As is typical with network television pilots, the initial concept for Fox’s enormously popular medical drama House underwent many permutations before finally making it to the small screen. Attentive viewers will recall that when the pilot first debuted, the full title was House M.D. This was intended to better convey the show’s essential structure as a medical procedural, as opposed to, say, a forensic procedural, police procedural, military procedural, legal procedural, military-legal procedural, historical procedural, or any of the other countless procedurals that now constitute 95 percent of television network drama.
What is not commonly known, however, is that for much of its incubation period, House wasn’t a medical drama at all. Well before the pilot episode was even filmed, the concept for House had gone through several substantial, even radical changes. In fact, the very profession of the title character was in flux from the first pitch meetings. Only after a long and difficult process of rewriting did Gregory House find his home at Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital.
What follows is a collection of script excerpts from earlier versions of the House pilot.
“HOUSE, HEATING AND PLUMBING CONTRACTOR”
INT. RESIDENTIAL BATHROOM–DAY
GREGORY HOUSE, Heating and Plumbing Contractor,
addresses three of his apprentice workers in a
cramped suburban bathroom. Listening attentively
are ERIC FOREMAN, attractive and ambitious; ALLISON CAMERON, attractive and earnest; and ROBERT
CHASE, attractive and arrogant. After INTRO CREDITS, we CUT to the scene, in media res. . . .
. . . so remember, …