The continuation of television’s one-time hit series House is in jeopardy, as FOX recently revealed that the network is actively avoiding any programming decisions related House season 9.
While speaking at the TCA 2011 Winter Press Tour, FOX Entertainment President Kevin Reilly said, “We've done a good job of avoiding some of these big decisions." Continuing, Reilly commented that there are some positives to deciding the future (or end) of television’s former ratings juggernaut: "I do feel fortunate that we have some high-class problems."
Fortunately, even if Fox decides to cancel House, Reilly stated that the series would, "absolutely have a satisfying conclusion. ... It's not going have an unceremonious finish.” Well, as satisfying a conclusion as you can have from forcing the producers to develop an ending to the series mid-season.
That being said, it’s likely that the writers have been tossing around ideas for the end of House for a while now.
This news shouldn’t come as too much of a shock to fans of the famed diagnostician, as the decision to continue with the currently-running House season 8 came at the last possible minute because of a feud between FOX (the broadcasting network) and NBC (the studio that produces the show).
FOX and NBC were in a disagreement over the cost of producing the series - a feud that lasted for over 5 months. With ratings on the decline, FOX was looking to pay NBC less for House episodes than they previously were when the series was at a ratings high. Finally coming to a decision last May, the eventual agreement between FOX and NBC allowed House to continue for an eighth season – but the delay in contract renewals for the cast also resulted in an enormous loss for the series: Appropriately unhappy with the pay decrease that came from having her number of episodes cut, Princeton-Plainsboro lost their Dean of Medicine, Lisa Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein).
Starting out the season as House’s newfound love, no one thought that the eventual coupling of House (Hugh Laurie) and Cuddy would conclude with Cuddy no longer being a part of the series. To be fair, no one thought that House would drive his car through Cuddy’s living room – but hey, that happened.
Following the disjointed and confusing journey was House season 7, House season 8 has always been looked at as a second chance for the series to redeem itself with new and inventive story-arcs that would allow the series to descend gracefully to its conclusion. Unfortunately, that doesn’t appear to be happening.
After receiving its lowest rating in the history of the series during November sweeps with 6.63 million viewers (similar to Fringe season 2 numbers), it’s hard not to notice the drastic decline of the world’s most popular television show in 2009 (81.8 million viewers in 66 countries, representing a potential 1.6 billion viewers).
While FOX could likely drag out the decision to renew House for season 9 until late spring, it’s likely that FOX will reveal their decision in the coming months.
Despite FOX stating that they’re still discussing the possible future of House with series creator David Shore, there is a sense that their “discussion” is more of an earned formality based on longtime relationship, rather than an earnest attempt at continuing the show.
But perhaps it’s for the best. House is certainly not the series it once was – and its age is beginning to show in the presented storylines. While it’s highly unlikely for the series to continue for another season, it may be best to hope for some type of logical conclusion to the series’ many characters in the promised “satisfying” fashion.
We’ll have to wait and see if “satisfying” turns out to be code forLisa Edelstein. Because as anyone who has watched House will tell you, there can be no conclusion without Cuddy.
House returns Monday, January 23 on Fox
Follow Anthony on Twitter @anthonyocasio
Source: TV Guide