Among the many advantages of Twitter over, say, the Emmys as a public platform, is that while you may not walk away with a statuette, there is no pesky music cutting you off as you run through the list of people you’d like to thank for their support over the years. This How I Met Your Mother co-creator Craig Thomas took full advantage of that last night, as his long-running CBS comedy came to a close with a decisive demo win in its one-hour time slot. Thomas’ many exuberant tweets included:
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On How I Met Your Mother‘s last day of production a month ago, Dana Walden — chairman and CEO of 20th Century Fox TV, which produces the long-running series — was meeting with the big boss, 21st Century Fox chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch, in his office. She mentioned HIMYM was wrapping that day and, in the middle of their meeting Murdoch said, “I want to go over and say hallo.” He walked to the set and thanked creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, the cast and the crew “for all of the great work they have done.” “For a show to provoke that kind of response from Rupert, it speaks to how important that show has been to the company,” Walden said.
If such a gesture from the head of a global conglom might come as a surprise, it is probably because HIMYM, which wraps its nine-season run tonight on CBS, has flown largely under the radar. HIMYM hasn’t been a blockbuster ratings hit like The Big Bang Theory, hasn’t made headlines with a record-breaking syndication deal like 2 Broke Girls, and hasn’t been an awards darling like Modern Family, never landing an Emmy in the major categories. But it broke ground, pushing the limits of the traditional multi-camera sitcom with a new production model and heavy serialization that helped it attract younger (18-34) viewers, something very few multi-cam comedies have been able to do in the past decade as young audiences have been largely shunning the format in favor of edgier single-camera fare.
Multi-camera comedies had tried employing shorter scenes before, most notably NBC’s Seinfeld. But Bays and Thomas’ pilot script for How I Met Your Mother called for a pace that had not been achieved before. It included a whopping 59 scenes, plus freeze frames with narration, whip pans, a split screen scene and a montage. That’s not how you normally see in a multi-camera sitcom, which is what CBS had bought in HIMYM. But then, Carter and Bays didn’t quite know normal. The young writers were recent transplants to Los Angeles and primetime after a stint at CBS’ Late Show With David Letterman. They had only worked for a couple of very short-lived comedy series and had never developed before HIMYM. “This was new to them, and they didn’t know the limitations of what they can and cannot do, so they wrote what was in their heads,” Walden said. Read More »
The creators of CBS’ How I Met Your Mother insist they really did have an eight-year plan beginning with the pilot and at the start of season two shot part of what is going to air in the series finale with the Mosby children “who are now 53 and 62,” joked exec producer Craig Thomas. “We shot a little bit with the kids in fall of 2006 and it’s part of the end game. You will see it on March 31,” he said at TCA. “We’ve kind of tried to space out over the season – have kind of a building momentum to how much we’re seeing of their relationship, but we will, in these last few episodes, really get a sense of sorts to tie it all together in a package of what this story has been that we’ve been watching, why we’ve been watching it. I don’t want to say too much about it.” Read More »
Prepare to say goodbye to How I Met Your Mother and hello to How I Met Your Dad. After a pretty brief, two-week negotiation that underlined the HIMYM franchise’s importance to CBS, the network has closed a deal with 20th Century Fox TV for a pilot order to a spinoff project, which takes a female spin on the original show. How I Met Your Dad, which was pitched on October 30, hails from HIMYM creators/executive producers Carter Bays and Craig Thomas and Up All Night creator/exec producer Emily Spivey. Described as a kindred spirit of How I Met Your Mother telling the story from a female point of view, Dad tells a brand-new story with new characters and a new voice at its center. Linking the new group of New York friends and the HIMYM gang will be Ted, Barney, Marshall, Lily and Robin’s favorite hangout, MacLaren’s Pub, which also will be featured on the new show, written and executive produced by Spivey, Bays and Thomas. It is unclear if the characters from the spinoff would be introduced in the HIMYM finale as originally envisioned.
CBS certainly could use more HIMYM — the veteran comedy is the key piece holding together … Read More »
After a month of last-minute haggling between CBS and 20th Century Fox TV over deal points, the network and studio have sealed an agreement for a ninth season of How I Met Your Mother. It will be the veteran comedy’s last season, and the show will finally reveal the identity of the mother. I hear it will be for 24 episodes. All series regulars — Josh Radnor, Jason Segel, Cobie Smulders, Neil Patrick Harris and Alyson Hannigan — are back, as are creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas. To show the cast their commitment to the show, Bays and Thomas were first to close a one-year show deal. Then came the dramatic actor negotiations as chronicled in Nikki Finke’s story that broke the news about HIMYM‘s pending renewal. The prospects of a ninth season appeared all but dead after Segel had held firmly to his decision to leave until an eleventh-hour turnaround. I hear Segel finally changed his mind after reviewing detailed records of the relatively light workload the hybrid series requires for a fat paycheck while also allowing busy actors like him to also pursue a feature career. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: My news will be cheered by fans of the CBS comedy and follows the network logging a second consecutive Monday win in adults 18-49 and total viewers. For those keeping score, the hourlong winter finale of How I Met Your Mother (3.4/9) was up 6% from last week’s half-hour episode. That Monday lineup took a hit this fall facing competition from The Voice and suffering from the move of Two And A Half Men to Thursday, so it was important for CBS to secure HIMYM for another season - especially as another tough negotiation with Warner Bros for Two And A Half Men is coming up. Now HIMYM‘s 9th season is secure even if the network and the studio and the cast are keeping mum right now. (Meanwhile I stopped watching after Season 2 because I can’t stand not knowing who the mom is, dammit.) Of course there was drama aplenty culminating today when all the cast deals closed after hard work by agents and managers and lawyers and executives and after an 11th hour turnaround of Jason Segel who was set on bailing.
So here’s what happened: HIMYM is in the last year of its current license deal with the network, while the contracts of creators Craig Thomas and Carter Bays and the cast are all up at the end of the season. Understandably, Thomas and Bays had requested a decision to be made by the end of this month because of the … Read More »
Exactly a year ago, David Shore, creator/executive producer of Fox’s drama House was pushing the network to make a decision on the future of the show by the end of 2011 so he can give it a proper ending if faced with cancellation. At the time, House was in its eighth season, with Shore and star Hugh Laurie’s contracts coming up. Fox and producing studio Universal TV didn’t have a license fee deal for another season. The network didn’t make a decision by end of December as Shore wished, but by the beginning of February, the verdict was in - House would end its run after eight seasons.
Fast forward a year to this week. CBS‘ comedy How I Met Your Mother is in Season 8 and the last year of its current license deal with the network, with the contracts of creators Craig Thomas and Carter Bays and the cast all up at the end of the season. Like Shore, Thomas and Bays had requested a decision to be made by the end of this month because of the overarching mythology of the show, which needs to begin building toward the big mother reveal when an end date is set. Three weeks before the end of the year, there is activity on all three fronts — talks are underway between CBS and HIMYM producer 20th Century Fox TV as well as between 20th TV and Thomas and Bays and between the studio and reps for the series’ stars, Jason Segel, Josh Radnor, Cobie Smulders, Neil Patrick Harris and Alyson Hannigan.
CBS has been open about its desire to bring HIMYM for another season. “We want the show to come back next year,” the network’s entertainment president Nina Tassler said in August. “We’re not there yet in terms of resolving the situation, but we’re pretty optimistic.” It appears that the studio, 20th TV, and Thomas & Bays are also open to the idea of another season. But what about the cast? A virtual unknown when the show launched in 2005, Segel has seen his feature career take off over the past seven years. I hear that as of now, Segel has indicated that it is unlikely for him to return. He has not shut the door though. Read More »
In what may be the last pilot order this season, Fox has given the green light to Goodwin Games, a single-camera comedy from How I Met Your Mother co-creators/executive producers Carter Bays & Craig Thomas and fellow HIMYM executive producer Chris Harris. The project had been cast-contingent on securing Ugly Betty alumna Becki Newton as one of the leads. After lengthy negotiations, Newton, who fielded several other pilot offers, agreed to board the project, triggering a pilot order. The Goodwin Games, from 20th Century Fox TV where Bays, Thomas and Harris are under deals, revolves around three siblings, one played by Newton, who reconnect after the death of their father. The project extends Newton’s relationship with Bays, Thomas and Harris — she currently recurs on How I Met Your Mother. I hear that the HIMYM stint actually came out of an early exploratory meeting the actress had with Bays and Thomas about Goodwin Games. The project landed at Fox in September with a big put pilot commitment after a bidding war. Newton is with UTA, Management 360 and attorney Rick Genow. Bays and Thomas are with UTA, Harris is with CAA and 3 Arts.
Ray Richmond is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
The trendy new term at TCA is, “That’s a high-class problem,” and the CBS comedy How I Met Your Mother has one. The show is improbably enjoying its best ratings ever during its seventh season and is also CBS’ youngest-skewing series. And while the series is contracted to remain on the air through next season, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be “8 and out” for the show. Its co-creator and co-showrunner Carter Bays said during a TCA panel this morning that there hasn’t been a discussion about setting a series end date. “Oh, we’ve talked about it,” he admitted, “because we’ve gotten the question a lot. But I don’t think we can say what it will be just now. It’s not a high priority for us. I imagine when we’re going into the final season, we’ll get people hip to that. But right now it’s hard for us to say it will be May 14, 2000-whatever. It will happen when we’re officially out of ideas.” Bays added that he knows what the Mother endgame is going to be but naturally had no inclination to share it. Star Jason Segel added that he’d simply love to see the show go on long enough so the story comes to a natural conclusion, “whether that be 8 or 9 years. I was so relieved when I found out there was an actual plan,” he said. Read More »