The show takes place in the Mercer County area of New Jersey. In the opening credits, there are shots of various locations around the area of Princeton, Trenton, West Windsor, and Plainsboro, including Princeton University. The hospital, Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital, is based on a real hospital in Princeton, Princeton Hospital, the University Medical Center at Princeton. An Executive Producer and the director of the pilot episode, Bryan Singer, is from the area, and attended West Windsor-Plainsboro High School.
During Hugh Laurie's audition, producer David Shore told how Bryan Singer, one of the executive producers, said, "See, this is what I want; an American guy." Singer was completely unaware of the fact that Hugh Laurie is British.
Dr. Gregory House was based on Sherlock Holmes... but Holmes, in turn, was based on a Doctor that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle knew while studying medicine, Dr. Joseph Bell, whose specialty was diagnosis. The reference is pushed further when, In episode 11 of the fifth season, Wilson presents House with Joseph Bell's Manual Of the Operations of Surgery as a Christmas gift. When House's staff begin to wonder why he would throw away the expensive gift, an amused Wilson begins making up a story about House having a closeted infatuation with a patient named Irene Adler whom he will always consider to be "the one who got away". Irene Adler is a romantic interest of Sherlock Holmes.
On Inside the Actors Studio (1994), Hugh Laurie admitted that when he first read the script for House (which did not have the title of "House M.D." at the time) he believed that the character of Wilson was the lead. He just couldn't believe that a man such as House could be the star of the show.
Although the Diagnostic Medicine team deal with all types of diseases, House and his colleagues hold titles in various subspecialties: Dr. Foreman is a neurologist; Dr. Cameron is an immunologist/allergist; Dr. Chase is an intensivist; Dr. Taub is a plastic surgeon; Dr. Kutner specializes in sports medicine; Dr. Hadley (Thirteen)is an internist. As for Dr. House, he is double-certified in infectious disease and nephrology (as mentioned in episode #1.3).
Dr. Robert Chase (Jesse Spencer) is an intensivist, a doctor who specializes in intensive care. This specialty is new and uncommon in the United States, but well-established in Australia, where the character is from.
Hugh Laurie auditioned for the part of Dr. House via video shot in a hotel bathroom in Namibia, where he was shooting Flight of the Phoenix (2004). "It was the only place with enough light," the actor claimed.
The tagline "Humanity Is Overrated" was used in Finland. In November 2007 Pekka-Eric Auvinen shot eight people to death in a Finnish school and used the same phrase, after which the phrase was removed from the show's website.
After receiving his honorary doctorate in fine arts, TV satirist Stephen Colbert placed several pictures of other famous TV doctors who inspired him on the mantle-piece of his show's set. One of these is of Hugh Laurie as Dr. Gregory House. The others are Bill Cosby as Dr. Cliff Huxtable and Noah Drake from General Hospital. As a response, the creators of House placed a picture of Colbert on the desk of Gregory House in the show's 5th season, that can be seen from time to time. Due to both Laurie's show winning an Emmy over Colbert's, and because Laurie received an OBE (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) while Colbert did not (nor could he, since he's not British), Colbert named House to his enemies list.
One of the movie posters on Wilson's office is Orson Welles' Touch of Evil (1958), where Orson Welles plays a detective with a gimp leg, who solves crimes purely on his intuition. Clearly one of the influences for the character of Dr. House.
Dr. House's most famous line "Everybody Lies" was in fact used by another doctor about a year and a half before the pilot episode, in another medical show, the sitcom Scrubs (2001). Dr. Bob Kelso says "Everybody lies, Dr. Turk" in the season 2 episode Scrubs: My New Old Friend (2003), after Dr. Turk fails to prevent an old lady to drive home because she said she was fine enough to drive and that she had to pick up her grand kids.
For the first season, Fox insisted that House must have some kind of enemy or someone telling him he couldn't behave like that. David Shore was hesitant about the idea, but ended up creating Chi McBride's character, Edward Vogler, but stating from the beginning that he was only going to be in five episodes, and then he would leave the show.
The show was inspired by The Diagnosis Column in the New York Times Magazine which spotlights unusual medical cases. Executive Producer Paul Attanasio came up with the concept and pitched it to the networks as a medical procedural. Creator David Shore revised the idea into a character drama where the medical cases became the instrument instead of the focus of the storytelling.
One of the promotional posters features Hugh Laurie wrapped in two snakes with a pair of wings behind him, a recreation of the Greek Caduceus symbol. Foreign fans might be confused by this, because the correct symbol is the rod of Asclepius, the healer, a similar symbol having only one coiled snake and no wings. However, within the US, the Caduceus is as commonly used as the more correct Rod of Asclepius, as its use was popularized around the turn of the century. As the Caduceus is actually the symbol of merchants and thieves, its use has long been a point of controversy and satirical humor within the US medical community.
Sándor Szakácsi, the Hungarian voice of Dr. House died in March 2007, he could only finish the dubbing of 11 episodes of the second season. As a tribute to him, the TV channel decided to use the unfinished work, therefore in the first half of episode 12 of season 2 we still hear Sándor, then the new voice, János Kulka takes over the job. The commercial break (there is only one in Hungary) is inserted where the change takes place - actually in the middle of a scene.
From a promo picture for the show's fourth season, it was discovered that Dr. Wilson received his undergraduate degree from McGill University in Montreal, QC. He'd been seen previously wearing a McGill sweater. He also received a degree from Columbia University's "School of Oncolgy" [sic].
Many of the actors that have been featured on House M.D. have also been on the show "Psych" (2006). For example: Anne Dudek played Lucinda on Psych for the "Pilot". She also played Dr. Amber Volakis on House for all of season 4 and part of season 5. Jimmi Simpson played Mary on Psych for "An Evening with Mr. Yang". He also played Daniel Bresson on House for "Unfaithful". Michael Weston played Adam Hornstock on Psych for "Cloudy...Chance of Murder". He also played Lucas Douglas on House for part of season 5. Frank Whaley played Robert on Psych for "Who you Gonna Call". He also played Mr. X on House for "Mirror Mirror". Kurtwood Smith played Brett Connors on Psych for "Forget Me Not". He also played Dr. Obyedkov on House for "Half-Wit". Scott Michael Campbell played Wes Hildenbach on Psych for "9 Lives. He also played Joe Luria on House for both "Euphoria: Part 1" and Euphoria: Part 2". Mackenzie Astin played Jason Cunningham on Psych for "Tuesday the 17th". He also played Alan Alston on House for "All In". Franka Potente played Nadia on Psych for "One, Maybe Two, Ways Out". She also played Lydia on House for "Broken".
Omar Epps' character, Eric Foreman, shares a name with the lead character on FOX's That '70s Show (1998), played by Topher Grace. However, Grace's character is named Forman and the similar names are purely coincidental.
In the episode "Not Cancer", the character of Lucas is introduced. He goes on to be a recurring feature for 2 seasons. His role develops into a pivotal one as he plays Cuddy's boyfriend in season 6. Interestingly, in the episode where Lucas first appears, House leaves Cuddy's office after being refused to open the patient's cranium to inspect her brain for cancer stem cells. As House, walks away from Cuddy's office, he's walking in front of a hospital ward called "Lucas Wing" - perhaps foreboding Lucas' relationship with Cuddy.
The Age of Sexual Consent in New Jersey where the show is based is 16. This would have changed a number of episodes. Given that the show is usually very aware of laws as House and his team are often dealing with them, it must've been a directorial choice to stick with the common misconception of it being 18 nationwide.
On season 1, episode 11, Cuddy confronts House about his Vicodin addiction saying that he was using half the amount when she first hired him. In the flashback episode where we learn what happened to House's leg, he was already working at Princeton Plainsboro before the infarction, and thus didn't use Vicodin at the time.
The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
Jesse Spencer and Jennifer Morrison became engaged in December of 2006. This was at roughly the time they were shooting the first episodes in which their characters, Dr. Chase and Dr. Cameron, began a romantic relationship.
David Shore has said that the character of House is inspired by the fictional character Sherlock Holmes, particularly with regard to drug use and his desire (and capacity) to solve the insolvable. House uses Holmesian deductive techniques to diagnose his patients' problems. References to the sleuth range from the obvious (House's apartment number being 221B) to the subtle (his friendship with Dr. James Wilson and the similarities between the names House and Holmes, and Wilson and Watson). In the very first (pilot) episode the patient's last name is Adler, and in the last episode of season two, the last name of the man who shot House is Moriarty. House's act of faking cancer in "Half-Wit" (Episode 15 of Season 3) is similar to the Holmes story, "The Adventure of the Dying Detective" in which Holmes fakes a deadly eastern disease to catch a criminal.
Lisa Edelstein left the show a while after shooting the season 7 finale. According to David Shore, if Edelstein would have told them that she wasn't coming back, he wouldn't have ended the season like he did and would write out the character as she deserved it.
When a student in the audience of Hugh Laurie's edition of Inside the Actors Studio (1994) asked Laurie if he thought Dr. House should be romantically involved with Cameron, Cuddy or Wilson, Laurie said, "I suspect that if the show runs long enough, he's going to run through all of them. What order that unfolds in is not for me to say. I think any of those relationships is, of course, believable. Two people can always find some comfort or attraction, so I think all are possible. I think Robert [Robert Sean Leonard, who plays Dr. Wilson] might have something to say about it . . . I don't know how Robert would take that. But you know, I'm game."
The character of Cameron was written out mainly because David Shore wanted to show that not every character around House was going to ended up being 'corrupt'. Shore has said it was really hard to let go of Jennifer Morrison, but the story was more important.
Numerous times throughout the series, House mentions watching The O.C. (2003). In season four Olivia Wilde joins the cast as a series regular. She also played an recurring part during season two of The O.C. (2003). She played a bisexual in both series.
In April 2009, Kal Penn told Entertainment Weekly Magazine that the writers killed off his character on "House M.D." because he had asked to be allowed to leave the show to go work for the Barack Obama Administration as the Associate Director in the White House Office of Public Liaison.
The nickname "Thirteen" for Olivia Wilde's character Dr. Remy Hadley comes from the first few episodes of Season 4. House is trying to hire a new team from a possible 30 candidates. He assigns them numbers from 1 to 30. Dr. Hadley has the number '13' which is considered unlucky by many. Despite the bad omen she makes the team but the name sticks.