House was one of Fox’s strongest shows for years and while the ratings are declining this season, it’s still a lucrative show. So why, then, is there no deal on the table for another season? Well, business and politics are to blame.
When the show first started out, the rights belonged to a little company called Universal. You may have heard of it. Then, NBC and Universal got together and created NBCUniversal, which has since been purchased by Comcast. Basically NBCUniversal now owns both the rights to House and — conveniently — an entire television network, NBC. Now, let’s couple this with the fact that Fox is shuffling its feet in final negotiations with NBCUniversal for the right to keep the show on their channel. If they don’t make a deal soon, this will force NBCUniversal to shop the show to other networks and guess what? Their own network — NBC, in case you haven’t been paying attention — is in dire need of a show that could draw a sizable fanbase, like House. Huh. Now, I wonder if NBCUniversal is going to change their offer to Fox when it would really benefit them to drive a hard bargain and take the show for themselves?
Also on the table are the actors’ futures. None of the principal actors — this includes Hugh Laurie, Robert Sean Leonard, Olivia Wilde, and Omar Epps — have deals on the table for further seasons. And as we reported yesterday, Robert Sean Leonard not only looks forward to moving back to New York, but he’s committed to a Broadway show through the summer (when House would start production). Nothing’s been decided yet, but any way you slice it, House and company are in a bit of a pickle. My guess is that the show will go on, but that unless Fox gets incredibly desperate (and they might for their lynchpin of a show), we’ll see the medical antics continue over at the Peacock instead. In the meantime, we’re in a bit of a Mad Men style stalemate which will leave the actors’ fates up in the air until the boys with all the money get their ducks in a row.