Lisa Edelstein — whose long-term contract expires this month — has opted not to return for the show’s eighth and likely final season.
In a statement, the actress says, “After much consideration, I am moving onward with a combination of disappointment at leaving behind a character I have loved playing for seven years and excitement of the new opportunities in acting and producing that lie ahead.”
Fox and NBC Universal declined to comment.
Back in March — when the future of House itself was up in the air — Edelstein told TVLine, “Nobody at work seems to think it won’t [return]. Everybody wants to come to a deal, and I certainly am looking forward to a Season 8.”
In an interview last week with BlogCritics.org, exec producer Katie Jacobs said she would “not rest” until Edelstein was on board for an eighth season. “Lisa is such a valuable member [of the cast],” she said. “I challenge any other actress on TV to do what she does seemingly effortlessly. She goes between drama, comedy, intelligence, sex appeal… It’s certainly not my plan or David’s plan or the creative team’s plan to not have Lisa in the show.”
There’s talk Edelstein was a victim of belt-tightening at the show. In the aforementioned interview, Jacobs acknowledged that, “For seven seasons we managed to avoid getting the phone call to make cuts in our budget. But now we’re getting that call.” Perhaps she rejected a low-ball offer — hence her disappointment?
Earlier this month, Edelstein’s costars Robert Sean Leonard and Omar Epps inked new deals to return to the show. Hugh Laurie, Olivia Wilde and Peter Jacobson were already contracted for the recrently-greenlit Season 8, leaving Jesse Spencer as the only remaining question mark.
The news comes a week before the show’s current season — arguably Edelstein’s meatiest yet — comes to a close. It’s unclear if the finale sets the stage for a possible Cuddy departure, but that seems highly unlikely.
Thoughts? Stunned speechless? If you’re capable of forming a coherent thought during this emotional time, hit the comments!