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Final year for 'Scrub's' Braff

July 18, 2008

The Television Critics Assn. Press Tour, the semiannual gathering of television journalists from around the country that began July 8, continues at the Beverly Hilton. We offer these dispatches.

All those pesky reports that ABC's "Life on Mars" suffered a rocky start?

Executive producer Josh Appelbaum tried to skirt the issue Wednesday by saying simply that "there was a David Kelley version." Kelley is no longer involved with the series, which is now being run by the team that did "October Road."

-- 'Life on Mars' charts new course

"I think the main difference we're bringing to it is moving the show to New York" from L.A., Appelbaum said.

Um, that, and every actor except star Jason O'Mara has been recast.

"I'm the only survivor from the original pilot," O'Mara said. "Call it Irish luck."

O'Mara plays Sam Tyler, a NYPD detective who is hit by a car and suddenly finds himself transported to 1973. The series is based on the BBC drama of the same name, which took place in Tyler's comatose mind.

The ABC producers said they asked the British creators for permission to change the mythology of the U.S. version to expand their options.

"We know exactly where it is all going," Appelbaum said, promising that "we know some of the pitfalls of telling these extended mythology stories."

Fellow executive producer Andre Nemec hastened to add that "it is not a time-travel show."

"We are not going back and forth between 1973 and 2008," he added.

So what exactly is going on? How does Tyler end up in 1973?

There could be two separate planes of reality, Appelbaum said. Or, suggested O'Mara, he could be in heaven.


Matea Gold

cutline>##et-presstour18#k44hu8nc#H025IL2L#Chris Pizzello Associated Press## Zach Braff, right, with series co-star Donald Faison, said he plans to return for guest spots, but there are questions as to whether the show would continue without him.

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