All season long, the prognosis has been "not good." With actor contracts expiring, production costs increasing, and the typical burnout long-running shows face, House has been on its last legs. And today, Fox, Fox president Kevin Reilly, and House executive producers David Shore, Katie Jacobs, and Hugh Laurie announced in a joint statement that the current season of the medical drama, its eighth, will be its last.
In the statement, they say (and I'm paraphrasing here) that it's better to go out before the tank completely runs dry rather than milk it until the show limps to the end. While some could argue that House has already passed the point of being able to continue with quality stories, you have to respect them for knowing that Season 9 would probably be a bad idea.
Here's the statement in its entirety:
After much deliberation, the producers of House M.D. have decided that this season of the show, the 8th, should be the last. By April this year they will have completed 177 episodes, which is about 175 more than anyone expected back in 2004.
The decision to end the show now, or ever, is a painful one, as it risks putting asunder hundreds of close friendships that have developed over the last eight years - but also because the show itself has been a source of great pride to everyone involved.
Since it began, House has aspired to offer a coherent and satisfying world in which everlasting human questions of ethics and emotion, logic and truth, could be examined, played out, and occasionally answered. This sounds like fancy talk, but it really isn’t. House has, in its time, intrigued audiences around the world in vast numbers, and has shown that there is a strong appetite for television drama that relies on more than prettiness or gun play.
But now that time is drawing to a close. The producers have always imagined House as an enigmatic creature; he should never be the last one to leave the party. How much better to disappear before the music stops, while there is still some promise and mystique in the air.
The producers can never sufficiently express their gratitude to the hundreds of dedicated artists and technicians who have given so generously of their energy and talent to make House the show it has been - and perhaps will continue to be for some time, on one cable network or another.
The makers of House would also like to thank Fox Broadcasting and Universal Television for supporting the show with patience, imagination and large quantities of good taste. The Studio-As-Evil-Adversary is one of the many clichés that House has managed to avoid, and for that the cast and crew are deeply grateful.
Lastly, the audience: some have come and some have gone, obviously. This is to be expected in the life of any show. But over the course of the last eight years, the producers of House have felt immensely honored to be the subject of such close attention by an intelligent, discriminating, humane and thoughtful - not to mention numerous - audience. Even the show's detractors have been flattering in their way. Making the show has felt like a lively and passionate discussion about as many different subjects as could possibly be raised in 177 hours. The devotion and generosity of our viewers has been marvelous to behold.
So, finally, everyone at House will bid farewell to the audience and to each other with more than a few tears, but also with a deep feeling of gratitude for the grand adventure they have been privileged to enjoy for the last eight years. If the show lives on somewhere, with somebody, as a fond memory, then that is a precious feat, of which we will always be proud.
What do you think: Is now a good time to go out? Is it too soon? Or too late? Lupus?
Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom