Producers are ready to shell out big bucks to keep their House in order.
After correctly diagnosing that, despite the recent Emmy snub, Hugh Laurie's Dr. Gregory House was 99.9 percent of what made 17.2 million viewers return to the Fox drama week after week this year, the network and NBC Universal have rewarded the British actor for his Golden Globe-winning ways.
Laurie will be pulling down between $275,000 and $300,000 per episode next season for his role as the sarcastic yet brutally honest doctor with a limp of gold, a substantial increase from his starting salary, which reportedly was in the mid-five figures.
House, which did garner an Emmy nod for Outstanding Drama Series, is Fox's second-biggest hit after American Idol, making Laurie a major player. According to Variety, this raise puts him at the deep end of the payday pool for drama series leads. (He's not in James Gandolfini territory yet, but there's enough to put a down payment on that London townhouse.)
Though Laurie is best known as a funnyman in his native Britain, starring in multiple editions of the cult hit Blackadder and the sketch comedy show A Bit of Fry and Laurie, his American-accented dramatic acting chops are seriously sharp. In his Emmy acceptance speech for Outstanding Writing last year, House creator David Shore praised Laurie "for making me look like a better writer than I am."
But being a talented comedian goes a long way. (And having piercing blue eyes doesn't hurt, either.)
"Hugh's comic timing absolutely fuels the show," Shore told the Los Angeles Times in September. "We can give him the most outrageous things to say and he says them and somehow they're dark but they're also very, very funny."
Shore would be right. The character of House, with his seriously sexy stubble, twisted sense of humor and irresistibly bruised soul, has been compared to Sherlock Holmes, replete with the requisite drug addiction and unfailingly brilliant powers of deduction.
The show has even spawned its own lingo, House-isms like "Everybody lies" and "Humanity is overrated"--acerbic and pessimistic phrases that audiences are eating up with a spoon.