Like all good episodes of “House,” there have been rumors and misdirection and teasing reports, but they’ve all led up to this final diagnosis: FOX’s Emmy-winning, hit medical drama will end its run this spring after eight seasons.
The announcement came on Wednesday (February 8) afternoon with a pair of statements, one from FOX Entertainment President Kevin Reilly and one from “House” executive producers David Shore and Katie Jacobs, plus star (and executive producer) Hugh Laurie.
“While it’s with much regret, and a lump in our throats, we respect the decision Hugh, David and Katie have made,” Reilly’s statement reads. “A true original, on the page and amazingly brought to life by Hugh Laurie, there is only one Dr. House. For eight seasons, the entire ‘House’ team has given us – and fans around the world – some of the most compelling characters and affecting stories ever seen on television. They have been creatively tenacious and collaborative throughout this incredible run, and they are amongst the most superior talents in the business. For all the above, we wholeheartedly thank them, and the fans who have supported the show.”
After stumbling out of the gate following its critically acclaimed 2004 premiere, “House” was already building an audience when a new time slot after “American Idol” transformed it into a legitimate hit.
In its run, “House” earned six Emmy nominations for Laurie’s lead performance as cantankerous and brilliant Dr. Gregory House, plus four nominations for Outstanding Drama Series. “House” won Emmys for sound mixing and makeup, as well as trophies for David Shore’s writing on the “Three Stories” episode and Greg Yaitanes’ direction on “House’s Head.” The “House” run also included two Golden Globes and two Television Critics Association Awards wins for Laurie.
Ratings for “House” have been down this season and with high production costs, there had been rumors that FOX may be done with the drama, but the possibility always existed that NBC might snag a season or two from the NBC-Uni production.
With the show’s fate still up-in-the-air in January, Reilly told critics at the TCA press tour that the network hoped to do right by “House.”
“Should it be the last season, it”s not going to be an unceremonious finish. I can tell you that,” Reilly promised in January “I mean, they are just really one of the best units of people I”ve ever worked with. They are so professionally, consistently, creatively tenacious. They are collaborative, responsible. Hugh is not only a great actor but an incredible leader for his sort of organization. So it”s just really the dream scenario with that show, and that”s why it makes it a very hard decision, and, honestly, one that I hope we can make together, and I think we will.”
Wednesday’s announcement would seem to put an end to all speculation.
The statement from Shore, Jacobs and Laurie is a long one, but here it is in its entirety:
After much deliberation, the producers of House M.D. have decided that this season of the show, the 8th, should be the last. By April this year they will have completed 177 episodes, which is about 175 more than anyone expected back in 2004.
The decision to end the show now, or ever, is a painful one, as it risks putting asunder hundreds of close friendships that have developed over the last eight years – but also because the show itself has been a source of great pride to everyone involved.
Since it began, House has aspired to offer a coherent and satisfying world in which everlasting human questions of ethics and emotion, logic and truth, could be examined, played out, and occasionally answered. This sounds like fancy talk, but it really isn”t. House has, in its time, intrigued audiences around the world in vast numbers, and has shown that there is a strong appetite for television drama that relies on more than prettiness or gun play.
But now that time is drawing to a close. The producers have always imagined House as an enigmatic creature; he should never be the last one to leave the party. How much better to disappear before the music stops, while there is still some promise and mystique in the air.
The producers can never sufficiently express their gratitude to the hundreds of dedicated artists and technicians who have given so generously of their energy and talent to make House the show it has been – and perhaps will continue to be for some time, on one cable network or another.
The makers of House would also like to thank Fox Broadcasting and Universal Television for supporting the show with patience, imagination and large quantities of good taste. The Studio-As-Evil-Adversary is one of the many clichés that House has managed to avoid, and for that the cast and crew are deeply grateful.
Lastly, the audience: some have come and some have gone, obviously. This is to be expected in the life of any show. But over the course of the last eight years, the producers of House have felt immensely honored to be the subject of such close attention by an intelligent, discriminating, humane and thoughtful – not to mention numerous – audience. Even the show’s detractors have been flattering in their way. Making the show has felt like a lively and passionate discussion about as many different subjects as could possibly be raised in 177 hours. The devotion and generosity of our viewers has been marvelous to behold.
So, finally, everyone at House will bid farewell to the audience and to each other with more than a few tears, but also with a deep feeling of gratitude for the grand adventure they have been privileged to enjoy for the last eight years. If the show lives on somewhere, with somebody, as a fond memory, then that is a precious feat, of which we will always be proud.