TV News

How Seriously Should We Take This News of CBS Prepping a How I Met Your Mother Spin-Off?

Are you ready for a How I Met Your Mother: The New Class?  Well, if not  too bad because CBS really wants it to happen, and How I Met Your Mother show creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas aren’t exactly saying no yet.

According to Deadline.com, CBS is currently talking (well, maybe not at this very minute) to 20th Century Fox TV about the concept of a How I Met Your Mother spin-off centered around an entirely new group of friends who would also frequent McLaren‘s Pub.  The structure and hook (a parent in the future telling their children the increasingly intricate story of how they met the children’s other parent) of How I Met Your Mother would remain but be altered this time to be from a female point of view, a story of how an entirely new female character met her children’s father.  Or to put it in far simpler and more direct terms it will be the same type of show with new characters and entitled How I Met Your Father.  Carter Bays and Craig Thomas are involved as Executive Producers alongside Up All Night creator/executive producer Emily Spivey.  These new characters could possibly be introduced for the first time in the How I Met Your Mother series finale.

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Bays and Thomas hit out of the bark when they cast How I Met Your Mother, but there isn’t another Neil Patrick Harris out there to be cast in this proposed spin-off.

Frankly, the prospect of entirely new characters frequenting McLaren’s Pub as they engage in their own misadventures in dating calls to mind unfavorable comparisons to something like Saved By the Bell: The New Class.  However, the concept of a How I Met Your Mother spin-off has been teased by cast members ever since the show received an unexpectedly rapturous reception at its first and so far only Comic-Con appearance this past summer.  From the cover story of the August 30 issue of Entertainment Weekly:

The Internet is ablaze with reports of a spin-off — maybe [Christina] Milioti starring on How I Met Your Father. (After all, she is pretty much the same age as Radnor and crew when they started.) Or perhaps a new set of characters altogether. Bays and Thomas, huge fans of Cheers, admire how that show begat Frasier and are also very conscious of avoiding the one-season train wreck that was The Tortellis. ”It’s something that we’re thinking about,” says Thomas. ”There’s a world where the universe of the show can keep existing in a way that feels coherent to what’s come before, but new enough to be worth watching.” Hannigan has her pitch: ”I’ve always said the show ends and I’d enter the room saying, ‘That’s not how it happened. God, Ted, you’re such a liar. First of all, we were much older…”’

When asked recently in the official How I Met Your Mother podcast about their future plans Bays and Thomas were far cagier, stating that they intended to move back to New York City and take an extended break from working.  They both agreed that the release of Grand Theft Auto V could not have been better timed as playing that epic video game would occupy much of their time post-show.  Well, GTAV might have to wait.

As pointed out by Deadline, there is cause to actually take this news a bit more seriously instead of simply waving it away with a “Yeah, right.  I’ll believe this when I see it.”  CBS’s Monday night lineup has been crumbling this season, with the now-canceled new comedy We Are Men dead on arrival (by CBS standards at least; it was watched by over 6 million people-eat your heart out NBC comedies).  2 Broke Girls hit a series low in ratings, and Hostages has struggled to compete with other Monday night dramas from ABC and NBC.  The two reliable pieces have been How I Met Your Mother, which is reportedly the network’s highest-rated comedy behind The Big Bang Theory, and the new Chuck Lorre comedy Mom.  CBS likely hoped that 2 Broke Girls or Mike & Molly would become a logical successor, but the ratings just aren’t on the same level and Mom is likely too young of a show to build an entire night of programming around.  So, slotting in a How I Met Your Mother spin-off in that same Monday night timeslot, secure in the knowledge that beyond brand loyalty the show could deliver a high level of quality with Bays and Thomas involved, would seem enticing.

Regardless of what happens here, it is an interesting development in TV programming.  Outside of the CBS procedurals, a couple of years it seemed like the TV spin-off was an antiquated concept.  Now, the CW has spun-off The Vampire Diaries with a good chance to do so with Arrow and less concrete plans to also do so with Supernatural, ABC spun-off Once Upon a Time and is in talks to do a Modern Family spin-off, and now CBS is contemplating a How I Met Your Father.  Of course, there have also been some recent failures (the Bones spin-off The Finder) and non-starters (the planned-but-never-realized House spin-off).  Where might How I Met Your Father end up?

What do you think?  Does this sound legendary?  Or would you’d rather they simply not do this as although the concept of the show is ingenious it is the characters we’d like to keep around not the show’s gimmick applied to new people?  Let us know in the comments.

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