EXCLUSIVE: Two and a half years after How I Met Your Dad surprisingly did not get on the air, there is a new How I Met Your Mother spinoff in the works for next season, I have learned. Like How I Met Your Dad, I hear the new project, titled How I Met Your Father, is an ensemble show that tells the story from a female point of view. It is a brand new take on the premise with new characters and new writers: This Is Us co-executive producers Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger. The project hails from HIMYM studio 20th TV, where Aptaker and Berger are under an overall deal.
How I Met Your Dad was written by How I Met Your Mother creators Carter Bays & Craig Thomas and Emily Spivey. As creators of the original series, Bays and Thomas will serve as executive producers on the offshoot with Aptaker and Berger, but their day-to-day involvement is unknown. The duo is under an exclusive overall deal at Sony TV and have a hot comedy project at CBS with comedian Chris Distefano, which has a pilot production commitment.
Like How I Met Your Dad, which was described by CBS at the time as a “kindred spirit” to the network’s How I Met Your Mother, How I Met Your Father is not a traditional spinoff. It just incorporates the same storytelling device as the original series of a person — in this case a mother — telling the story of how they met their spouse.
I hear the script is still being written as a spec internally at 20th TV, and it is not clear when it will hit the marketplace. Because it is not a traditional spinoff involving characters from the original series, I hear it doesn’t necessarily have to go to CBS, with the field of potential networks wide open.
How I Met Your Dad was ordered as a pilot by CBS in 2014, just as the mothership series was finishing its nine-season run on the network. In one of the biggest upfront surprises that year, the pilot starring Greta Gerwig didn’t go to series. The network offered to re-pilot the comedy but CBS and 20th TV couldn’t agree on terms for the redevelopment, and the project ultimately fell through.
But the studio has remained high on the premise, occasionally revisiting the idea, even after Bays and Thomas moved to Sony.
HIMYM, which flew largely under the radar for its first few seasons, wasn’t a blockbuster ratings hit like The Big Bang Theory and wasn’t an awards darling like Modern Family, but it broke ground, pushing the limits of the traditional multi-camera sitcom with a new production model and heavy serialization that helped it attract younger (18-34) viewers, something very few multi-cam comedies have been able to do in the past decade. Appealing to younger audiences, HIMYM also became one of the first TV comedy series to develop online following and heat up on social media.
Comedy writer-producers Aptaker and Berger have emerged as key writer-producers on the breakout new NBC/20th TV drama series This Is Us, penning multiple episodes, including the Thanksgiving one, and sharing in the show’s WGA Award New Series nomination. Like This Is Us creator Dan Fogelman, who recruited them after they’d worked on his ABC comedy series The Neighbors, Aptaker and Berger come from half-hour background, with a resume that includes stints on Fox’s Grandfathered, also exec produced by Fogelman, and NBC’s Friends With Benefits and About A Boy.
The friends and scribes have been writing as a team for more than nine years after they met at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Aptaker, who grew up outside Boston, amused himself as a 10-year-old by writing spec episodes for Boy Meets World, and Berger, who grew up in Queens, began doling out advice to the head writer of Sesame Street (who happened to be her father) at a very young age.
Aptaker and Berger are repped by Verve, Management 360 and Hansen Jacobson. Bays and Thomas are with UTA.