Ward making 'House ' calls
By DAVID BIANCULLI
DAILY NEWS TV CRITIC
Sela Ward plays the ex-girlfriend of Hugh Laurie's character.
BEVERLY HILLS - The Fox drama series "House," starring Hugh Laurie as an irascible but gifted doctor, started the season with good reviews but few viewers.After "American Idol" came along to give it a formidable lead-in, it ended the season as a hit, and with a pair of powerful episodes introducing Sela Ward as the woman who used to be in House's life.
When "House" returns in the fall, Ward (of "Once and Again" fame) will be back as well, appearing in seven more episodes.
Her character will work in his hospital while her husband, played by Currie Graham of "NYPD Blue," is being treated for the life-threatening illness that brought them both to Laurie's House last season.
"I'm fortunate enough to be able to be invited to be the interloper on this show, which is a fantastic show," Ward told TV writers at the Television Critics Association gathering.
"Obviously," producer David Shore said of the characters played by Laurie and Ward, "he's not over her and she's not over him. But she's married, and her husband's sick, and we just want to explore that...
"We've got two great actors, and it's just a great opportunity."
Make that three great actors, because Graham, as the husband, isn't going anywhere soon, either.
"It would be too easy to kill him off," Shore said. "Actually, it's more interesting if he's alive."
Other news about the coming season includes an appearance by LL Cool J in the opening episode, and another episode in which the song "Beautiful" is heard twice: once by Christina Aguilera, and again in a newly recorded version, done especially for the show, by Elvis Costello.
Laurie, asked if he had any amusing stories about visiting a doctor or a hospital, replied, "No," then launched into a deadpan denial that anything funny had ever happened to him, period.
"I'm very conscious," he said, "of the world being divided into people to whom anecdotes happen, and to whom anecdotes don't happen. And I belong to the non-anecdotes part of the world. ... Some people go and fetch dry cleaning, and they can get 20 minutes of standup out of that. It doesn't happen to me."
As for his character's pronounced limp and cane, Laurie said:
"It's not his physical gait that is transforming," Laurie said. "It's being one-handed. ... To be one-handed - and to drink a cup of tea and put two sugars in, and open a door and answer a telephone - becomes incredibly time-consuming. It's all about, 'Where am I going to park the cane? When I pick up this, where am I going to put the cane?'