EXCLUSIVE: As fans are preparing to say goodbye to one of TV’s most popular comedies, How I Met Your Mother, CBS is looking to extend the franchise. I’ve learned that the network is in talks with HIMYM producer 20th Century Fox TV for a spinoff series, which takes a female spin on the original show. Referred to as How I Met Your Father, the spinoff hails from HIMYM creators/executive producers Carter Bays and Craig Thomas and Up All Night creator/exec producer Emily Spivey. It would feature a new group of New York friends and chronicle a female member of the group’s quest to meet her future husband. I hear the new characters could be introduced in the HIMYM series finale, and Ted, Barney, Marshall, Lily and Robin’s favorite hangout, MacLaren’s Pub, may be featured on the new show, serving as a link between the two gangs. The premise, which is not tied to any of the original HIMYM characters, gives Bays, Thomas and Spivey a clean slate to build new characters and relationships. The trio, who will co-write and executive produce the spinoff, share a background — they all started in late-night and worked on New York-based late-night shows (Late Show for Bays and Thomas, Saturday Night Live for Spivey) before transitioning to primetime comedy series.
Miss some of Deadline’s Top TV stories this week? With the fall season about to start and the Emmys tomorrow, here’s your chance to catch up:
2014-14 Broadcast Season Preview: Challenges The Networks Face
By Nellie Andreeva – The first new fall series, Fox’s Sleepy Hollow, marks the unofficial start of the 2013-14 broadcast season.
Emmys To Kick Off With Oscars-Style Opening Film, Feature ‘How I Met Your Mother’ Video
By Nellie Andreeva - EXCLUSIVE: Feeling it was impossible to follow the jaw-dropping opening musical number Neil Patrick Harris did in June as host of the Tony Awards, CBS — which carries both the Tonys and the Emmys this year — and producers of the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards decided to go in a different direction.
Ray Richmond is an AwardsLine contributor.
He still looks like the kid doctor he played on Doogie Howser, M.D. for four years (1989-93), but in fact, Neil Patrick Harris just turned 40 in June. He’s old enough to have a couple of long-running TV series behind him—currently, his Emmy-nominated role of Barney Stinson on the CBS comedy How I Met Your Mother is in its ninth and final season. But perhaps Harris’ most identifiable character is that of awards-show host extraordinaire. He’s fronted the Tonys four times, earning him a pair of Emmys, and on September 22, he takes his second turn hosting the Primetime Emmys ceremony. He spoke with AwardsLine about what it’s like to suddenly be Hollywood’s emcee du jour.
AwardsLine: You make hosting awards shows seem both fun and effortless, particularly the Tonys. But it can’t be either that easy or that enjoyable—is it?
Neil Patrick Harris: No, it isn’t that easy. But, well, that’s the job, which is to make everyone watching both in the theater and at home feel welcome and in good hands. Even if everything is falling apart behind the scenes, you need to convey that it’s all just terrific. As for having fun, yeah, I love hosting while I’m doing it. I’m glad that comes across.
Related: EMMYS: Comedy Series Overview
EXCLUSIVE: Feeling it was impossible to follow the jaw-dropping opening musical number Neil Patrick Harris did in June as host of the Tony Awards, CBS — which carries both the Tonys and the Emmys this year — and producers of the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards decided to go in a different direction. No one would comment, but I’ve learned they opted for an opening film starring Harris and featuring nominated shows in the mold of the popular opening montages at the Oscars. According to a person close to the production, in the video, Harris is binge-viewing shows after taking his hosting duties very seriously and deciding to watch every piece of television made last season. He gradually becomes so intoxicated that a clever and witty conversation ensues.
The video, which is getting great reviews from people who have seen it, was directed by Troy Miller, who has directed all Oscar-opening films for host Billy Crystal as well as the one for hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway (in what was the high point of that ceremony), and the memorable 2011 Emmys opening video featuring host Jane Lynch visiting several nominated series including Mad Men (clip below). Like in all those films, Harris will interact with the different shows but in a way not done before. On a press call yesterday, Emmys executive producer Ken Ehrlich wouldn’t discuss the opening, saying only that “the show will open in a way that is definitely not expected.”
Broadcasting the Primetime Emmy Awards may seem a thankless task for the broadcast networks that take turns airing the ceremony. The license fee is pretty stiff, considering it’s a three-hour infomercial for the basic and premium cable networks (and now, Netflix) that have siphoned off a good chunk of their audience. Cable networks long ago took over the Emmy longform derbies, then they took over the best-drama derby, and now they’re moving in on comedy. CBS can expect to make a few million on the show, after factoring in the cost of production, etc. And, yes, it’s still a good platform for launching its new TV season, which officially starts the next night — not to mention the in-show plugs, like this year’s host Neil Patrick Harris, who’s the star of CBS’s How I Met Your Mother. And Allison Janney and Anna Faris are among this year’s lineup of notable female TV duos who are presenting — only because they star in the new CBS comedy series Mom. The other duos are far more newsworthy: Kerry Washington and Diahann Carroll are, respectively, the first African-American in nearly two decades to be nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series and the actress who broke color barriers when she starred in the 1968 series Julia; Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are the reigning TV-comedy co-queens; Zooey and Emily Deschanel are the Barrymores of Fox.
Still, the Emmy Awards ranks high on the Aggravation-o-Meter at times for the broadcast host. For instance, when the Academy decides to have Netflix’s House Of Cards star Kate Mara read off the names of nominees in July. As luck would have it, Mara’s plane had a mechanical malfunction, so she had to bail, and Harris stepped in — CBS plug!
EXCLUSIVE: 20th Century Fox, New Regency and director David Fincher are firming up Gone Girl, the Gillian Flynn novel that will star Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike and shoots this fall. Fincher has set Tyler Perry to play Tanner Bolt, the attorney who reps Affleck’s character after his wife disappears, and Neil Patrick Harris is near a deal to play Desi Collings, the wife’s former boyfriend. At the same time, Fincher has set Kim Dickens, Patrick Fugit and Carrie Coon to round out the cast. Fincher is producing the pic with Pacific Standard’s Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea.
Perry’s deal is now closed. Fincher saw him playing the title role in Alex Cross and courted him for the lawyer role. WME and Ziffren repped Perry, who is busy generating his shows for the OWN network and will next be seen onscreen in A Made Christmas, another in his line of Madea films. Harris is starting to ramp up his post-How I Met Your Mother career and also is hosting the Primetime Emmys later this month. He is repped by CAA.
Producer David Binder is thrilled to announce that Neil Patrick Harris will star in the Broadway premiere of John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask’s musical HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH in the Spring of 2014. The remaining creative team members, additional casting, and the theatre will be confirmed at a later date.
The announcement that Neil Patrick Harris will play ‘Hedwig,’ follows his recent triumphant engagement as the host of the 67th Annual Tony Awards® (the highest rated Tonys® broadcast in more than a decade).
EXCLUSIVE: Neil Patrick Harris will be pulling double hosting duty for CBS again this year. The How I Met Your Mother star, who is emceeing the 67th Tony Awards next Sunday, also has been tapped to host the upcoming 65th Primetime Emmy Awards, which will air on the network September 22. Harris has become CBS’ go-to guy for high-profile hosting gigs. He’s hosted the Tonys four of the last five times and has now fronted the Primetime Emmys the two most recent times the awards have aired on CBS. Just like when Harris made his debut as Tony and Emmy host in 2009, he is emceeing both awards shows this year. “I couldn’t be more honored and excited to be hosting this year’s Emmy Awards,” he said. “And what perfect timing — I’ll just do the exact same script I’m about to use for the Tonys. ‘And the Emmy for Best Revival of a Musical goes to Breaking Bad!’ See, told you it works.”
Not sure how many Broadway fans will get the hockey reference, but Neil Patrick Harris has made it a hat trick and agreed to host the upcoming Tony Awards for the third time in four years. NPH is good at it, and it is nice that Broadway has stability on the hosting front. I’m already wondering what will happen late this year when AMPAS starts looking around again for an Oscar host. Billy Crystal certainly stopped the bleeding by stepping in after Eddie Murphy dropped out along with producer Brett Ratner, but Crystal’s usual schtick felt dated to me.
This week, actor Kal Penn left Washington D.C. after serving two years as White House associate director in the Office of Public Engagement. In D.C., he used his real name, Kalpen Modi, and worked in the Barack Obama administration after persuading the producers of House to kill off his character so he could pursue a path that was not without risk. Penn is half of the Harold and Kumar stoner duo that is a contemporary answer to Cheech and Chong, but in real life he’s a bright guy who’s working on a graduate certificate in international security at Stanford and who once served as a visiting lecturer in Asian American studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Penn will now try to reclaim his career with A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas coming this fall, a stint on the CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother and a permanent place (he hopes) as the star of a sitcom vehicle he’ll create for NBC with Dan Spilo. He spoke to Deadline about his detour and why interrupting his momentum for two years was worth it.
DEADLINE: Putting your career on hold to work in the White House has to bring a fear you might be forgotten. What does it mean to you to return with a stint on How I Met Your Mother and this NBC deal for your own show for next fall?
PENN: I was completely floored by the opportunity to develop and produce a half hour comedy for NBC. When I was starting out, what I always wanted was to be able to become a producer and take a risk, find a setting and a spin on it that’s funny, and hope it catches on. The shows I’ve most loved in the last couple of years were the NBC shows 30 Rock and The Office. Whether it’s astronauts going to the moon or something else, I hope we can find an underlying theme and make it hilarious. With 30 Rock and The Office, the humor comes from the characters and the writing and I’m excited to do something creative like that. How I Met Your Mother will be about five episodes and it will be fun to work again with Neil Patrick Harris after three Harold and Kumar films.
DEADLINE: It’s unusual to see a young actor drop his career for public service. How hard did your reps and peers try to talk your out of it?
PENN: The role of a good agent and manager is to dissuade you from doing something like this. And there was that attempt to dissuade me, which I respected. But remember, I’d worked on the president’s election campaign and made relationships with people who’d done the exact same thing, from all different walks of life. People who had kids and spouses at home in Chicago or San Francisco. I thought of myself as a young guy moving to DC, and it felt worth trying to be part of such a pivotal moment in history. It helped to have people around like Eli Attie, a writer on House who’d been one of Vice President Gore’s speech writers. When I asked him what he thought, the inevitable questions came up. Are you done with acting? Have you lost your passion for it? The answer very clearly to me was, no. To me, this wasn’t different from when I put things on hold to teach a semester of college. Eli was very supportive. The real pivotal point came when I talked to David Shore, who created House. I told him this opportunity presented itself and I felt like I couldn’t say no and how much it would mean for me to serve in the White House. I said, I know I’ve got a contract with the show and I love playing this character, but… He told me, “I was at a law firm, and everybody told me I was crazy when I wanted to move from Toronto to LA with a script, and try my hand at creating a show. I had to do it even though they thought I was crazy, so who am I to tell you what you’re doing is a little bit crazy? You have my blessing.” And let’s face it, people don’t go into acting for the career stability. You do it because you’re passionate. I found the same true about public service.
The American Theater Wing has finally confirmed that Neil Patrick Harris will host the 65th Tony Awards telecast on June 12. Deadline told you that on May 4. It’s the second stint for Patrick, the star of CBS’s How …
CBS’ Big Brother will keep its traditional three-nights-a-week airing pattern this summer with Julie Chen returning as host. It will premiere on Thursday, July 7 and will run Wednesday at 8 PM, Thursdays at 9 PM (live eviction show) and Sundays at 8 PM. On Sundays, Big Brother will run …