'How I Met Your Mother' Nears Renewal for Ninth and Final Season

How I Met Your Mother
Cliff Lipson/CBS

In March 2011, the Monday night comedy was picked up for two additional seasons, taking it through the 2013 broadcast season. Featuring an ensemble cast made up of Josh Radnor, Jason Segel, Alyson Hannigan, Cobie Smulders and Neil Patrick Harris, the show debuted on CBS in September 2005 and has since developed a loyal following.

Prepare to meet the Mother.

How I Met Your Mother, currently in its eighth season on CBS, is nearing a deal for a ninth and most likely final run to air during the 2013-14 season. News of a pickup was announced with a Saturday tweet from the series' production account, but The Hollywood Reporter has since learned that the green light most likely won't come until after the Christmas holiday weekend. Representatives from the network and 20th Century Fox Television declined to comment.

This comes after months of co-creators and co-showrunners Craig Thomas and Carter Bays saying that they were approaching the series' natural end.

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"I don't feel like we altered it because of not knowing if it's the end," Thomas said of the recent premiere. "We're writing this season like it's the end. We'll have to have a Plan A and a Plan B going, and we're approaching the moment where those plans diverge."

As this season inched closer to that moment, one of the last remaining details in securing the pickup for nine was renewing contracts with all five of the cast members: Alyson Hannigan, Neil Patrick Harris, Josh Radnor, Jason Segel and Cobie Smulders.

Logistically, the showrunners have also had to consider the narrative's central and often restrictive timeline -- which leads up to Radnor's character meeting the titular mother of his children. The show had received a two-season pickup in 2011 that brings it through this spring.

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How I Met Your Mother has been one of CBS' most dependable ratings performers since it premiered in 2005. And though it is currently down compared to this time last year, the 2011-12 season broke series records.

Season eight is currently averaging a 3.1 rating among adults 18-49 and just over 8 million viewers on Monday nights. It does get one of broadcast TV's most significant DVR boosts, however, growing 35 percent to a 4.2 adults rating in Live+7 ratings.

Email: Michael.OConnell@THR.com; Twitter: @MikeyLikesTV