‘House’ Season 8 Held Up By NBC & FOX Dispute

Published 3 years ago by , Updated January 25th, 2011 at 4:56 pm,

house season 8 nbc fox dispute House Season 8 Held Up By NBC & FOX Dispute

[Update: NBC responded to our initial request, but declined to comment on this matter.]

With FOX’s hit series House crossing the halfway mark of its seventh season, fans of the long-running medical drama are beginning to look ahead and wonder what wonderful mischief Princeton Plainsboro’s diagnostician will create in House season 8.

Unfortunately, it looks like all of the fanatical conjecture can now cease – at least for the moment – as House season 8 is currently at a standstill.  NBC Universal, the production company behind the award-winning series, and FOX Television, the network that airs House, are currently in dispute about who should pay for the actual production of the hit series going forward.

Speaking to the press yesterday, House co-star Lisa Edelstein revealed:

There is some issue… We are produced by NBC, even though we’re on Fox… which is a little unusual, but not all that uncommon. There’s a whole complicated structure in terms of who pays for what when you make a show. Now that the show has been on for so long, I think NBC wants Fox to take over the cost of production and Fox doesn’t want that. So, there’s just been some dispute there.

Until that’s resolved, they can’t even begin to talk to any of us. I know that they officially have Hugh [Laurie] for an eighth season – he negotiated that a long time ago. So, for the rest of us, we’ll just have to wait until the contract is finished between the studio and the network.

While the continuation of an award-winning, highly-rated and extremely profitable series should be a no-brainer, recent events have caused NBC Universal to want to shift more of the production responsibilities and cost to Fox – specifically, the Comcast-NBC merger.

Now that the Comcast-NBC merger has been approved, NBC Universal as a whole is looking to cut as much overhead spending as possible to appease Comcast and provide a more lucrative situation for its current (and future) stockholders. While the production of a hit television series may appear to many as something other than “overhead spending,” there is some validity to their reasoning.

Despite House being a profitable franchise for NBC Universal, much of that profit comes from future earnings – DVD sales, syndication, worldwide distribution. When filming a television series, there is a lot of upfront expense associated with the simple day-to-day production – around $5 million per episode, $115 million per season.

house cuddy sleeping House Season 8 Held Up By NBC & FOX Dispute

Even though FOX pays NBC Universal for the rights to air the series on television and, in turn, helps cover the cost of production, NBC would like to shift more of the direct expenses to the television network.

Why FOX wouldn’t simply agree to the financial shift with NBC Universal is an interesting question. While there’s no overt reason why FOX wouldn’t, it mostly likely has to do with FOX already having a budget set in place for the upcoming fiscal year.

Fortunately, NBC Universal and FOX will absolutely come to an agreement in the end. It’s going to take some time for FOX to look at their current financial commitments and see where additional funds can be found and reallocated, but House season 8 will ultimately happen.

…Especially since series creator David Shore already revealed that he has plans for Olivia Wilde and her character Thirteen in season 8.

We reached out to both FOX and NBC Universal for a comment, but they had yet to respond at the time of publishing.

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House airs Mondays @8pm, on FOX

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  1. Anthony, I appreciate your optimism, but I’m unclear what your source is for saying that ultimately FOX and NBC will absolutely come to an agreement. It is an older, expensive series to produce. Do you have some other information that is not in this piece? Not trying to be argumentative — I’d like for you to be right, but this is the only place I’ve heard they’ll definitely come to an agreement. Thanks.

  2. My source is the knowledge that I have of the television industry.

    House is a reliable ratings hit for the network. It has a built-in, dedicated fan base and is continuously nominated for awards and constantly delivers quality television.

    This dispute isn’t about not wanting House to continue. Both NBC and FOX want House to continue, but NBC wants FOX to take over more of the direct costs. This is something that FOX can absolutely do. FOX produces many of the series that air on its network, as well as series that air on other networks (Modern Family, How I Met Your Mother).

    It’s just a matter of figuring things out and agreeing on the terms.

    You saying that House is an older show is correct, but the production cost of the series is lower than many of the shows that I assume you’re referencing to have been canceled because of those reasons.

    I hope that helps. Not sure if that’s what you’re looking for.

    • Thank you for your response — I’m glad to get a more expanded take on the value vs. cost of the show. So in your mind, the show remains an NBC-Universal product, but Fox just picks up more of the direct costs or does it become a FOX product?

      • That’s something that will have to get worked out. It might stay NBC U or it might be co-produced by NBC U and Fox. I’m not sure.

  3. Oh what a surprise, FOX creating drama (no pun intended).

    I really, really, really hope House doesn’t follow in the fate of previous (FOX) shows such as Buffy, Firefly and Dollhouse and get cancelled. That would be a crying shame.

  4. hi,
    you write “recent events have caused NBC Universal to want to shift more of the production responsibilities and cost to Fox”. What are those recent events ?

    • The Comccast-NBC merger.

  5. This sounds similar to the trouble over at Mad Men. AMC and Lion’s Gate are in dispute over the show and how to divide costs and profits. It so bad that it could mean the next season of Mad Men won’t air until 2012!

    FOX probably should be the one to pay for this last season as it’s more immediately important to them and they will benefit the most in the short term. Launching a successful drama series has been impossible for them the last two seasons. Over course over the last two season HOuse has no longer been “an award-winning, highly-rated” series but I’m it still profitable and that FOX was counting on House for what will be it’s 8th and likely final season. There’s can be lots of upside to a show when it’s promoted that is wrapping up and going off the air doubtless FOX wants to benfit from such a situation and wring out the last few drops something they can’t do very well if it heads out in four months.

    For NBC it’s understandable they want to reign in their costs wherever possible what with new owners in Comcast to answer to now. NBC Universal has already reaped most of what it’s going to from House based on the sale of syndication, ww distribution and DVD sales. One more season, especially of a show whose ratings continue to dwindle and that is critically considered to have gone completely off the rails, is no longer going to make much of a positive difference to their profits. So why pay for 22/23 more episodes when it does next to to nothing for them? It’s an expenditure with little to no upside.

    If FOX takes it over completely, (more likely as Anthony wrote they’ll find a way to share the costs and profits with NBC Uni) and they need to pare down the budget costs may I suggest that they jettison the entire cast save HL and Robert Sean Leonard. The rest are boring and/or dead weight that has dragged down the quality and the number of viewers for the show for more than two seasons.

    House and Wilson can leave PPTH and start anew by going off to another hospital or to teach at a university or open a private practice.
    They could even head to another country. How about off to England on a sabbatical, settle in London and follow in the footsteps of their alter egos Holmes and Watson?

    • You’re correct when you say that it’s similar to what’s going on with Mad Men, though House is in a better position than Mad Men.

      Mad Men averages around 3 million viewers per episode with a cost of $2.5 million per episode. House averages around 10 million per episode.

      Plus, House is on network television, has far better ad revenue and is distributed to 66 countries around the world. At one time, it was the most watched television series in the entire world.

      House is still an extremely profitable series, it’s just the direct, upfront costs that NBC is looking to shift.

  6. Fox and universal/nbc/comcast showing their love for the fanbase.

    These studio executives don’t give a crap if the show continues, only that they profit NOW!!!

  7. I’m sure they can come to some kind of arrangement where FOX takes on more of the production costs in order to receive a piece of the dvd sales.

  8. So it begins. The merger should have never been allowed. Cable companies are already extremely profitable and now they are strong arming Fox for even more profits.

  9. House is THE best show ever, there are a few that come close, but nothing beats House, i admit up until the 6th season it was a 7-8/10 show but now I can honestly give it a 9.5/10 ~ 10/10. Im no critic Im not certified to make those claims but all in all I love the show, its not like some show like jersey shore where all they do is go around hooking up with each other and whatnot. This show gets to stimulate your mind and now after this last episode you see even the hardest of the hard “Gregory House” has feelings that he tries to hide. If they were to cancel the show I have no idea what I would do!

  10. I agree, most likely FOX will take over more responsibility and the show will continue. Because House is such a popular show, because Hugh is already under contract and because of Olivia Wilde’s new fame and the writers expanding up on her storyline, there is more money to be made. House has always been excellent and will be excellent television until the writers are all dried up. The show must go on.

  11. What’s wrong with you people? Really??? House is that good of a show? Every show its a different sickness or illness and somehow he knows every single sickness? come on, comedy is where its at people. Open your eye’s, for example The Office, heck thats a show to watch. This is just dumb unfunny stuff for your boring ol’ mondays.

  12. I’m all for the new season of House but I just don’t see how they can make a new one after the destruction that House caused on the season finale

  13. I’m all for the new season of House but I just don’t see how they can make a new one after the destruction that House caused on the season finale?

  14. i like watching this series,its so amazing watching an old crippled genius doctor solving cases in such a never-seen-before or never-imagined ways,whats up with these fox guys,cant pay for a show that has earned them so many viewers and not to mention the money.I think that this has to be the last season,cant they just let people enjoy this amazing stuff ,its not like their investment will be lost or something.

  15. I think that the show needs to finish the 8th season I have been watching for at least 5 years and I feel that the fans deserve at least that much. I understand that the cast would like to go on to do more. And they have all done one heck of a job. Especially Robert Sean. Such a cutie!!!!!! Well I guess time will tell.

  16. Anthony: I have been looking for any info on what is going on with house MD. I feel like I can’t get any up to date info. I have been all over the web and nothing. I know that they are in meetings right now. But I would appreciate any thing you might have on this. And would welcome your opinion on the subject. Do you believe that house will at least do one more show? They need to finish this. Thanks. Stacy