In what is perhaps bad news for fans of medical mysteries, Fox has decided not to renew House M.D. for a ninth season.
While the ratings for the show have slipped a bit lately, they are not worrisome. The producers of the show, which include star Hugh Laurie, decided to end the long, successful drama because they feel the show, and its story, will have run its course at the end of this season.
As a fan of the show myself, I personally have to admit that I agree. The character of Gregory House has been analyzed and deconstructed as fully as he can be, and it’ll be interesting to see how they choose to end the story, especially since they have enough warning to end it the way they want.
This might be good news for sci-fi fans, however, as it opens up room in Fox’s prime-time schedule, something the network will need if it wants to keep more of the genre show’s they’ve introduced. The network already has Fringe and Terra Nova, and they’ve just introduced us to Touch and Alcatraz, both mid-season starters, the former of which, we’ve only seen the first episode of during last month’s special presentation.
Before the cancellation of House, there would only have been room to keep two of those shows into next season, meaning we would’ve likely lost the two with the lowest ratings. Right now, that’s Terra Nova and Fringe. With the loss of House, there is room to keep one of those two.
Just looking at the ratings, Terra Nova is the more popular between those two, but it’s also the more expensive to produce by far, so which one the network will keep - assuming another prime time drama doesn’t drop off of the schedule before then - remains unclear.
Fringe has a dedicated fan base, and is well-liked by critics, but there are rumors that Fox is currently in talks with the producers of Fringe to see if the costs of the show can be reduced.
Meanwhile Terra Nova fans have seen the writing on the wall. After the critical and ratings successes of Touch and Alcatraz, they know their new favorite show is in danger, and have already begun a campaign to save it, which includes sending plastic dinos to Fox headquarters despite that Fox has not announced or even indicated that the show is in danger.
Alcatraz airs Monday nights, while Touch hasn’t yet begun its regular season. The final episode of House M.D. will air later this spring.