Fall TV Preview

Fall TV Mystery: Who'll Be House's New Boss?

It’s a job we wouldn’t wish on anyone in the medical community: lording over the brilliant if bullheaded Dr. Gregory House. And yet it is a position that must be filled, given that Fox’s House is heading into its next season sans Lisa Edelstein as Princeton Plainsboro’s Dean of Medicine, Dr. Lisa Cuddy. What sort of superior should the show introduce to keep House in check? Female, male? Prickly, hunky? We have some ideas….

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Series creator David Shore says the possibilities for picking Cuddy’s successor are “wide open…. Everything’s on the table” — promoting Wilson included. And yet we have the strong feeling that the writers won’t be able to resist the opportunity to shake things up with a brand-new boss person.

“It’s safe to say there’ll be new players next season. Some,” Shore told us. And with Edelstein gone and Olivia Wilde expected back only in measured doses (as Thirteen), “Yes, we would want to have a female presence, absolutely.”

So here are our picks, both femmes and fellas, to (try to) keep the House in order.

Stephen Fry | This Brit wit has before teamed with his BFF Hugh Laurie in the BBC’s A Bit of Fry & Laurie and ITV’s Jeeves and Wooster. He’s also familiar to Fox faithful from his intermittent gig as Dr. Gordon Wyatt on Bones. We could see Fry playing a Dean of Medicine with whom House strikes an instant connection — Wilson’s jealous, what? —  though Laurie might be tempted to slip out of his American accent now and again.

Janeane Garofalo | The sometime comedienne has been laboring to break into the TV drama biz, first on 24 and most recently on the short-lived Criminal Minds spin-off. On House, she could give as well as she gets, and probably with little to none of that palpable sexual tension viewers grew used to.

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Tim Roth | I’ll pretend for a second that I don’t know how these things work and propose that Roth’s Lie to Me character, the genius Dr. Cal Lightman, take the reins at PPTH, if only because he’ll be able to glean each and every time his world-class diagnostician is trying to dupe him.

Calista Flockhart | Now that Brothers & Sisters has retired to that wine cellar in the sky, she’s available. And we like the idea of her playing a Dean who on the surface comes across as Ally McBeal-style flighty — something that prompts House to dial down his game and let his guard down — when in actuality she’s playing him, being secretly as razor-sharp and cunning as the duplicitous doc.

Tom Welling | Another way to go in filling Cuddy’s shoes is by totally zagging and making House answer to some young whippersnapper. We see a scenario where the Smallville alum plays a suited-up, top-of-his-class Harvard grad who thinks he knows all there is to know about his primo new job, but is in for a rude awakening as to how things really work when one of your subordinates is a super… maniac.

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Keri Russell | Think Welling’s character, only… even prettier. Already a de facto member of the Fox family from her turn on last season’s Running Wilde — and beloved since her days as Felicity — she could play a preternaturally brilliant administrator who knocks ladies man Chase off his game as much as she professionally perturbs House.

Allison Janney | This bit of dreamcasting perhaps gets us most excited, the idea of TV’s erstwhile C.J. Cregg boarding the Fox drama as a no-nonsense Dean of Medicine who perhaps condones House’s envelope-tearing therapies a smidgen more than Cuddy did, yet nonetheless takes an almost sadistic delight in making him fight for his way. Janney is lethal with well-crafted banter and zingers, so seeing this four-time Emmy winner crackle in scenes with Laurie, a four-time nominee, would certainly elevate our pulse.

Who would you like to see fill the void on House?