You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Deadline nears on Fox-NBCU talks for ‘House’

Network, studio in last-minute negotiations

There is a distinct possibility Fox could be arriving at the May upfronts without its longtime hit drama “House.”

The network remains in last-minute negotiations with Universal Media Studios, which owns the series, in hopes of signing a new deal for an eighth season. The two sides are far apart in determining the percentage each will pay for the show’s costs.

UMS, owned by NBCUniversal, has given Fox an extension on the window of negotiation exclusivity. That ends Friday. If the two sides can’t come to an agreement, UMS will offer the show to competing networks including, of course, the Peacock, which would likely be more than happy to take the series away from Fox.

Another problem for both sides is that several cast members aren’t signed up. While UMS will exercise the options for Hugh Laurie and Olivia Wilde, castmates Robert Sean Leonard, Omar Epps and Lisa Edelstein are unsigned for a new season, and their deals would have to reupped.

Leonard has already committed to a Broadway revival of “Born Yesterday” that will coincide with the production of the new season of “House.” As with most fall shows, production is set to begin in summer, and Leonard will still be in Gotham.

Drama has been a staple of the Fox lineup for seven seasons, but ratings have been declining of late, possibly because of shifting timeslots.

One reason “House” has moved between Monday and Tuesday throughout its run is programming changes made after the writers strike. “House” has also shifted to serve as a lead-in for one-season skein “Standoff” and vacated its spot for “Hell’s Kitchen.”

It first moved back an hour from 8 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday in 2007. Then the series was moved to Monday in 2008, only to move back to Tuesday later that year — and then back to Monday in 2009.

“House” is averaging a 4.0 rating/11 share in adults 18-49 and 10.7 million viewers overall this season. Two years ago, the series was earning a 5.3/14 and 13.3 million viewers.

According to sources, UMS is looking for the same deal it has had with Fox for the show since the sides renegotiated before season five: The network pays for production plus a premium because the success of the series.

Given the falling viewer totals and the high cost of production and cast salaries — the latter is often the most expensive aspect of a series that has been on the air for seven seasons — Fox hopes to share some of those expenses with UMS.

When “House” began in 2004, Universal wasn’t affiliated with NBC, so the network didn’t have the first choice to buy it from the studio.

UMS and Fox would like to resolve the situation as soon as possible, especially with Fox entertainment topper Kevin Reilly needing to make decisions in the next week or two on pilot pickups. A schedule without “House” would clearly create difficulties that neither he nor the Fox executive team would have previously anticipated.

If a deal can get done between Fox and UMS for another season, negotiations with the actors will ensue. It could take weeks, if not months, for all parties to come to an agreement.

Also, showrunner and exec producer David Shore isn’t contractually onboard for an eighth season, and his deal would have be ironed out as well, assuming he wanted to continue. During a Friday conference call, he told reporters: “Fox wants have to have a season eight, and NBCUniversal wants them to have a season eight. I fully expect there to be a season eight, and we’re proceeding on that basis.”

More TV

  • Charmed -- "Let This Mother Out"

    'Charmed' Showrunner Exits, Craig Shapiro & Elizabeth Kruger Board Series

    The CW’s reboot of “Charmed” is changing showrunners. Variety has learned that Carter Covington has stepped down as showrunner on the series, which has already been renewed for a second season. Husband and wife team Craig Shapiro and Elizabeth Kruger have been brought on to helm the series going forward. Shapiro and Kruger are currently [...]

  • Apple TV Plus Reese Witherspoon Jennifer

    What We Know About 'Amazing Stories' And Other Shows Coming to Apple TV+

    Viewers got a sneak peek of upcoming shows coming to Apple TV+, Apple’s newly unveiled streaming service, during the company’s live-streamed event in Cupertino, Calif., on Monday. The stars and creators of the most highly anticipated projects like Steven Spielberg’s “Amazing Stories” and “The Morning Show” from Reese Witherspoon appeared on stage to reveal more [...]

  • WARNING: Embargoed for publication until 00:00:01

    Richard Gere Series 'MotherFatherSon' Sold to Multiple Territories

    BBC Studios, the British public broadcaster’s commercial arm, has announced a raft of territory sales for Richard Gere starrer “MotherFatherSon,” a drama series written by Tom Rob Smith, Emmy-nominated for “The Assassination of Gianni Versace.” The show will screen Tuesday at Series Mania, France, in the International Panorama section. Buyers for the eight-part thriller include [...]

  • TV News Roundup: Netflix Releases Trailer

    TV News Roundup: Netflix Releases Trailer for 'Special'

    In today’s roundup, Netflix releases a trailer for “Special,” and Wrestlemania’s main event will be a women’s match, a first in WWE history. FIRST LOOKS Netflix has released the trailer for its upcoming 15-minute comedy show “Special.” Ryan O’Connell stars in the semi-autobiographical series about life as a gay man with cerebral palsy. The series is [...]

  • Apple Event: Everything We Learned From

    Everything We Learned From Today's Apple Event

    After revealing new services in news, finance, and gaming, Apple CEO Tim Cook kept the biggest, most anticipated announcement until last. Cook, along with heads of worldwide video programming Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht, and a whole group of Apple’s creative talents, presented the company’s new Apple TV+ streaming service, which is slated to [...]

  • Lauren Whitney

    Miramax President of TV Lauren Whitney Exits to Join Spyglass Media Group

    Lauren Whitney, the president of television for Miramax, is leaving the company, Variety has learned. She will now become the president of television for Spyglass Media Group effective April 1. The news comes less than two years after Whitney first joined Miramax. There, she oversaw the studio’s television development, in addition to “Spy City,” produced by [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content