with ABC Studios, which includes a right of first negotiation and first refusal to extend the series term beyond this season," Graboff said. "We're living under the terms of this license agreement, and we expect ABC Studios to do the same."

ABC Studios and NBC have rarely seen eye-to-eye on "Scrubs." Studio has complained that "Scrubs" never got its due from a marketing standpoint, and also suffered through countless scheduling moves.

As a precursor, let me say that while ABC Studios does have a few legitimate grievances, it's hard to fault NBC for its treatment of Scrubs. The show has lived on the bubble going as far as back as season three (this is season seven) but has made it back each year. And for that, I've got to give NBC credit.

But when you consider this is almost assuredly the final season and NBC never even guaranteed to air the five already-shot episodes of Scrubs, yet alone shoot the final six episodes, the Peacock starts looking pretty petty.

I appreciate that bean-counters care more about the bottom-line than a show's audience. However repugnant, it's their job. But to go so far as to block negotiations for a show you know you aren't going to pick up? That's a bit much.

And in all honesty, there's a chance NBC could see this backfire. There are only about 6-8 million of us, but us single-camera comedy folks are pretty loyal. Having a hand in the death of Scrubs is definitely going to draw our ire. And when you consider the fact that we make up such a huge portion of The Office, Earl and 30 Rock's fanbase, is it worth sticking it to ABC at the risk of pissing us off?

*Addendum: I just got an email from Josh in which he raises an interesting theory.

What if the only reason NBC kept renewing Scrubs was to spite ABC? Not a lot of people know this, but the show actually did good in the ratings for its first two years. With good marketing and a loving home it probably could have done well. Instead it stayed at NBC and got treated like dirt.

Keywords: Scrubs, ABC, NBC, Season 8, Season Eight, Season 7, Season Seven, Renew, Renewed, Renewal, Come Back, Coming Back, Cancel, Canceled, Cancellation, ABC Studios



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