Bill Lawrence is going to rescue NBC. Ok, maybe not. But with the news this week that his show "Scrubs" is moving to the coveted-but-dreaded Thursday night at 9PM time slot, the Emmy-nominated series is being counted on to help the network bring back the glory days of Thursday nights on NBC.
"If NBC is counting on 'Scrubs' then they are shit out of luck my friend," Lawrence jokingly told TMZ yesterday. "First of all, I am a huge TV fan -- Thursday night on NBC should be comedy. Secondly, we're going to think of something to name Zach Braff's character like McSomething -- McWeenie or McCheesy or something."
Lawrence, who besides being the Executive Producer of "Scrubs" is also one of the guys behind the Internet phenomenon "Nobody's Watching" AND writing the upcoming "Fletch" movie, took some time to sit down with TMZ to talk about going up against "Grey's Anatomy," the latest "Nobody's Watching" viral video and trying to cast "Fletch" -- Zach Braff, perhaps?
TMZ: Thursday nights at 9:00 -- tough time slot. But you guys have never really cared about ratings.
Bill Lawrence: The best thing about "Scrubs," and hopefully it will turn out to be true again, is that our core audience has stuck with us. I think we've had like 130 time slots in like six years ... We've found that we've done essentially the same ratings whether we're against "American Idol" or after "Friends," so we've decided to do what makes us laugh ... We always feel the best thing about "Scrubs" is that if we ever did win an award, we could actually thank all of the viewers personally.
TMZ: Did you even think you'd be back on so soon?
BL: No, one of the reason's I'm even here today is because I have to quickly go downstairs and edit these shows so they could go on in November because we didn't think we'd be on until January.
TMZ: What can we expect from the big musical episode?
BL: If you like giant Broadway musicals with singing and dancing, you will love it. And if even if you don't ... no, well, if you don't you'll probably despise it. I think it's pretty cool. I know it's the first episode my mom and dad will watch, which is exciting ... It's definitely something people haven't seen on TV unless they, well, I was going to say "on TV ever" but then I'd say unless they watched "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Everything's been done man.
TMZ: Any other theme episodes?
BL: We're not going to change our show to compete. Although, there will be a long musical montage with people cleaning a dead body every week. And there will be giant romantic triangles. But other than that, we won't copy "CSI" or "Grey's Anatomy."
TMZ: Anything else you can tell us about this season?
BL: There's going to be a character on the show, not one of our main ones, but someone who dies who has been on the show for six years.
TMZ: Do you have any guest stars planned for this season?
BL: Every guest star on this show, except for a couple -- Tara Reid, and I like Tara Reid -- were friends of ours from beforehand that we've all worked with. Rather than going out and getting a bunch of new actors, I think we'll probably just cycle back through Freddy Rodriguez, Tom Cavanaugh ... but of course if anyone is dumb enough to say they want to do the show, I'll of course jump all over that.
TMZ: Like Colin Farrell ...
BL: Yeah, definitely. You know who I have to get back on the show now is Masi [Oka], who's on "Heroes." He was Franklin here for the first three years and he's popped now. I have to try and exploit the fact that I was nice to him once to get him back here ... He's a hyper-talented power nerd and I love him for it. I'm glad that he's blowing up.
TMZ: Onto other things ... "Nobody's Watching." What's next for that?
BL: It is the obsession of my television career. It's a TV show that was supposed to be on the WB like two years ago and they picked it up and flew us to New York and we got there and they put on other crappy shows instead and their network went away. I'm obsessed with it, I think it's funny. We've been online making viral videos and kind of creating this funky experience, I hope it works. It's mostly these guys, they're voices for me and the other two writers, people that love television. And it's been fun -- they get to kind of crap on TV they don't like, but we've been taking a lot of time to also pump up TV we love.
TMZ: Like your latest video. What's that one about?
BL: It's an ode to "Lost" because we're all obsessed with "Lost." There is definitely a special guest star if you're a "Lost" fan. We used our giant Hollywood connections to get a familiar face on it. It's pretty cool.
TMZ: Speaking of TV we love and TV we hate, a lot of people like to lump shows together and say comedy is dead ...
BL: Comedy is not dead; crappy comedy is dead. As recently as 10, 15 years ago, you'd watch the show on at 8:30 because you liked the show on at 8:00 and 9:00. Now, my mom and dad have 160 channels, they're very hip. My dad, for instance, is a crystal meth addict, so he's very with it. But the point is, if those guys are channel surfing, you better put on something that has some impact and people can attach themselves to or you don't have a chance. I think it's a good thing.
TMZ: And what's going on with "Fletch"?
BL: The reason I wasn't supposed to be here today is that the "Fletch" script was due about two weeks ago. So I really thought I should buckle down and get started this morning. That's funny because it's mostly true. I'm handing the script in, talking about casting. I'm really excited about it. I've always been waiting to figure out what the first movie I would do would be and for me one reason I stopped biding my time was because I am one of those guys that can recite every line from scratch from the old "Fletch" right now ... I love that banter and I love that movie and I'm excited to try and do it again. I'm either going to succeed and it'll be a cool franchise or I'm going to fail on a monumental level and never leave television again.
TMZ: Any news on casting? Zach Braff has been rumored ...
BL: I could basically threaten Zach here and say, "I will end him in Hollywood if he doesn't do it." No. I am sure it's all going to work out and I hope Zach does it. And if he doesn't, it's not a big deal if we never speak again. I'm cool with it if he's cool with it.