'Scrubs' diagnosis unclear

Strike could cancel planned finale

Nothing has been easy or conventional about the NBC comedy "Scrubs," which has been bounced around the network's schedule for most of its seven-year run and was on the verge of cancellation the past two years before landing an 11th hour renewal.

Now, the show's chance to go out on its own terms is being jeopardized by the WGA strike, which could leave the final six installments of the underrated comedy's 18-episode last season in indefinite limbo.

"On a personal level, yeah, it would be nice to finish work on 'Scrubs' the way I wanted to," creator-executive producer Bill Lawrence said. "That it looks like it's not happening is certainly disappointing, I can't lie. But it's also not the end of the world. The last thing anybody wants to hear right now is some idiot saying, 'Hey, I worked really hard on my show, I want to end it the way I want to end it!' It's hard to care right now about any legacy."

Lawrence hasn't done much in the way of stockpiling "Scrubs" episodes in anticipation of a writers walkout. There are two scripts written and ready to shoot, "and with a single-camera show, once a script is locked, you have no real rewrites," he said. That will take "Scrubs" up through Episode 12, six episodes short of the ending Lawrence had envisioned for the show.

Still, giving "Scrubs" a proper sendoff is low on Lawrence's priority list at the moment.

"What I care about more than anything right now is getting this thing settled so it's either a short strike or no strike," he said on Friday. "Right now, I fear that a lot of the writers have no real clue just how tough this is going to be. I'd imagine things will get very grim sometime after Christmas."

Lawrence is quick to point out it's not himself he worries about but his crew and some of his writers.

"I've kind of won the lottery in having a few shows that went to syndication in both 'Scrubs' and 'Spin City,' so anything I say about my own sacrifice would drip with selfishness. This is such a bigger deal for the guys who work below the line and largely live hand-to-mouth and the younger writers who can't go without a paycheck for very long. I'm just a lucky SOB, no matter what happens to my show from here."
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