So what happens if Universal Media Services (UMS) and Fox were not able to come to terms by midnight last night regarding the status of Fox’s hit series House, M.D.? Variety reported that as of Thursday night, both sides were far apart on terms for a new contract that would bring House back to Fox for an eighth season. It appears that no deal had been reached, by the deadline’s passage late Friday night.
It’s been reported UMS has been seeking the same terms it’s had in the current contract, negotiated before the series’ fifth season. FOX argues, according to Variety, that due to a decline in ratings, the network wants a reduction in its what it pays to air the medical series starring Hugh Laurie. If no deal had been reached by the end of Friday’s negotiation session, Universal believes it would be free to air the show on one of its own networks; Fox disputes that assertion, saying that the contract it has with Universal doesn’t allow it. Universal’s networks include USA Network, Bravo on cable, and of course its flagship peacock, NBC.
In the meantime, the network only has commitments for an eighth season from star Hugh Laurie and Olivia Wilde, who plays Remy Hadley. Both actors have options in their existing contracts that would obligate them for next season. Other series regulars, including Robert Sean Leonard (Wilson), Lisa Edelstein (Cuddy) do not have contracts beyond the current season, which ends in May. Leonard is currently bound for Broadway, which is by all accounts his first love.
If House comes back for an eighth season, deals will still need to be worked out with most of the supporting actors as well as David Shore, whose contract with UMS expires the end of this season. In a conference call last week with television journalists, Shore noted that both FOX and Universal both want an agreement, and he is moving forward with plans as if it will happen.
According to Deadline Hollywood, the Friday night deadline was set by the parties; it is non-binding, and they can continue negotiating until a deal is struck. The real deadline comes with next month’s “Upfonts,” held to each May to showcase the fall lineup for advertisers. It is also when the networks announce their fall lineups. The FOX “upfront” is scheduled for May 16, as is NBC’s.
If the parties cannot come to an agreement, one of several things may happen: the show moves to an NBC network, where it’s already heavily syndicated on both USA Network and Bravo, or the season seven finale will be the series finale. As of Sunday evening as I write this, there has been no public word on the state of negotiations.
So what do you think will happen? Will House be back next season on FOX? Will it move to another network? Or will Season 7 be the end for Dr. House? Or…?
Scheduling note to my readers: Due to the Passover holiday, which begins tomorrow evening, my regular review of House will be delayed until Wednesday evening. Unfortunately, I’ve had no access to a screener for “Last Temptation,” so please do not read my silence as disinterest. I’ll be back Wednesday with my “Last Temptation” review, and will tweet when it’s up. To all of my Jewish readers around the world, I wish you all a wonderful Z’man Cheiruteinu (season of our freedom) and a lovely Pesach season!