House

With House's Thirteen MIA while Olivia Wilde shoots back-to-back films (she's expected to return to Princeton-Plainsboro before season's end), House has tapped Joan of Arcadia's Amber Tamblyn to fill the void as med student Martha M. Masters. "Considering how horrific House is to doctors, just imagine him being your first mentor," says exec producer Katie Jacobs. "Her first challenge is: Can she stay on House's team?"

It's Cuddy who "insists House hire a woman, because she feels there's way too much testosterone on the team," Lisa Edelstein says. "Cuddy picks Masters and sort of shoves her on House."

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Amber's debut in Episode 6 finds Dr. Masters treating an underhanded political campaign manager (Heroes' Jack Coleman), who develops hepatitis C. "I'm the case of the week, so I worked with almost all the doctors, including Amber, who was fantastic," reports Jack. "I think people are going to love and relate to her role — a socially awkward kid who was always a little ahead of everyone else."

Jacobs says it's too soon to pair up Masters romantically, even with randy Dr. Chase (Jesse Spencer). Jesse agrees that they wouldn't be a good match. "She's too uptight for him and too much like what [ex-wife] Cameron [Jennifer Morrison] used to be," he says. "She comes in all wide-eyed and moralistic, and Chase loves watching House devour her. He takes her to the cleaners and it's hilarious."

By the way, Jennifer tells me she wishes Amber good luck in the role. But as for returning to House, Jennifer says she hasn't been in recent contact with anyone from the show. When she left, "they guaranteed me three more episodes — if they write them. So if they do, I'll, of course, make myself available," she says. (No easy task since she's now on CBS' How I Met Your Mother). "But if they decide not to, they still have to pay me."

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