ABC will continue Scrubs (which was being abandoned by some of its lead stars) by taking a couple of the remaining characters and transfering them to a new milieu. And it’s a legit thing to try, on some levels. I don’t think it’s the artistically smart thing to do, as the story of JD, which was the story Scrubs was designed to tell, is over. But doing the Cox-and-Turk-at-a-college show is worth a try.
The question is, do you make it a show of its own, or continue under the old Scrubs name? That seems tricky to me. On one hand, keeping it under the old name risks diluting the brand. If people don’t feel like its the same thing, the interest in reruns and DVDs and whatnots of the “real” Scrubs is apt to be limited. I can’t help but to think that the value of, say, Northern Exposure is hurt by having kept the series running for half a season after Dr. Joel Fleisher left.
On the other hand, the list of shows that took over for a successful-but-ended U.S. show at some major switch in focus is riddled with failed series. AfterMASH is apt to be the one bandied about, but there’s also Three’s A Crowd, Golden Palace, Mayberry RFD… the only one that comes to mind as a success is Archie Bunker’s Place, although that is probably also an example of keeping everyone employed while not diluting the value of the original brand. (I won’t count Frasier in this list; it feels more like a spinoff that could have been done at any point along the way, rather than something to take the place of Cheers in production. To show I’m not just trying to weight things to one side of the argument, I’ll throw Joey into the same spot on the list. Oh, but then I have to add Lou Grant.) I suppose there’s an argument to be made for something in the Saved By The Bell history, a history which I will not claim to know (I think I watched an episode of one of the series somewhere along the way…)
But this is an academic discussion. There’s some talented people involved in Scrubs 2.0. If it’s good, I won’t complain too much about the nomenclature. If it’s not, I suspect it won’t be the only show on TV next season.