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BREAKING: House to call it quits in May

NEWS - TV NEWS

The eighth season of Dr. Gregory House's cantankerous brand of medicine will be the show's last...

Hugh Laurie as Gregory House

The brains behind Fox heavyweight House have announced via press release that the medical drama's creative team will not pursue studio negotiations beyond the end of its current season.

Executive Producers David Shore, Katie Jacobs, and Hugh Laurie, the eponymous medical genius/irascible antisocial grouch, released a statement this afternoon, printed in part here:

After much deliberation, the producers of House M.D. have decided that this season of the show, the 8th, should be the last. By April this year, they will have completed 177 episodes, which is about 175 more than anyone expected back in 2004. The decision to end the show now, or ever, is a painful one, as it risks putting asunder hundreds of close friendships that have developed over the last eight years - but also because the show itself has been a source of great pride to everyone involved. Since it began, House has aspired to offer a coherent and satisfying world in which everlasting human questions of ethics and emotion, logic and truth, could be examined, played out, and occasionally answered. This sounds like fancy talk, but it really isn't. House has, in its time, intrigued audiences around the world in vast numbers, and has shown that there is a strong appetite for television drama that relies on more than prettiness or gun play. But now that time is drawing to a close. The producers have always imagined House as an enigmatic creature; he should never be the last one to leave the party. How much better to disappear before the music stops, while there is still some promise and mystique in the air.

The statement goes on to thank the cast and the crew of the acclaimed series, along with Fox Broadcasting and Universal Television, before saving its final round of thanks for the show's fans.

Lastly, the audience: some have come and some have gone, obviously. This is to be expected in the life of any show. But over the course of the last eight years, the producers of House have felt immensely honored to be the subject of such close attention by an intelligent, discriminating, humane and thoughtful - not to mention numerous - audience. Even the show's detractors have been flattering in their way. Making the show has felt like a lively and passionate discussion about as many different subjects as could possibly be raised in 177 hours. The devotion and generosity of our viewers has been marvelous to behold.

Rumors of House's demise have been circulating for a couple of years, not helped by the fact that the show's seventh season attracted its lowest viewership to date, an average of 10.32 million viewers an episode. (By comparison, the third season was watched by an average of 19.95 million viewers an episode.) Much of its declining viewership has been attributed to a perceived drop in program quality and unnecessarily complicated plotlines, many focusing on tertiary characters instead of Laurie's House.

Regardless, and although today's announcement was certainly of the "it's gonna happen sooner or later" stripe, it is a sad day for the many millions of fans of Gregory House and his unfortunate and put-upon team of diagnosticians. A winner of five Emmys, two Golden Globes, and nine People's Choice awards (among many, many more), House was, plainly put, good television. Despite its flagging ratings, its absence will leave a large hole in Fox's evening schedule and a lump in the throats of many a diehard fan. Hopefully it's not lupus.

(House can be seen at 9 p.m. EST, Mondays on Fox. Its last episode is scheduled to air May 21.)


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