Laurie heads from 'House' to his home

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Dr. House is making an unscheduled house call to his native England.

The production schedule on Fox's hit medical drama had to be reshuffled Thursday to accommodate the absence of star Hugh Laurie. The British-born actor told producers of the Universal Media Studios-produced series that he had to go back home to be with his family and boarded a plane to London on Thursday afternoon.

"Hugh had family obligations in England to attend to, but production is continuing in his absence," a UMS spokeswoman said Thursday night. "The producers said that he asked for time off, and they were happy to facilitate it."

A rep for the actor stressed that the trip had been cleared with the producers of the show and that Laurie is expected to be back at work Monday.

It is understood that the sudden departure is not related to salary negotiations. Last year, Laurie joined the ranks of the highest-paid actors on TV with a new deal that paid him more than $300,000 an episode.

Since the launch of "House," Laurie has been separated from his wife and kids, who all still live in England. His family recently visited him in Los Angeles, and his unplanned trip home could have something to do with that, according to observers.
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