After months of negotiations, Fox's medical dramedy House has finally been renewed for an eighth season. The announcement came today, along with news that Fox and NBC Universal had reached an agreement.
The long wait for the renewal stemmed from broadcaster Fox wanting a lower production cost from NBC Universal, the studio that actually films and produces the show. Fox wanted a 20% cut in their part of the deal; while no monetary details have been revealed, the scuttlebutt is that the two parties met in the middle.
But don't get too comfortable House fans: the new contract is only valid for one year. The show's possible 9th season is still up in the air. But barring an extremely unlikely drop in viewership for the 2011-2012 run, House will almost certainly return - it might not be on Fox, though.
The Doctor himself, Hugh Laurie, has been confirmed for the new season, as has recurring star Olivia Wilde ("Thirteen"). Robert Sean Leonard and Omar Epps will also return for Season 8.
But at least three costars are still in the wind: Lisa Edelstein, Jesse Spencer and Peter Jacobson (doctors Cuddy, Chase and Taub, respectively) have not signed contracts for the new season. According to E! Online, deals for the supporting cast are still being negotiated.
House has trailed somewhat in its last few years on Fox, averaging about 10 million total viewers a week this season. That's down about 20% from Season 6. The lowered viewership was almost certainly the catalyst for more aggressive negotiation on Fox's part. Still, 10 million is nothing to sneeze at, and barring some big surprises viewers can expect at least one more season somewhere.
The show itself has seen some big changes this year. House and Cuddy finally began a real relationship (then ended it), Thirteen left (then came back), and a new medical student named Martha Masters joined the team (then left). House also busted out of its shell for a well-received musical episode. Amber Tamblyn, who played Masters for several episodes, is working on a new Fox pilot and will not return.
House is wrapping up its seventh season now. The season finale is scheduled for May 23rd.
House airs Monday nights at 8Pm on Fox.
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Source: E! Online