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.”
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.
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.
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.