"Scrubs" creator Bill Lawrence is packing his bags, sort of, and moving on to a new deal with the studio that produces the NBC series.
Lawrence has signed a four-year agreement with ABC Studios, which produces "Scrubs," to remain with the show for its seventh, and most likely last, season and develop new projects. The studio will take over the last year of his current contract with NBC Universal TV, the showbiz trade papers report, and extend it by three more.
The new pact is a return of sorts for Lawrence to ABC Studios (formerly Touchstone TV) -- although Lawrence never completely left in the first place. The studio has produced "Scrubs" from its inception in 2001, although Lawrence has been working under a deal with NBC Universal TV for most of that time.
While at NBCU, Lawrence worked on several projects that made it to the script or pilot stage, but none of them actually got on the air. The closest was "Nobody's Watching," a passed-over WB pilot that became a YouTube sensation and which NBC put back into development last year. He and the show's stars collaborated on more online videos, but NBC eventually decided not to make another go of it as a series.
Lawrence says he and NBCU parted ways amicably, adding he's ready to start pitching ideas to ABC Studios. "I've got to get a comedy on the air quickly before there are no comedies left on television," he jokes to The Hollywood Reporter.
He's also interested in trying to make a multi-camera sitcom work, despite the current vogue for single-camera shows that "Scrubs" helped start. He has experience with the format, having worked on "Friends" and co-created "Spin City" before "Scrubs."
"It's hard to sneak a multi-camera sitcom through the system these days, but I think the next person who does it will probably strike gold," he says.
As for "Scrubs," the show will begin what's widely expected to be its last season in the fall, with Lawrence continuing as executive producer. Star Zach Braff will also be back, having signed a lucrative one-year extension in March.