Scrubsboss Bill Lawrence said his cancellation-defying comedy would undergo an extreme makeover in its ninth season, and, man, he wasn’t kidding. When the show returns next winter, the action will shift from the hospital to the classroom and make med-school professors of John C. McGinley’s Dr. Cox and Donald Faison’s Turk.
“It’ll be a lot like Paper Chase as a comedy,” Lawrence tells me. “It’s going to be a different show. It’ll still be life-and-death stakes, but if the show is just Scrubs again in the hospital with a different person’s voiceover, it would be a disaster and people would be mad.”
Of course, Sacred Heart won’t go away altogether. Although J.D.’s old stomping ground no longer will serve as the show’s base of operations, the students will occasionally rotate through its halls — and bump into many of its familiar faces. In addition to McGinley and Faison, both of whom are expected to be full-time regulars alongside a quartet of newbies (most of them playing students), Scrubs vets Zach Braff, Sarah Chalke, Judy Reyes and Ken Jenkins have agreed to make guest appearances. (Neil Flynn has a costarring role as Patricia Heaton’s husband in the new ABC sitcom The Middle, so his name-challenged Janitor will be MIA.)
“Med students in their first three years have to spend anywhere from 10 to 50 percent of their time at a hospital,” Lawrence explains. “And that’s when you’ll see some of the [original cast members]. Continuity-wise, Sacred Heart will still exist with those people still working there.”
But Lawrence insists “half the cast, if not 60 percent of it,” will be comprised of freshmen, one of which will be more recognizable than the rest. “[ABC] is really after us to hire a big name,” he reveals. “So one of them will be fairly famous.”
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