ABC is Going After Scrubs

ON

The Hollywood Reporter says ABC is in negotiations to pick up 18 episodes of “Scrubs” from ABC Studios, which has produced the comedy for NBC since 2001.

NBC, however, says it is still in a “first negotiation period” — a period of exclusive negotiations — with ABC Studios.

The trade adds that, given the history between NBC and ABC Studios, which have been at odds over the medical comedy since the get-go, industry observers are preparing for an ugly battle between the two over a series considered to be on its final lap.

The writers strike cut short NBC’s 18-episode final season order for the Zach Braff-starrer to 12 episodes. The network has reportedly been reluctant to order additional episodes for the fall, citing the fact that it already has some remaining originals in the can. NBC is said to have floated various endgame scenarios to producers, including ordering one final episode or producing the remaining episodes direct to DVD.

ABC president of entertainment Steve McPherson has a history with “Scrubs,” having developed the comedy during his tenure overseeing the studio when it was known as Touchstone Television. McPherson also has been vocal about his intent to pick up the show should NBC drop it.

NBC has five original episodes of “Scrubs” left, which the network plans to air starting April 10.