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Behind the Scenes at 'House'

ET's on the set for secrets from FOX's hit medical drama "House," now in its second season.

The first thing that strikes visitors to the set of "House," airing Tuesday nights at 9 p.m., is how clean it is, and then, how large. The hit FOX medical drama, which shot its pilot in Canada, now occupies two soundstages on the FOX lot in Century City, CA.

"Season one there was no balcony off House's (HUGH LAURIE) office," explains Executive Producer DAVID SHORE. "Season two a door magically appeared with the balcony outside. It's where House and Wilson (ROBERT SEAN LEONARD) have their little chats."

Success in the ratings provided more $$$, so this season Shore also added an atrium, another elevator and bathrooms as a part of the patient rooms to the set. The hospital design is based on a building from Princeton University, but that building is not a hospital.

One secret that is revealed by ELAN SOLTES, the visual effects supervisor, is that when the show takes its trip into the body, it uses models containing all the internal organs. They make the heart beat through the use of a hand pump; and the lungs breathe the same way. The trick is to time the rhythms to that of a human being.

"There are three different doctors who check everything we do and we have a medical consultant on staff all the time," Shore says. "The best thing we can get is our three doctors disagreeing, because as a writer that is the best thing, because you are wide open. If the doctors don't agree that means there is no right answer."

In addition to the three docs, "House" has a full-time on-set medical advisor, BOBBIN BERGSTROM, who is an R.N. in real life, and still works in a hospital when "House" is on hiatus.

"When we get on to the set, I need to educate the principals and the guest cast," she explains. "With the principals, I show them [how to do things] once and it is pretty much a review each time, unless we are doing something new. Also, part of my job is teaching the guest cast how to have the symptoms of the diseases that they have."

A lot of illusion goes into a medial drama. For example, they use a scalpel that drips blood when the actors pretend to cut with it and the table that patients lie on in the operating room is hollow, so the actors can slide in and out.

"It helps us time-wise if they have to go the bathroom," says TYLER PATTON, the property master. "It also helps the model look as if the person is actually being worked on."

Posted January 29, 2006 4:00:00 PM
See All: david shore elton soltes fox house house hugh laurie robert sean leonard

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