EXCLUSIVE: After a year away from television, How I Met Your Mother creators Craig Thomas and Carter Bays are returning in a big way. In a Sony Pictures Televisionvery competitive situation, with five studios bidding, the duo have closed a rich three-year overall deal at Sony Pictures Television. Under the multimillion-dollar pure development pact, Thomas and Bays will develop and produce new series for the independent studio through their Bays/Thomas Prods. banner, which will become a full-fledged production company based in New York.

After more than a decade in Los Angeles, including nine seasons on their hit CBS comedy series How I Met Your Mother, Bays and Thomas last subaysthomaslogo1mmer moved back to New York with their families, and I hear staying on the East Coast was important to them as they decided to pursue a new TV deal. Under the Sony TV pact, which could be as much as eight figures, Bays and Thomas will hire an executive to run their pod and, in addition to developing their own projects, will shepherd projects with writers both in New York and Los Angeles.

Last year was Thomas and Bays’ first break from television. Fresh out of college in 1997, then-22-year-old Bays and Thomas quickly landed jobs as writers on CBS’ Late Show With David Letterman. After a five-year stTCA Winter Press Tour 2014int on the show, the two headed west to pursue a primetime career. After writing gigs on a few 20th TV comedy series, including Oliver Beene and American Dad, Bays and Thomas created their first series, CBS/20th TV’s How I Met Your Mother. After a quiet start, the show, which introduced the hybrid multicamera format, became one of the most successful comedy series of the past decade. During their tenure at their previous studio home, 20th TV, Bays and Thomas also created and produced a couple more comedy projects, including a HIMYM spinoff, which narrowly missed a series pickup at CBS in May 2014.

Bays and Thomas have remained active on Twitter during the past year, with both recently posting tributes to Letterman in light of his exit from Late Show and late-night T[V. They are repped by UTA and attorney Jared Levine.