The remarkably resilient Scrubs is coming back next season as a very different series. With Zach Braff no longer a series regular, the show is being completely overhauled, now focusing on a medical school where familiar faces Turk (Donald Faison) and Dr. Cox (John C. McGinley) teach.
I recently sat down with Faison to discuss this new incarnation of Scrubs, and what it will be like for J.D.'s best buddy/"Chocolate Bear" Turk to take on his new responsibilities. And while Scrubs actually won't be officially changing titles, Faison was quick to give the new version of the show a humorous title, as you'll see below.
Faison has also appeared in the past on his friend Seth Green's Robot Chicken, and discussed his work on that show, along with Green and his Robot Chicken collaborators' upcoming series - the Voltron inspired Titan Maximum.
IGN TV: When do you go back to work on Scrubs?
Donald Faison: August 31st is the first day we shoot. There's a read through coming up and a picnic tomorrow - the Scrubs / Cougar Town picnic. [Editor's Note: Cougar Town is Scrubs creator Bill Lawrence's new series]
It's been a year since I've worked on that show, so it's kind of weird to go back. Literally, a year. Usually it's like six months off, but it's been a year since we actually filmed anything for Scrubs, so I'm a little excited.
IGN: I'd imagine it must be a little strange, because two years ago, before the writers' strike, you thought you would be wrapping up Scrubs. And then a year ago, it seemed like okay, that would be the final season...
Faison: This isn't the same Scrubs. This is Scrubs: The New Class. It's sort of like Saved by the Bell: The New Class.. I'm Belding though. I'm not Screech.
IGN: [Laughs] So does that make Cox Screech?
Faison: Cox is definitely Screech. I'm Mr. Belding.
IGN: What did you think when Bill [Lawrence] and the network came to you with the idea for this new version of the show?
Faison: Well, I had already agreed to do another show called The Law, with Cedric the Entertainer. It didn't go, unfortunately. So it was up in the air whether I was going to be able to do Scrubs or not. And at the last minute, it worked out.
Bill never really came to me. It was like, "We're going to do this show. Do you want to do it?" I got a call from ABC and they were like, "Do you want to do the show?" I was like, "What's the show?" They said, "We're thinking about doing Scrubs: The New Class." I was like, "Yeah, I'll do it!"
Kelsey Grammer had a small part on Cheers and then wound up going on to do Fraiser, where he made a crapload of money and it's probably some of his best work to date. So anytime you get the opportunity to work, I suggest you take it. So I took it.
IGN: You've played this character for a long time, but do you think it will be interesting to have him in a new scenario? You're actually shooting the show in a different place now too!
Faison: It'll be awesome. We're on the same lot as Cougar Town, so it'll be an even bigger family. And we were getting so sick and tired of that abandoned hospital! There was a really bad asbestos problem in that hospital, and we didn't take care of it while we were there.
IGN: So good luck to the next guy?
Faison: Yeah, good luck to whoever goes there next! But yeah, it kind of got old, so this makes it even more exciting. It makes the show feel new, because we're on a different lot and stuff like that.
IGN: Do you know how much we'll see Carla and Turk's home life?
Faison: I don't know. I know Zach [Braff], myself and Johnny [John C. McGinley] have signed on for a lot of episodes. Zach's signed on for six, I've signed on for all of them and so has Johnny. I don't know how often we'll see Sarah [Chalke]'s character, I don't know how often we'll see Judy [Reyes]'s character.