Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital may be losing their friendliest physician, as Robert Sean Leonard has just announced that House season 7 will be his final season. How will House survive without Dr. Wilson?

In the midst of filming the House season 7 season finale, Leonard spoke with TV Line and abruptly announced that, “This is my last season of House. I’m shooting my last episode now. Contractually this is it.”

While the addition of the word “contractually” may give the appearance that Robert Sean Leonard isn’t completely finished with the David Shore medical series, it’s clear that Leonard’s recently announced return to Broadway in Born Again has put things into perspective for the famed thespian.

…when this play first came up I knew the only way it could work is if the show was over because the run [would overlap] with House‘s shooting schedule. And when my contract was not renewed this season… The long and short of it is, I don’t know. I would love to make more money. Money is nice. I also really miss [living in] New Jersey. I also really miss theater. I miss my friends. Gabby misses her family. I’m sick and tired of living in a place I don’t feel at home. There are very pressing, strong things pulling us in both directions at the moment, so I really don’t know what we’re going to do. It’s going to be a family decision, but it’s not one we have the discomfort of making right now because we’re not being offered options.

Continuing, Leonard states that he believes House season 8 will happen, and that he’ll probably continue as Dr. Wilson – but he’s not completely sure:

“I assume they’ll make another year of House. And I assume I will do it. But I can’t say for sure. My wife and I are really strange people. We never spend any money. I got my first car when I got out here — a Jetta — and I’ve been driving it since the pilot. We haven’t spent much of the money we’ve made.”

Since many might believe these statements from Leonard are an attempt to obtain a pay raise for next season, it’s refreshing to know that money is most definitely not an issue here. Instead, it appears that his comments speak to something more personal.

With Comcast’s acquisition of NBC Universal, the future of House has always been in debate. With the newly-formed Comcast/NBC, many cost-cutting measures are being implemented – including its entertainment division. While House airs on Fox, the series is actually produced by NBC. In an attempt to cut the direct cost of production on the series, NBC would like Fox to pick up a good share of the overhead.

Since NBC/Comcast and Fox are in dispute regarding this matter, none of the actors – except Hugh Laurie – have been contracted for another season.

Leonard speaks on this matter:

“[There is] no deal for House next year because Comcast bought NBC Universal and no one has a deal. If I do House next year it’ll be under a new umbrella. But legally and contractually, I’m free after this [season].”

If Leonard does decide to leave House, there is no plot element in the House season 7 finale that hints at Dr. Wilson leaving. Although, even if Leonard eventually signs on for another season, there will still be a big chunk of Wilson-free episodes in House season 8, as his current Broadway schedule overlaps with the intended production of next season. No matter what happens, it appears that Leonard is looking to eventually leave the series – whether it be this season or next.

As House fans know, Dr. Wilson is an important element in the series – even if he has been largely absent for this season. In terms of story, Wilson is used to display a more human side of House. On top of that, he routinely plays the part of House’s proverbial conscience and is integral for progressing certain plot elements.

If Wilson leaves, his absence will certainly be noticed long-term. While I’m sure the producers could find additional characters to take on the sub-plots Wilson is known for, I’m not sure if it will work as well.

NOTE: We will be speaking with House creator David Shore tomorrow, so expect to hear more information about Leonard’s recent comments.

House airs Mondays @8pm, on Fox

Source: TV Line