House hit network television in 2004, offering a complicated cast of characters and new mysteries to untangle every week. Fans kept coming back to watch the sarcastic, brilliant, anti-social Dr. House deal with unexpected musical cases and navigate the social complexities of the hospital.
Audiences grew to love House, despite and because of the numerous qualities that made him a pain for other characters to work with.
Behind the scenes, House was not easy to create. The writers struggled to find ways to make House a character that fans would accept and root for.
House's character always had to be rationally motivated and focused on solving a puzzle. The writers worked under the rule, "The punishment doesn’t have to fit the crime, but there has to be a crime."
However, even that difficult task was made more so by conflict, cast changes, network interference, and grueling filming. In the beginning, writers disagreed over the development of the show. Writing a show that worked was harder when the network kept weighing in on the supporting characters.
Cast changes proved a particularly tricky part of the show, as some cast left with little notice given to the crew and others were written out with little notice to the cast members.
Hugh Laurie carried the show through eight seasons, but not without his own issues keeping up with the show. Although the final product looked effortless, House had many issues behind the scenes.
Here are the 15 Secrets You Didn't Know Behind House.
15 Hugh Laurie described filming the show as a nightmare
Hugh Laurie made playing House look easy. House certainly did not put in more effort than he needed to, but the same could not be said of Laurie. Laurie put in grueling hours, and he later described playing House as a nightmare.
Laurie explained, "I had some pretty bleak times, dark days when it seemed like there was no escape. And having a very Presbyterian work ethic, I was determined never to be late, not to miss a single day's filming... But there were times when I'd think, 'If I were just to have an accident on the way to the studio and win a couple of days off to recover, how brilliant would that be?"
He commented that he did not think he would be physically able to take on another major television role.
Laurie was also separated from his family during House's run, as they stayed in Britain.
14 Lisa Edelstein refused to return for the finale
After Cuddy left the show, she had an opportunity to return for the series finale one season later. However, Edelstein declined to return for the end of the series. Creator David Shore stated, "I wanted her to come back, but we weren’t able to make that happen."
Edelstein later commented that she did not regret missing the finale, and she thought House and Cuddy's story ended where it should.
She explained, "I don't think that show was about happy endings. And the truth is, if someone drives a car through your living room [like House did] you should do what I did and get the f*** out of town. I mean come on. It kind of all worked out... You file a police report and you leave - and you don't come back for the f***ing finale."
13 Chase and Cameron's relationship outlasted the actors' real engagement
Chase and Cameron's romance was one of the defining relationships of House. The show followed them through multiple arcs in their love story.
However, this couple was actually a case of art imitating life. Chase and Cameron began their relationship around the same time Jesse Spencer and Jennifer Morrison got engaged in real life.
Unfortunately, Spencer and Morrison's real-life engagement ended less than a year later.
Their breakup made filming a bit more awkward, as Chase and Cameron's relationship outlasted their real relationship. Their characters continued to date and got married.
Morrison and Spencer even agreed they would save any on-screen kiss for when the cameras were rolling, avoiding it during scene rehearsals. Eventually, the on-screen relationship fell apart, as well, culminating in Cameron's departure from the show.
12 Hugh Laurie didn't think House could be the main character
When Hugh Laurie first auditioned for the part of Dr. House, the show had the more enigmatic title Chasing Zebras.
Even though the show would later be retitled House and clearly center around Laurie's character for the rest of the series, Laurie did not originally think House would be the main character. Laurie assumed that the show would focus on House's best friend, Wilson, because he didn't think a man like House could lead the show.
At the time, House was a step outside the usual pattern on American television, especially on medical shows, as an unlikable lead that could not entirely be classified with the "good" guys.
It's understandable that Laurie assumed the more sympathetic, caring doctor would be the focus of a medical show. Nevertheless, fans kept coming back for House's brilliant mind and sarcastic, abrasive personality.
11 The network made the writers introduce an enemy
With a series being headlined by an unlikable, misanthropic lead, it's no surprise that the network executives had their own ideas about developing the series.
Although the network never pushed the writers to make House more likeable, they did have some notes about the people surrounding him.
Early in the series, Fox insisted that House should have an enemy pushing back against his behavior.
Creator David Shore was not crazy about the idea, but relented and created the hospital administrator Edward Vogler. However, Shore never intended for Vogler to stick around for long. He stated early on that Vogler would only be on the show for a few episodes.
As the series became more successful, Shore was able to write out Vogler within his allotted handful of episodes.
10 The series creator wishes he had ended Cuddy's arc differently
After the climactic season seven finale of House, Lisa Edelstein announced she would not return to her role as Cuddy.
She resigned from Fox for a role on CBS' The Good Wife. Creator David Shore did not know about Edelstein's departure when the season ended, and thus the show ended Cuddy's entire arc with House driving into Cuddy's home.
Shore stated that if he had known about Edelstein leaving the show, he would have given Cuddy a different ending.
When asked if the season finale was intended as a way to write Cuddy out, Shore replied, "That was never the plan. It happens to do that, which I have mixed feelings about. Had I known going into the final dozen episodes that she wasn’t returning, I’m sure it would’ve unfolded differently."
9 Jennifer Morrison was told little about Cameron's sudden departure from the show
Dr. Cameron's departure from the show was sudden and unexpected. Although many characters left the show because of the actor's work, Cameron's fate was in the hands of the writers.
Cameron's ending was meant to show that not everyone in House's circle would be corrupted by him. Unfortunately, the decision pushed out Jennifer Morrison.
Morrison commented on Cameron leaving the show, "I find the entire situation sort of confusing... I don’t know anything about anything. That’s the thing. Everyone expects me to have an answer and there’s no answer to have because there’s… no answer."
Morrison was paid for the remainder of the season, but seemingly received little information about her character's end in the story. The writers left an opening for Cameron to return, and Morrison did eventually come back for the series finale.
8 The writers argued over how to portray House's injury
When House's writers were first developing how to portray Dr. House's enigmatic character, they were conflicted about how to play House's injury.
They knew House should have some kind of handicap that would be important in his character development, but they were not agreed on what it should be.
The first idea the writers worked with was putting House in a wheelchair, but the writers found that idea too limiting in restricting the ways House's character could be used. They also considered the idea of portraying his injury with a scar.
However, a continuous scar would have required much more investment in makeup. They ultimately decided on House's cane and limp, but still used both other ideas in the series. House's scarred leg was shown occasionally, and House used a wheelchair for one episode on a bet.
7 The writers gave Wilson an edge against the network's wishes
When the series was in development, Fox had specific ideas for House's best friend, Wilson.
The network wanted Wilson to be a nice guy to contrast House, but Robert Sean Leonard's audition gave Wilson an edge.
David Shore explained, "Bryan Singer, who was directing it, went off to give him the note outside the room, and I was sitting there in the room, thinking about it and going, 'I think that’s a bad idea... There has to be something about this guy that would make him be friends with House.'"
He continued, "And, I ran out of the room to tell Bryan that I didn’t agree with that note, and to tell Robert. As soon as I get it out of my mouth, Bryan said, 'Oh it’s a terrible note. We’ll have him read it that way, we’ll get him the part, and then we’ll do it our way later.'"
6 The series creator originally thought the show's concept was a terrible idea
House had an abnormal approach to a medical procedural, combining medical drama with character-driven mystery. When series creator David Shore and the show's executive producers first came up with the idea, Shore was not convinced the idea would work.
Shore explained, "It evolved over a few months. The series was sold to Fox without the House character as part of the initial sales pitch. The show was sold as a crime/police procedural, but instead of bad guys, the germs were the suspects. So it was more of a CSI kind of idea."
He continued, "I was partnered with Paul Attanasio and Katie Jacobs, who are also executive producers on the show. They knew that all the networks were looking for a medical procedural. It was sold that cynically. Paul had the original idea. I thought it was a terrible idea. Obviously, I was completely wrong."
5 Kal Penn was shocked when the writers killed off his character upon his departure
After his part as Dr. Kutner on House, Kal Penn was offered the extraordinary opportunity to work for the White House as an associate director for the Office of Public Liaison.
Penn's new role meant that Kutner would have to leave the story, as he decided not to take any acting roles while working for the Obama administration.
Kutner's departure made a shocking turn when House's team discovered that Kutner had committed suicide. It turned into a poignant episode, but it did not seem to be what Penn was expecting.
Penn stated that he felt "more than a little bit of shock and loss" when he learned of his character's demise. Despite Kutner's unexpected death, Penn left the show on good terms and was on set for the filming of Kutner's suicide episode. He also returned for a small part in the series finale.
4 The creator had no endgame for the series
When David Shore started work on House, he had no clear idea where the story was going to end up. In fact, he expected to be canceled at any point during the series.
With an uncertain future for the show, Shore did not have an endgame for the series. Even up to the final season, the ending for the series was still up in the air in the writers' room.
He stated, "In my mind, that would have been incredibly pompous. The idea that this was going to last more than 12 episodes, and that I could plan an ending, is just way too arrogant."
"It’s American network TV. I fully expected it would just stay on the air, and I would tell individual stories about this individual, until they told me I couldn’t do that anymore," he said.
3 One season finale proved controversial with fans
At the end of season seven, following the collapse of House and Cuddy's relationship, House drove his car into Cuddy's house during her dinner party with a new boyfriend.
The dramatic ending did not sit well with fans, who thought it looked like House was trying to kill Cuddy. Some fans thought that the action changed the nature of the show and House's character.
Creator David Shore clarified in later interviews that House had seen them leave the room and that the act of violence was toward the house and not Cuddy herself.
He explained, "Even in that moment, I don’t think he wanted to kill anybody. But who knows? Probably part of his mind did. It was a lashing out — a very extreme lashing out. I don’t think it was a murderous lashing out."
2 The writers considered taking House out in the finale
After eight seasons, House ended with a bang when Dr. House faked his own death to spend Wilson's last few months on an adventure with his best friend.
Although fans speculated House really was dead at the end of the series, creator David Shore stated he meant for the ending to be taken at face value. However, that doesn't mean House wasn't in peril in the writers' room.
Shore also revealed killing House was in consideration for the finale. He explained, "Everything was on the table and that seemed like a natural [choice] in some ways — that is an ending. And this [episode] is a nice ending for the series, but it’s not en ending to House, and that’s part of it."
He continued: "House as a human being — a fictional human being but still a human being — won’t be over until he dies. So there was some talk about that."
1 House's limp caused Hugh Laurie major problems
House's injured leg and his resulting limp was a large part of his character, but House's fictional limp caused Hugh Laurie real injuries.
Spending several season walking with a limp took its toll on Laurie. He explained while filming the series, "The show might last through to series seven, eight or nine but I don’t know if I will because I’m starting to lose my knees. It’s a lot of hip work. There are things going badly wrong."
After eight seasons of playing House, Laurie also found it difficult to stop limping.
Even when working on other projects years later, Laurie would find himself slipping back into House's limp.
He commented, “I can’t remember any of the lines at all but when ‘action’ is shouted I start limping. I’m like a dog that’s been prodded with electrodes.”
Can you think of any other secrets behind House? Have your say in the comment section!