[02/29/08 - 11:19 AM]
Off-Network Value May Save ABC's 'Jim,' NBC's 'Scrubs'
By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)

LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- NBC's "Scrubs" may live on after all, just not on NBC.

TheHollywoodReporter.com made waves last night with a report that ABC is in talks to pick up 18 episodes of its sibling ABC Studios's comedy "Scrubs."

On small problem however - NBC hasn't officially axed the show, despite promoting it as being in its "final season." Because of the way licensing agreements are structured, the Peacock still has "a right of first negotiation and first refusal to extend the series term beyond this season," NBC Entertainment/Universal Media Studios co-chair Marc Graboff told Variety. A similar scenario played out two years ago when "7th Heaven's" swan song on the WB turned into an 11th season on the CW.

So why all the hubbub over a series that doesn't even rank in the top 100 programs on television?

The answer - its syndication value. Sources suggest "Scrubs" and fellow studio-based "According to Jim" are proving to be enough of a cash cow to merit additional seasons, despite their middling broadcast numbers. Off-network runs of "Scrubs" currently air on Comedy Central, WGN and local stations across the country while "Jim" is set to roll out on TBS in 2009 in addition to its current offerings on local stations.

Further supporting the theory - how the number of episodes mentioned in both cases is 18, the minimum amount needed to trigger additional purchases by their respective off-network outlets. In short, the numbers appear to be saying the amount earned from TBS, Comedy Central, WGN and their syndication packages is worth producing another round of "Jim" and "Scrubs."

It's not clear when each deal could be finalized as TheHollywoodReporter.com's report suggests contracts are still being hammered out for the cast, writers and producers to return.

As for their current broadcast runs, "Scrubs" will rejoin NBC's schedule on April 10 while ABC has nine more "Jim's" to go - March 4 and March 11 with the other seven to be announced.

  [february 2008]  


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