'House' Creator David Shore Explains Why TV Writing Is a "Magic Trick"

David Shore Headshot - P 2012
Getty Images

David Shore Headshot - P 2012

"The Brits are doing a job, the Americans think they're successful," says the executive producer of the Fox medical drama.

House's David Shore has gone from a medical to a crime drama with his upcoming Fox supernatural series Houdini & Doyle.

That keeps the Emmy Award-winning showrunner on familiar ground with House, about the curmudgeonly Dr. Gregory House, a brilliant doctor solving medical mysteries. Houdini & Doyle, to debut on Fox in the U.S. and ITV Encore in the U.K. in spring 2016, features crusty Brit Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, played by Episodes star Stephen Mangan, grudgingly partnering with American and master escape artist Harry Houdini (Michael Weston) and New Scotland Yard to solve crimes with an unexplained supernatural slant.

After U.S. network success with one British actor, Hugh Laurie as Dr. House, Shore told The Hollywood Reporter he likes working with theater-trained Brit talent because they have a way of not letting fame get in the way of being professional on set.

"I love them (British actors) because they don't react to themselves like they're stars. They react to themselves like their professionals — successful professionals, but they're doing a job," he said. American actors, by contrast, prefer to "think they're successful" to generate box office and ratings for investors, Shore added.

America and Britain are also two halves of a new world vs. old world narrative in Houdini & Doyle, where crusty Doyle is the paranormal aficionado and Houdini the paranormal debunker. "Great minds don't always think alike," says series writer and executive producer David Hoselton (House), who first met Shore while both were attending the University of Toronto law school before becoming long-time collaborators.

Hoselton created Houdini & Doyle with Canadian screenwriter David Titcher (The Librarians). The real-life bromance between Doyle and Houdini underlying the drama sprang in part from the Sherlock Holmes creator's belief that Houdini's magic skills had a supernatural origin, while the iconic American artist insisted he had simply created and perfected illusions.

That illusion appeals to Shore, who sees TV writing as its own "magic trick" to distract and hold audiences. "You go 'look here, look here.' And that's your 'A story.' That has to be interesting. But really the sleight of hand comes from sliding in all this character stuff. This is what the show is about," he explained.

Houdini & Doyle, to air on Global Television in Canada, is shooting the final two episodes of the first season in Toronto. That follows the first eight hours filmed in Manchester, U.K. over five months from July 2015.

The series is a co-production between U.K.'s Big Talk Productions and Canadian partner Shaftesbury, in association with Shore Z Productions. Shore is executive producing with Hoselton, David Titcher, Kenton Allen, Matthew Justice, Luke Alkin, Christina Jennings, Maggie Murphy and Scott Garvie.

Sony Pictures Television is handling international sales on Houdini & Doyle.