Matt Mitovich over at TVLINE is asking the $175,000 question: Who should be cast as Gregory House's next boss and Dean of Medicine?
Sadly, many loyal [H]ouse fans no longer care but still it angers them that this discussion is even taking place. Fox and NBCU could have avoided this mess altogether. For seven years, they had the terrifically talented Lisa Edelstein who was hands-down the best person for the role as House's boss, Dean of Medicine and longtime friend/colleague/adversary and then they lost her. I can't say given the change in character (which is odd considering Shore continuously beats us over the head with the idea that people don't change) plus the serious negotiation issues (likely related to salary and screentime among other things), that I blame Lisa for leaving the series. It's no secret that since Season 6, Cuddy's character seemed to be weaker for reasons yet unknown to millions of [H]ouse fans and in Season 7, Shore wrote House and Cuddy into a corner with no way out.
Now TPTB find themselves in the position of having to hire someone to replace Lisa's presence but the looming question is, who? Can they find someone who:
1) is a worthy adversary of House and can go toe-to-toe with him?
2) has the same dynamic with both House and Wilson?
3) is a strong captivating presence on screen and gets fans interested enough to forget whose shoes that person is trying to fill?
4) can be that influence and force in House's life that he needs which Cuddy has been for co many years?
5) is willing to give up the opportunity to land a better role elsewhere in exchange for signing on for approximately 18 episodes and a salary of less than $175,000 per episode (Lisa's salary) to appear in a series that has lost ratings and viewers and is in its final season?
The answer to these questions is, in my opinion, a resounding "No".
One of the many things that made the dynamic of House and Cuddy so great was the close personal friendship and on-screen chemistry between Hugh and Lisa. They gave those characters life and their scenes, even with mediocre writing recently, were nothing short of amazing. In addition, there's the long history of House and Cuddy going all the way back to their college days and because they know each other so well inside and out it has always been an important foundation for their relationship both personally and professionally. There is a reason Cuddy is the only person who could ever reign House in and keep him grounded. There is a reason that House, despite his misery, snark and sarcasm was always able to get through to Cuddy and push her to be a better doctor and Dean.
I'd say the task of replacing her character is easier said than done. The weak writing of Lisa Edelstein's character in Seasons 6 and 7 makes one wonder what they will do to her replacement. Also, who would want to be the person who replaces Cuddy? She was a beloved character portrayed by an equally beloved actress. Who would want to step into that role in the final season of the series?