'House' ending after this season: Producers, FOX decide to pull the plug

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house-transplant.jpg "House" will have its series finale at the end of this season, coming to a close after eight years on the air at FOX.

Creator David Shore, star-executive producer Hugh Laurie and fellow EP Katie Jacobs say in a statement that the show will end after 177 episodes -- "about 175 more than anyone expected back in 2004."

"The producers have always imagined House as an enigmatic creature; he should never be the last one to leave the party. How much better to disappear before the music stops, while there is still some promise and mystique in the air," the statement reads.

"The producers can never sufficiently express their gratitude to the hundreds of dedicated artists and technicians who have given so generously of their energy and talent to make 'House' the show it has been -- and perhaps will continue to be for some time, on one cable network or another."

FOX Entertainment president Kevin Reilly said at January's TCA session that he and Shore had discussed bringing "House" to a close, but the decision hadn't been made yet. Announcing the end now, though, will let Shore and his fellow writers bring the show to a definite end.

"For eight seasons, the entire 'House' team has given us -- and fans around the world -- some of the most compelling characters and affecting stories ever seen on television," Reilly says. "They have been creatively tenacious and collaborative throughout this incredible run, and they are amongst the most superior talents in the business. For all the above, we wholeheartedly thank them and the fans who have supported the show."

"House" premiered to strong reviews but meager ratings in the fall of 2004, but it took off later that season with "American Idol" as a lead-in. It finished in the Top 25 in viewers in each of its first six seasons (and in the Top 10 three of those years) before tailing off some in the past two years. This season it's averaging about 9.1 million viewers per week and a 3.5 rating among adults 18-49.

Laurie has earned six Emmy nominations and won two Golden Globes for playing the cantankerous title character. The show has won five Emmys over the course of its run.

What do you think of the announcement? Are you happy the show will get to go out in style, or do you want more?

Photo/Video credit: FOX