February 8, 2012

THE SKED: “House” For Sale

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Written by: Mitch Salem
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Today FOX and the producers of HOUSE jointly announced that this 8th season will be its last.  There’s nothing particularly shocking about this–ratings were down significantly from last year, and the show is expensive to produce and would likely have gotten more so (both Hugh Laurie and creator David Shore were at the end of their deals and would have had to be renegotiated).  The show will have the opportunity to go out with a real “ending,” since there’s some time before the season’s final episodes will have to be filmed.  

The question now is what this vacancy on next year’s schedule means for FOX’s other bubble dramas, the new TERRA NOVA, ALCATRAZ and THE FINDER.  None of them has been a breakout hit (Alcatraz was looking fairly strong until it got smacked by The Voice on Monday), and all have pluses and minuses on a business level.  Terra Nova is hugely expensive, and since special effects and action are its main selling points, it can’t be made much cheaper–on the other hand, FOX owns the show, and it has promise internationally and in ancillary sales.  Alcatraz, as noted, has until this week been somewhat more impressive in the ratings–but it’s owned by Warner Bros, which has a deal with J.J. Abrams, and thus the upside is limited for FOX as an overall corporation.  And The Finder provides a franchise companion for Bones that could come in handy as the older show starts to get expensive itself–but it’s showing little strength, even with American Idol as a lead-in. 
The guess here is that if Alcatraz can recover a few tenths from its walloping this week, it comes back, Finder doesn’t return, and FOX talks itself into another 13 episodes of Terra Nova.  But what do you think?  Prescribe FOX’s cure below…

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."