When the "House" cast members weren't enjoying the rides at the Santa Monica Pier this week — yes, that's Hugh Laurie in a bumper car in that photo on the right — they were dishing details left and right about the upcoming fourth season of the show. The actors, along with executive producer Katie Jacobs, spent their panel at the TCA press tour dribbling out information about who's leaving, who's changing, and who's coming back to Princeton-Plainsboro. They addressed the season finale's big cliffhanger and the addition of five new doctors — among other goodies. There's great stuff here, but beware of spoilers ahead if you
- "Everybody is back eventually," Jacobs said early in the panel. That was pretty obvious from the fact that Omar Epps, Jesse Spencer and Jennifer Morrison all were on the stage, but it was nice to have it confirmed.
- In the first episode, House will be trying to solve cases by himself. Cuddy will insist that House hire a new team, and eventually he relents and calls the 40 people whose resumes have piled up on his desk. Jacobs jokingly called it the show's version of "Survivor" and said House will give them running bibs and refer to them only by number — which explains why Olivia Wilde's character is named Thirteen.
- The supporting cast found out they'd all be leaving when the producers asked to talk to them over lunch one day. It was "a little bit like being called into the principal's office," Morrisson recalled.
- When the new season begins, Chase will be working at a hospital in Arizona, and Cameron will be with him. Foreman, meanwhile, will be running his own diagnostic department at Mercy Hospital.
- "I don't know if things ever will be the same," Spencer said, "because I'm going to be moving into a different area, and Jen is as well. The team is going to be different. And that's going to change the energy and the chemistry of the entire show. It kind of feels like we've got a new show."
- Laurie said the first three scripts of the season "are not only three of the best 'House' scripts I've ever read, they're three of the best scripts I've ever read."
- The five new actors each have deals that could potentially turn them into series regulars. They make their first appearance in the second episode of the season, and Jacobs threw out a few more details about some of them: Kal Penn will play a young doctor who has a cool procedure but doesn't necessarily know all the steps to getting there; Peter Jacobson's character is a plastic surgeon who's leaving plastics for a chance to work with House.
- Jacobs somewhat jokingly said she "may commit to a beautiful make-out scene for Cuddy."
- The post-Super Bowl episode will be a two-parter, and Jacobs said she doesn't think the show will do "anything wacky" to grab ratings.