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A decade ago, it seemed like Zach Braff was entertainment's next great multi-hyphenate, with his TV work on the hit comedy Scrubs complemented by his acclaimed feature debut Garden State. Then he left Scrubs (sorta), the Garden State backlash happened, he focused more on stage plays and his return to film, the Kickstarter-funded Wish I Was Here, earned him more of an anti-fanbase. But someone must have hit a reset button, because Braff is going back to ABC for the Sony TV comedy Start Up.
At this point, Start Up is only working with a put pilot commitment from ABC, which puts the network on the end of a stiff penalty if the project doesn't move forward. ABC landed the comedy in a bidding war against other networks, so that probably has a lot to do with why it's starting small with this deal. Everything about it sounds pretty solid, and Braff can still bring in viewers, so expect this one to see the light of day.
Start Up will see Zach Braff taking on the role of a thirtysomething guy, obviously with a wife and two kids, who suddenly decides that instead of following the same day-to-day work mode, he's going to say goodbye to his dependable job. His plan? Put on an entrepreneur hat and dive headfirst into trying to start his own business. I didn't get a peek inside the creator's head or anything, but I'm guessing there will be some setbacks that make Braff look like a fool. We can only hope his business has room for a snarky janitor.
The aforementioned creator is Matt Tarses, who has been a writer and/or producer on such great shows as Sports Night, Worst Week and The Goldbergs, as well as Scrubs. He wrote the pilot, which is based on the stellar podcast Start Up from brainy businessman and Gimlet Media founder Alex Blumberg, a former producer for This American Life. Tarses, Blumberg and his Gimlet crew will serve as executive producers, as will Braff. According to Deadline, Braff will also put his directorial skills to work in helming this pilot.
Zach Braff hasn't been completely absent from television in the years since Dr. John Dorian left our lives. He's made appearances on The Exes, Community, Inside Amy Schumer and Undateable for a memorable two-part episode. On the big screen, he's set to appear with a dozen other big names in James Franco's drama In Dubious Battle.
Audiences have been needing something to come along and finally drive the abysmal memory of Scrubs' series finale away once and for all. And if a new ABC comedy with Zach Braff isn't going to do it, then all hope may be lost. Stay tuned for more information from Start Up, and don't forget to keep current with what's premiering later this year with our fall TV schedule.