Surprising the still-strong legions of How I Met Your Mother fans and everyone who’d talked themselves into the idea of Greta Gerwig, sitcom star, CBS announced this morning that it was not moving forward with the spinoff How I Met Your Dad. As Deadline reports, CBS wanted to “re-pilot” — a process with which they’ve had success, most notably on its megahit The Big Bang Theory — but wasn’t offering any guarantees that a series order would follow. With no such promises in hand, showrunners Craig Thomas & Carter Bays (who created HIMYM) and Emily Spivey politely declined. Said CBS entertainment president Nina Tassler, “It didn’t work out … I’m heartsick.”
But it’s not over yet! According to Deadline, the show’s studio, 20th Century Fox, “has been very bullish on the pilot” and “plans to shop it to other networks — “executives [are] confident that HIMYD would go to series somewhere” and the studio is even “looking to make a decision over the next week.”
For an extra oomph of drama: As unlikely as it might be, CBS actually has until midnight tonight to reverse course and pick up the show after all, before losing rights. Maybe there’s some elaborate chess match going on here? Tassler’s waiting for HIMYD to cave and agree to redo the pilot after all? HIMYD’s waiting for Tassler to get shook and accept it with open arms? Ahhh! Who’ll blink first??? Probably nobody!!!!
Semi-related: CBS also announced that this next season for Two and a Half Men, its 12th, will be the last. That’s not exactly surprising: Ratings have slipped, and various religiously motivated and warlock-based decisions have depleted the cast to just one original m[a]n. But you could have certainly imagined a scenario in which CBS trotted out that old warhorse, as grizzled and fumbling as it was, for a couple of more runs. Viewed together with the HIMYD decision, it feels, perhaps, like a commendable move away from purportedly safe bets and beaten-down old material. And then again: The network is adding both another NCIS and another CSI.
Whatever happens here, Greta Gerwig will be fine. If she wants to star and write in a TV show, she can almost certainly still make that happen for herself. But for those of us who have already convinced ourselves that seeing Gerwig as Ms. Mosby might not be half-bad — whaddya say, other networks? How about saving HIMYD? Maybe just for a couple of episodes?