House creator David Shore made a request to Fox earlier this season to make an accelerated decision on the fate of the networks long running medical drama so the characters could have a proper ending. Knowing well in advance that House would be over this May will give writers ample time to properly wrap up everything and give the viewers the ending they deserve to see.
The contract for star Hugh Laurie, as well as the licensing fees for the show, are over at the end of the season. Instead of going through another tedious of re-negotiation of contracts between the stars of the show, Fox, and the studio who owns House (Universal Television), Shore and Fox Entertainment President Kevin Reilly decided to pull the plug on the show.
Even though House is set to end it run at Fox, there were rumors that the show could continue at NBC (since NBC is owned by Universal Television) when news broke in November. However, Reilly put those rumors to rest last month at the Fox Television Critics Association Press Tour saying ” picking up the show and moving it to another network, at the cost structure in this situation, would be a shrewd business move.”
Even though a move to NBC would be a great move for that network, which could use an established show like House to lure in new viewers, the cost of the series has escalated as the show gets older, which is another big factor in letting the series end this season.
The end of House signals the potential life for the current slate of Fox’s new dramas The Finder, Alcatraz, and Terra Nova. Next season there will be a vacant timeslot, which means that all three shows could see a second season, since all three shows have performed decently in the ratings this season. One of these three – probably the extremely expensive to produce Terra Nova – would have been cancelled this season if House were renewed for a ninth season.
House wasn’t always the ratings winner that it is now for Fox. After a slow start during its first season, and almost facing a quick cancellation, House turned into one of Fox’s biggest shows of the last decade, often being one of the nets highest-rated scripted shows. The show has shed some viewers within the last couple of seasons, but still performs well enough for the network, drawing in a season average of 9 million viewers and a 3.9 in the 18-49 demo. Despite a sag in ratings the last couple of years, Fox has used House as a major launch pad for other drama series over the years, and it will have that duty one last time this season by being the lead-in for the new Kiefer Sutherland drama, Touch.
House now joins NBC’s Chuck and ABC’s Desperate Housewives in long-running dramas who will have their concluded their long runs at the end of this season.