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.
After the panel, Bays elaborated a bit on the idea of setting the end date. “We totally might want to go beyond Season 8,” he noted. “Obviously, it won’t just be our call. It will also be about what our actors want and of course what CBS wants. But right now the network is delighted with the numbers we’re getting. If everyone’s game to go beyond Season 8, it will be a matter of how much story is left. We have that big ending planned, and we know how we need to get the characters in place to make it there.” Would nine seasons be the most that How I Met Your Mother would run then? Bays says he’s not necessarily saying that — or even if there will be a Season 9. “But it sure feels good right now to see how our numbers have trended up. Bottom line: We’ll do this show as long as it feels creatively fulfilling. And as long as they want us around.”