With the ink barely dry on an agreement between Universal Media Studios and FOX to renew House, M.D. for an eighth season, I had the opportunity earlier this week to catch up with series executive producer Katie Jacobs. Jacobs acknowledged by phone that agreement was “quite a hurdle, and it’s not over yet.”
With not everyone yet signed for Season 8, “all the pieces necessary to live up to what I think this show can be next season are not quite in place.” But she is also hopeful that everything will be “any moment.”
It’s been widely reported that Lisa Edelstein has not yet signed on for next season. But Jacobs is committed to “giving it my all” to sign the actress, who plays Dean of Medicine Dr. Lisa Cuddy. Jacobs agrees that Edelstein is a crucial piece of House’s (and House’s) world.
“Lisa is such a valuable member [of the cast]. I challenge any other actress on TV to do what she is so—does so, you know, seemingly effortlessly. She goes between drama, comedy, intelligence, sex appeal… It’s certainly not my plan or David’s plan or the creative team’s plan to not have Lisa in the show, and I can just say that I will not rest until I figure it out.”
But signing contracts with the network and the actors is just the start. “In terms of getting ahead of the storytelling” (which is where they need to be by the time they start shooting later this summer), there is much, much more to do. Until all the actors are on board and they know exactly what they are dealing with as far as budget and cast, it’s harder to sit down and plan out the season. And until negotiations with Edelstein are concluded, Jacobs is missing a very important piece of the Season 8 story. “When you don’t have a deal done, you can’t then go and do your job, which is to make the creative right. “If I know how much I have or don’t have, I can’t even begin to do my job.”
Although the series usually begins production in July, this year they’re starting a bit later—in August. A lot of fans read this news to mean the series would be airing later in the year, and not premiere, as it usually does, in September. According to Jacobs, “It was a personal request from [series star] Hugh Laurie, who very rarely makes personal requests. That’s why, I think, if he’s going to make one, he’s certainly entitled to it.” Laurie is releasing a Blues album, Let Them Talk this summer (it’s already out in Europe). He’s been touring Europe in connection with the release, and then he’s also filming a movie, Mr. Pip.