EXCLUSIVE: Fox’s Bones spinoff The Finder is still very much in contention for a series order at Fox. But with shelf space at the network so tight, I hear the network and the series’ producers are exploring a way to give the project presence on Fox next season. The pregnancy of Bones star Emily Deschanel is expected to sideline her for as many as 6-7 episodes from Bones‘ upcoming seventh season. Fox, producing studio 20th TV and Bones creator Hart Hanson are discussing the use of Finder-flavored episodes as a filler during Deschanel’s maternity leave. Those will be Bones episodes with The Finder star Geoff Stults and his sidekick Michael Clarke Duncan appearing in them, giving Hanson an opportunity to further develop them. The future of the third Finder lead, played by Saffron Burrows, which has drawn polarizing reaction, is unclear, but I hear that the producers felt it was hard to service more than 2 new characters on Bones. Sources stress that this is one of several scenarios in contention for Deschanel’s hiatus.
The Finder was introduced in an episode of Bones last month, which got traction with the veteran series’ fans. However, Fox already has Terra Nova and X Factor on tap for fall and Touch penciled in for midseason, so the network will probably pick up as few as 2 new series. With the Ethan Hawke starrer Exit Strategy and medical drama Weekends at Bellevue gaining momentum, it is probably smart to look at alternatives for The Finder. Keeping the show alive with a short order would make it easy for Fox to give it a full-blown series pickup if any of its other new series fails.