As Hollywood studios started stockpiling scripts for the Writers Guild of America strike, “Scrubs” creator Bill Lawrence said he declined a request to write a backup ending that would have allowed the NBC hospital comedy to shoot a series finale even if the walkout continued into next year.
Lawrence revealed Saturday that he instead decided to write the scripts in his normal fashion, rather than fast-forward to a hackneyed series capper in which “two people kiss.”
He said he will write a proper finale and battle with the show’s producer, ABC Studios, to get it shown, even if it has to happen next season. “I will use all my leverage to end this show properly, even if it means I have to do all the voices myself and call people up to read it over the phone,” he said.
Lawrence, appearing at a New York Comedy Festival event with the show’s cast, said roughly seven episodes of the show’s 18-episode order haven’t been written. That means “Scrubs” could be forced into reruns as early as January.
All but one of the scripts turned in before the strike began just after midnight last Monday have been shot, Lawrence said. He has opted not to cross the picket line to edit or work on “Scrubs” in any way; producer Randall Winston and other non-WGA members are now at the edit board for the show, which shoots at the defunct North Hollywood Medical Center in Los Angeles’ San Fernando Valley.
The New York Comedy Festival event originally planned on screening an as-yet-unseen episode of the show. But Lawrence said that the episode couldn’t be completed because of the strike, so a previously aired episode was screened instead.
The creative team of “Scrubs” is in a difficult position. With the series in the middle of its final season, staff could soon break without knowing if they’ll work together again.
“I didn’t think it would be over so quickly,” series star Zach Braff said. “We’re all getting a dose of ‘this could be over next week’ instead of ‘this could be over in January.’ ”
A seventh season of the NBC series was a question mark earlier in the year, but the network opted to pick up the show as part of its Thursday-night comedy block.
“Scrubs” has drawn a comparatively small but devoted fan base and the single-camera sitcom has sometimes confused network executives with its genre-defying style.
Lawrence recounted incidents in which the network wanted him to add elements that would more clearly define the show.
“Initially, we had a lot of interference because they didn’t know if it was a comedy or a drama. They kept hammering me about it.”