I don't have time to transcribe anything right now, so bullet points...
- Whether or not this will be the final "Scrubs" season, this will definitely be Zach Braff's final season. The season finale is being written as JD's farewell from the hospital, but Lawrence is shooting two slightly different versions of the very end of it: one for if the show is being renewed and will come back without Zach, one for if this is the series finale. (The latter version would feature Janitor's real name, as Lawrence has been saying forever that when you find out Janitor's name, the show is over.)
- Every actor's contract is up by mid-September, and they're free to pursue whatever jobs they want. If the show comes back, they're welcome but not obligated to come back with it. John C. McGinley said he'd like to come back but what if, hypothetically, he's landed a part in a Martin Scorsese movie around the time production for a season nine would begin? Lawrence said he has no problems with any of the cast moving on if they want to.
- Though the season won't debut until some time in early '09, they should wrap production by the end of August, which gives them flexibility both within the show and without. Aziz Ansari from "Human Giant" will be playing a new doctor this year, even though he's under contract for "The Office" spin-off; since "Scrubs" was in production and the new show wasn't, Greg Daniels said it was cool. And if "How I Met Your Mother" wants Sarah Chalke back a lot -- "They don't want me to say it, but she's the mom," Lawrence cracked -- she'll be available.
- In part to freshen up the series, in part to set things up for a potential post-Braff incarnation of the show, there will be a number of new doctors this year. In addition to Ansari, Eliza Coupe (who was one of the better things in the never-seen HBO show "12 Miles of Bad Road") will be one of the rookies. Chalke said that when Lawrence announced he was adding young doctors, she and the other regulars said, "But we're the young doctors!" and Lawrence told them something like, "Go look at the opening credits and get back to me."
- Ken Jenkins is not leaving the show, even though Kelso no longer works at the hospital. "Kelso won free muffins for life on the show, which gives him an excuse to hang around the hospital and be a different character," Lawrence said. Courteney Cox will do a three-episode arc as the hospital's new chief of medicine. (It was a part written for Lawrence's buddy John Cusack, who wasn't available due to a movie shoot.)
- Lawrence admitted that many of the shots people (including me) took at the last season on NBC were deserved, and that they got lazy telling the same jokes over and over again, and then telling jokes about their own jokes. (All that meta stuff about how JD's long fantasies are never worth it, etc.) The tone of the new season will be much more in keeping with the serio-comedy of seasons 1-4 -- "Though I don't know if Steve McPherson wants me to talk up how there's going to be more tragedy in the show."
- Getting back to Janitor's name -- which Neil Flynn kept trying to claim was Zanzibar Duck Duck McFake -- there's some debate in the writer's room about what it should be, with several writers insisting that it has to be "Neil Flynn," since they established that Janitor played Neil Flynn's role in "The Fugitive." (UPDATE: I was mistaken. Flynn said "Zanzibar Buck Buck McFate," which is the name of a Dr. Seuss character, a Sneetch, I think.)
- And, the most important question as far as I'm concerned: Lawrence promised much more of Donald Faison dancing.
- The episode in the Bahamas -- where Lawrence will make his acting debut on the show -- will be about Janitor's wedding (presumably to his girlfriend, Lady), and is part of Lawrence's attempt to prove old mentor Gary David Goldberg wrong that you can't do a funny sitcom episode where you take your cast and crew to another country.