October 26, 2011 11:41am PT by Michael O'Connell
'Bones' Showrunner Says Season 7 Episode Count and Schedule Still Up in the Air
A week shy of the Bones premiere, executive producer Stephen Nathan and creator and showrunner Hart Hanson got on the phone with reporters to discuss the rather disjointed Season 7 run.
And despite Fox entertainment president Kevin Reilly initially saying the season would only be 13 episodes at August's Television Critics Association press tour, the duo behind the show say it's now looking more like 17.
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"We have no idea what scheduling will be," says Nathan. "They do want to do, ultimately, 17 episodes. How it airs is really up to Fox. We're kind of at this point, going along with the premise that we'll do a season of 13 episodes and the remaining 4 episodes."
Hanson admits this creates a bit of a conundrum for the show. Bones' current run will already go on hiatus after episode 6, the last completed before star Emily Deschanel went on maternity leave, with the following 7 scheduled to resume after the midseason entry of pseudo spin-off The Finder.
"It's a real pickle for us," Hanson says of the extra 4 episodes. "We don't quite know where to place those four stories in our universe. If they air all in a row, they would be odd because they would not contain any meaningful character arcs. We're hoping we can get some guidance perhaps after we air for a while."
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Nathan suggests episodes could be dispersed into the second half of the season, instead of running separately during the summer, as originally reported.
"They could air before what we consider our last episode, even," says Nathan, adding that episode 13 is intended as the Season 7 finale.
For now, Bones is still on a break, but the duo confirm that filming on the second half of the season starts filming Dec. 1.
"Emily is doing great," says Hanson. "Our best case scenario had her coming back to shoot in December, and that's going to happen."