Gregory House is cynical, narcissistic and something of a misanthrope. His creator, David Shore, conversely is friendly, self-deprecating and unabashedly proud of his work on the veteran FOX drama that bears said character's name. The Emmy-winning writer/producer was on hand at the TCA Winter Press Tour last month where I managed to snag a few minutes of his day to talk about the show's next creative detour, his endless passion for television's most popular curmudgeon and even his revival of "The Rockford Files" for NBC.
Brian Ford Sullivan: You always seem to do one or two formula breaking episodes each season - can you talk about the next one down the pipe?
David Shore: We do a few of them [each year] and we don't even think, we're not like going, "Oh, how can we do [something different]?" We just do, "You know what, that's interesting, let's do that!" And you need the formula to break the formula and if you don't break it up enough it gets boring, if you break it all the time you don't have a show. You need some [kind of] touchtone. But we're doing, we had so much fun recently with the Wilson episode, where we follow him around, we're doing one where we follow Cuddy around. Then we're doing one directed by Hugh Laurie that there's kind of a lockdown in the hospital so there's sort of five little stories in the episode where people are just trapped in a place to confront issues, confront people and we're having fun with that one as well, and Hugh Laurie's going to direct that.
BFS: At year six is it hard finding new ways, new perspectives on how to tackle House's issues?
DS: That's a challenge, I wouldn't say it's hard. Yeah, it's hard in the sense that I get paid well to do it so I've got to say it's hard. [Laughs.] But I still find the character interesting, that's really the measure, that we come to a story and go, "What's interesting about this? What does this reveal about House? How can we utilize this for someone else?" If we find something we go with that chart, if we don't find something we don't go with the story.
BFS: Do you ever worry about reconciling things with the past, how House's journey lines up from year to year?
DS: We're aware of it, we try and be aware of it. It's not the be all end all. He is who he is and we're aware of who he is so we try and be real. We certainly don't do stories that are inconsistent with who the character is. [In terms of] specific facts, we try and be consistent with those but they're not that limiting. What's limiting, actually it's not limiting, what's inspiring, what we write off of is who the character is and what can we do with that. Certainly it's important to be consistent with that but it's not a problem.
BFS: Yesterday, [NBC's President of Primetime Entertainment] Angela Bromstad said that your "Rockford Files" script was the best Christmas present she's had in a long time.
DS: Well she doesn't celebrate Christmas apparently. [Laughs.] I enjoyed the script. They seem to have liked it but they could lie to you. [Laughs.] They very well might have.
BFS: What about that show made you want to redo it for the 21st century?
DS: I just liked it. I watched it when I was a kid, I watched it long before I was thinking about getting into this industry. It was a character way ahead of its time. He's no longer way ahead of its time but he's of the time. They were so far ahead of their time that it still works now.
"House" airs Mondays at 8:00/7:00c on FOX.