ABC's docs could stay in rotation

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The doctors might still be in.

ABC is in talks to renew the veteran comedy "Scrubs" for a ninth season with some or all of the original cast members coming back full or part time.

The network is going over the proposed budget for next season with series producer ABC Studios.

"Scrubs" creator Bill Lawrence, busy editing his ABC/ABC Studios comedy pilot "Cougar Town," is said to be deeply involved in the renewal talks and in discussions with the cast members, who don't have deals beyond the show's current eighth season.

Last summer, Lawrence and ABC chief Stephen McPherson indicated they were looking into a way to keep "Scrubs" going with new cast members, a la NBC's revolving-door medical drama "ER." This season, the show integrated a new crop of interns.

Additionally, talks are under way with the original cast members about ways to bring them back, possibly as recurrings, as in the case of Zach Braff, who had said this was probably his last year on the show, as well as Donald Faison, John C. McGinley and Neil Flynn, who are co-starring on pilots.

For Faison, McGinley and Flynn, "Scrubs" is in second position to ABC's "The Law," CBS' "Back" and ABC's "The Middle," respectively, which means they can at most be recurring on "Scrubs" if their pilots go to series.

And Lawrence, of course, could be pulling double duty if his Courteney Cox starrer "Cougar Town" goes and "Scrubs" gets renewed.

In its debut season on ABC after seven years on NBC, "Scrubs" has been a modest performer at 8 p.m. Wednesday. But it has helped launch new comedy "Better Off Ted," with both series enjoying critical praise, strong support at the network and talk about possibly extending the pairing into next season. (partialdiff)
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