For the last seven seasons, Dr. Gregory House has used his unique medical skills to save patients on the hit Fox series, "House." However, the continued life of the show has encountered several problems that even House himself would have trouble fixing.
According to Variety, talks between Fox and NBCUniversal have come down to the wire and the two sides remain at an impasse over what each side will pay to continue the series for an eighth season.
Fox has until April 15 to close a deal before NBCUniversal becomes free to shop it around to other networks, including (as many expect) potentially bringing it to NBC, which is badly in need of hit dramas.
To complicate matters further, only Hugh Laurie and Olivia Wilde remain under contract beyond this season. Lisa Edelstein, Omar Epps and Robert Sean Leonard are currently at the end of their contractual terms and would have to be signed to new deals.
However, Leonard told TVLine earlier this week that "this is my last season of 'House.' I’m shooting my last episode now. Contractually this is it. There’s also 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].
Leonard is also signed to perform on Broadway in "Born Yesterday," which will overlap the expected summer start date for production of the eighth season of "House."
Even "House" showrunner and executive producer David Shore would need to be resigned if he elects to return to the show.
At this point, the main issue between NBCUniversal and Fox appears to be the cost of the series. NBCUniversal wants Fox to continue paying production costs and a premium for the show. But Fox wants to lower the fee and is citing the diminished ratings as a justification for their stance.
The potential departure of "House" could also affect Fox's development slate and possibly help dramas on the bubble like "The Chicago Code" and "Human Target" get a better chance at being picked up for another season.
But there's at least one "House" cast member up for another job at Fox. Deadline is reporting that Amber Tamblyn has signed on to star as a young teacher on a new potential series with "House" executive producer Katie Jacobs and "The Wire" co-creator Ed Burns. The currently untitled project has already gotten a script commitment from the network.