Category: House

'House' will be declared fit to return for eighth season

HOUSE

Dr. Gregory House will continue to see patients next fall.

Fox has struck a one-year deal with Universal Media Studios to bring the quirky medical drama that stars Hugh Laurie back for an eighth season, the network said Tuesday.

Ratings for "House" have fallen this season. Through last week, "House" is averaging 10.3 million viewers. Last season, its average audience was 12.6 million. Its ratings among adults 18-49 is also off 20%, according to Nielsen.

Still, "House" is a key part of Fox's schedule and since none of its new dramas this season really took off, keeping the show around for at least one more year was important.

"House" is also one of Fox's most expensive shows and one of the delays in getting a new deal done was the network's desire to lower the license fee it pays for the show. Fox is said to have been able to get the cost per episode down to the neighborhood of $5 million.

-- Joe Flint

Photo: Hugh Laurie as House. Credit: Fox.

'House' recap: Pick your poison

Boxer Meet Wendy Lee, destroyer of worlds. First-class weapons designer, she seizes after successfully demonstrating a missile that can pulverize a two-foot-wide target from 69,000 feet.

If you live by the sword, you might not die by the sword. But your choice of boyfriends might undo you.

Dr. Lee (Linda Park) lies in agony, bleeding from nearly every orifice while the team spitballs: brain tumor, CNS bleed, poisoning, stress-related disorder, acute pancreatitis due to alcoholism (her bedroom closet looks like a dumpster behind a fraternity). She collects empty liquor bottles for a friend’s art projects, she explains. Yes, and Osama Bin Laden was living in a cave.

The team won’t get help from House on this one. He’s too distracted shooting up what looks like heroin (he dilutes a white powder with liquid, toasts it in a spoon over an open burner), but we find out later it makes Vicodin look like Junior Mints.

Second, House becomes convinced a young boxer, Foley (Kevin Phillips), has a medical condition that has resulted in his losing his previous five bouts (and costing House $50 in a bet with Wilson). He didn’t throw the fight, Foley tells House. He’s just a terrible boxer. House diagnoses the young man with anisocoria (unequal size of the pupils), which may be linked to intermittent tachycardia (rapid heart rate), which leads him to believe the man has Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome.

Nope. And it’s not sympathetic overdrive, either.

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'House' writers' room: Hitting the jackpot

Rift Co-executive producer Eli Attie wrote Monday's episode of "House," called "Changes," with a story assist from Seth Hoffman. Here's the behind-the-scenes skinny from Attie:

Talk a bit about collaborating on this episode. You and Seth Hoffman wrote the story, but you wrote the teleplay. How does that work?

EA: The initial idea for the patient in "Changes" -- a lottery winner trying to turn his miserable life around, to end up something other than a destitute, drug-addled cliche -- was Seth's.  He'd picked up on something that ("House" creator) David Shore has always been very interested in, a fairly well-known happiness study from the 1970s that showed that within a year, both lottery winners and paralyzed accident victims are about as happy as they were to begin with. Then Seth and I worked together to develop all of the story threads, and we co-wrote several drafts of a very detailed outline -- a lot of sitting in a room together, brainstorming, arguing, and most importantly procrastinating. Seth's responsible for a lot of great stuff in the episode.  But he'd already started co-writing Episode 22 and couldn't do both, so I wrote the actual teleplay -- the scenes, the dialogue -- by myself.  Though "by myself" really means "with David Shore," who oversaw it and made it better and funnier at every turn.

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'House' recap: As luck would have it

Donal The themes this week are love, loss and luck. Oh, and betrayal. Can't forget betrayal.

Cyrus, a lottery winner (a stroke of good luck), is searching for his lost love (aided by his faithful sidekick, cousin Phil), a woman named Jennifer with whom he had a fling 23 years before. Sure, it's romantic, until Cyrus (always terrific Donal Logue) collapses (a plain old stroke?). Before you can say "HMO, PPO or cash?," he's resting uncomfortably at PPTH with leg paralysis.

He's a former appliance repairman, so Chase and Foreman search his former workshop seeking toxins and things that go bump in the night. The two begin an odd joust: Chase says he's saving himself for Ms. Right, (look, up in the sky –- yes, it's pigs on the wing!), and says that Foreman is a bundle of stress. The latter claim results in Foreman spending the next 40 minutes, give or take, hooked to a blood pressure monitor.

Meanwhile, Cuddy's mom, Arlene (Candice Bergen) is threatening to sue PPTH. (When we last saw Arlene, House and Cuddy were breaking every rule to save her life after her artificial hip went out of joint.) After Arlene's hip re-replacement, she can barely get around, so Cuddy offers to open her home to her while she recuperates. But an Ali-Frazier fight breaks out, and Arlene pulls out a lawyer. She wants 30 grand to make it all disappear. 

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'House' writers' room: The cut of Masters' jib

Jib Co-executive producers Liz Friedman and David Foster talk about "Last Temptation," this week's episode of "House."

This week we get to see Masters at home: her bedroom, her morning routine, her roommate, etc. How did you come up with her the paper airplanes, chanting the anatomical parts, etc.?

We wanted something in her room that represented Masters’ background as a mathematician. We thought of paper airplanes because of the semi-famous paper airplane contest at MIT, where students use all of their considerable engineering knowledge to see who can build the best airplane. As for chanting the anatomical parts, it seemed right that Masters would wake up every day ready for action and immediately start preparing for the challenges ahead. Masters isn’t just smart, she’s also incredibly driven.

Please talk a bit about putting Masters through the ultimate ethical dilemma, the one that really forced her hand to break the rules.

We wanted to put Masters in a situation where following the rules was clearly going to lead to a disastrous outcome. And we liked that the same drive and ambition which draws Masters to the patient initially are what put these two women at odds later in the story. The patient is committed to her sail, to the point that she’s risking her life. Which creates a conflict for Masters: do what’s considered ethical and let the patient (in all likelihood) kill herself or follow House’s lead, break the rules and save the girl.  House has been trying to get Masters to break the rules since she started, she’s resisted at every turn, we knew it’d take an extraordinary situation for her to finally give in.

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'House' recap: A cock and bull story

Greet“I manipulated, lied, forged, stole,” Martha M. Masters (3M) confesses. She also saved the life of a young Patient of the Week. Little Miss Goody Two Shoes has traded in the penny loafers for a pair of jackboots.

Thirteen returns to the open arms of the team on the day that happens to be 3M’s last in med school. Surprisingly, House has posted an opening for an intern, prompting 3M to choose between working with House’s diagnostic team or beginning her surgical internship.

Enter patient Kendall Pearson, 16, who wants to become the youngest person to sail around the world. When she falls on her boat while prepping for her trip, it’s all hands on deck at PPTH. It’s not dehydration, nor is it a seizure, but she hit her back, which means it could be damaged adrenal glands.

Thirteen and 3M draw blood, but the expert sailor still plans on beginning her trip in a few days and wants to know if there’s a way to rush the test results. 3M suggests putting her on a treadmill, to stress her body to see if her adrenals respond.

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'House' writers' room: Lucky Thirteen and the big house

"House" supervising producers Sara Hess and David Hoselton talk to Show Tracker about "The Dig," Monday's episode.

Martini Olivia Wilde (Thirteen) took a hiatus to make some movies. Thirteen’s cover story was that she was entering Huntington’s testing in Rome. In writing her back into the show, why choose a prison stint?

SH: Thirteen’s cover story was very quickly discovered to be a lie. The prison stint was an idea that came out of the writers’ room … as soon as it was pitched, we could all see the teaser and how the story could start. Then it was David’s and my job to figure out how we could use that beginning to tell the most interesting story and reveal something about who Thirteen really is. 

I’ve seen about 80% of the episodes since Season 1, but I don’t ever recall Thirteen mentioning a sibling. Was he invented for purposes of the plot?

SH: Not exactly. She’s never mentioned a sibling before, but internally we had actually been pitching around the idea of a brother for a while now, in conjunction with various possible stories. Thirteen doesn’t voluntarily reveal much about herself, so it was perfectly plausible to us that she’d have kept this hidden. 

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'House' recap: You only hurt the one you spud

Spudgun When we last saw Thirteen, her cover story was that she was entering Huntington’s drug trials in Rome. Pants on fire!

Yes, yes, in real life she was busy with her movie career ("Tron: Legacy," "Cowboys & Aliens,") but when this week’s episode opens,  Thirteen (Olivia Wilde) is being picked up by House outside a women’s state prison. Something tells me she fared much better in the Big House than Foreman, Taub and Chase did earlier this season during their one night in county lockup. I can see her now: trading cigarettes for a contraband cellphone, breaking up catfights by weeding hanks of hair out of unfortunate scalps, fashioning a shiv.

House has an ulterior motive for driving Miss Hadley. He’s en route to an annual spud gun contest and needs her help. What is a spud gun contest? Just like it sounds: A contest in which participants fashion homemade guns to shoot potatoes at targets for accuracy, speed and hang time … evidently, it’s what the great minds of this country channel their intellect into. I guess it was either that or ending our dependence on petroleum-based fuels.

Oh, the B story, our patient of the week: schoolteacher, mid-30s, chest pains, coughing up blood. Taub and Foreman visit the teacher’s home and discover he’s a 33rd Degree Hoarder, complete with a dead cat in the freezer. Think grandma’s attic. Now take that attic and turn it upside down and shake it like a Polaroid picture. With all the rotting food in the house, the team pitches aspergillosis, which is a lung ailment caused by inhaling mold spores.

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'House' writers' room: Talking about love and death and this week's episode

Supervising Producer John Kelley wrote Monday's episode of "House," titled "Fall From Grace." He took some time to answer questions about the episode. 

Ferris Bueller (Dan or whatever his name is) tells a lot of anecdotes: stint in rehab, dad burned him as a kid (with cigarettes?), that he had been a scholarship student and intended to become a doctor, that he nearly beat his girlfriend to death. Something happened to make him into the monster he is. Which stories, besides “I’ve done some evil things,” are we supposed to believe?

Wedding JK: Like all good liars, our patient never strayed very far from the actual truth. Almost everything he told our team was true -- the major exceptions being his real name and the story about his girlfriend in college. In the real version, her roommate didn’t arrive in time to save her life.

Regarding the casting of “Joan of Arcadia’s” Christopher Marquette as our POTW -- was that in the works a while? Did you watch old “Joan” eps, to gauge the chemistry those two characters had?

JK: Don’t tell Amber Tamblyn, but I’ve never seen an episode of “Joan of Arcadia.” The truth is... I had never heard of Christopher Marquette before we cast him. He earned the role the old fashioned way, by giving an incredible performance when he auditioned. I didn’t even realize they knew each other until the first day on set. It also turns out Chris is old friends with Karolina Wydra, the actress who played House’s new wife. The guy really gets around a lot. 

 House seems to have gone from an AdultCon hedonistic bender (sex, drugs, etc.) to adolescent slacker (model helicopters, monster trucks, ping pong, etc.), at least this week. Why? 

JK: Last week he pampered himself.  This week he attempted to have “fun.” All of these activities could be considered mindless distractions. House’s way of avoiding the emotional trauma/fallout from his breakup with Cuddy.  What really has me worried... What will House do when he runs out of distractions?

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'House' recap: The unusual suspect

Pedi Patient of the week is a 23-year-old homeless guy who goes by the name Ferris Bueller, when he’s not throwing other aliases at people. He’s brought to PPTH because some kids accidentally set him on fire when a model rocket launch goes horribly wrong. Houston, we have a problem.

Burns on his arm are the least of his problems. Seared flesh smells like licorice to him. Baby powder smells like rotting meat. Body odor like peppermint. His chest and back are also covered with what appears to be burns. He and his dad, he explains, didn’t get along.

House, however, is more concerned with this week’s toys: a Segway, plastic helicopters, ping-pong table, a real monster truck that takes up four handicapped parking spots and a fiancée named Dominika. Yeah, you read that right: House is engaged to marry a woman of foreign descent for green card purposes. It difficult to say which toy annoys Cuddy most (the helicopter, after all, knocks over a vase of flowers).

Wilson is alarmed (that is, after all, his middle name) but House explains that he’s drawn up an air-tight prenup (note to those recently engaged: air-tight prenups exist only on TV shows). House figures he’s getting a live-in maid, massage therapist, cook and you-know-what in the bedroom. He’s done the math: Oughta save him $33K per year.

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'House' writers' room: Shooting the bull

RiderExecutive Producer Tommy Moran and Consulting Producer Larry Kaplow wrote Monday's episode of "House," titled "Out of the Chute." Below, they chat about writing the episode, and working on the show in general:

The opening of “Out of the Chute” is as good an opening as “House” has ever had, in that it’s highly dramatic and certainly doesn’t fall into “The person you least expect to collapse is about to collapse” category. It was masterfully directed by  Sanford Bookstaver.  It had a theatrical film quality about it. How difficult was it to film? How did you feel about the final result?

 TM: The opening, thank you by the way, was very difficult in the sense that it was a massive undertaking necessitating practically every light available for rent in Southern California in order to shoot at 1,600 frames per second wild animals that can, will and probably wanted to kill the stunt person we’d hired to ride them. But it was not very difficult in the sense that we had a fantastic director, an extremely experienced crew, one of the best DP’s in the business (Gale Tattersall), and the best bull-riding tech advisor in the business, who supplied us with actual bulls and stunt riders from the PBR circuit. Sandy shot the entire teaser in one day, which is truly remarkable, and I was ecstatic with the results.

LK:Gale (DP Gale Tattersall) joked that we were going to need so much light to film the bulls in super slow motion we were going to have roast beef for lunch. Though of course we took every precaution with these rough beasts so you can’t sue any of us. For anything. Sandy did an amazing job and brought so many great ideas to the table –- like capturing the bull’s testicles moving in slow motion. That was all Sandy. We have an amazing art department and production team. Garrett and Marcy basically give us whatever we write. Monday’s episode is a good example of a pretty ambitious teaser. I thought it looked great.

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‘House’ recap: Cannonball run

Skirt After Cuddy dropped House last week like a handful of Vicodin, our hero takes immediate action: He checks himself into an expensive hotel and hires a series of hookers (sorry: high-class call girls) who make the Sports Illustrated swimsuit models look like girl scouts. A bottle of booze, a couple of pills and thou.

Meanwhile, his Patient of the Week is riding a raging bull (literally: the guy is a professional bull rider on the circuit). Lane stays on for the full eight seconds, but after the ride, freezes in the ring, giving the bull the opportunity to treat him like a pinata.

Lane’s list of injuries is like keeping up with Charlie Sheen’s Twitter feed: ruptured diaphragm, cracked sternum, broken nose, partial hearing loss, low-grade fever, neurological disorder, nausea, muscle weakness, Adonis DNA. … Wait, that last bit is from Sheen’s Twitter feed. Sorry.

In addition, he’s had so many on-the-job injuries, he’s being held together with chewing gum and baling wire.

At this point, Martha M. Masters (3M) discovers that House was/is a Vicodin addict. The “secret” comes out because the team has to conference call House in the hotel’s bathroom, where he and a brunet of certain repute are scrubbing each other’s backs. The team gives Lane a balance test for what may be an inner-ear problem, but he passes with flying colors. The colors are mainly shades of red, as his mouth fills with blood. 3M is quite taken by the young man. In fact, for the rest of the episode, she fumbles around him like a schoolgirl meeting Justin Bieber.

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