It’s official: CBS is moving forward with a How I Met Your Mother spinoff.
Weeks after news of the project leaked, the network on Friday handed out a hefty pilot-production commitment and will film a pilot for How I Met Your Dad, a comedy from Mother co-creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas and Up All Night creator Emily Spivey. The trio will pen the script and executive produce.
The project, which like How I Met Your Mother hails from 20th Century Fox Television, is in the spirit of the flagship series and will tell the story from a female point of view. It’s described as a brand-new story with new characters and a new voice at its center.
Sources tell THR that the plan is to shoot the pilot as a stand-alone — rather than a back-door planted pilot in the final season of CBS’ How I Met Your Mother and it may not bleed into the series finale.
When news of the possible How I Met Your Mother spinoff came in late October, the immediate reaction was not one of overwhelming excitement. Twitter had a brief conniption, mocking the idea, while outlets such as Time even ran criticism under headlines like, “Please Do Not Make a How I Met Your Mother Spinoff.”
For Spivey, How I Met Your Dad comes after the writer inked a two-year overall deal with studio 20th Century Fox following NBC’s well-documented attempts to reboot Up All Night. She was previously attached to Fox’s Murder Police, which the network canceled ahead of its premiere.
How I Met Your Mother, once considered a bubble series for CBS, has become an integral part of its comedy brand in its later years — especially on Monday, where plans for 2 Broke Girls anchoring its comedy block with The Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men on Thursdays have underperformed.
The current season is averaging a 4.5 rating among adults 18-49 and 10.5 million viewers in live-plus-7 ratings — making it CBS’ best Monday performer and one of its youngest-skewing series across the network. In live-plus-same ratings, it has several times this season been Monday’s top scripted performer in the demo, only out-rated by NBC’s The Voice.
How I Met Your Dad becomes CBS’ third comedy pilot for the 2014-15 season, joining The McCarthys and a semi-autobiographical comedy starring Jim Gaffigan. Both projects are being redeveloped after the network passed on both last year.
Spinoffs continue to remain big business for the broadcast networks, which have become increasingly dependent on big name brand recognition and built in audiences in an era of dwindling viewership and increased competition. For its part, ABC is also eyeing a Modern Family spinoff — from 20th Century Fox Television — and The CW has already announced plans for a Flash back-door pilot built in to an upcoming episode of second-year hit Arrow. CBS, meanwhile, is also prepping a New Orleans-set NCIS spinoff, and cabler AMC is readying a Walking Dead spinoff and Breaking Bad prequel.
The CW has found success this season with The Originals, a spinoff of hit The Vampire Diaries, which was just picked up for a full season. ABC, meanwhile, has seen its Wonderland-themed Once Upon a Time spinoff fizzle on Thursdays.
Bays and Thomas are repped by UTA and 3 Arts; Spivey is with UTA and Hansen Jacobson.
Following the announcement, Bays, Thomas and Spivey took to Twitter to share their excitement.
“#HIMYD probably won’t be set in Maclarens — new bar for a new show. And likewise the characters won’t be introduced on #HIMYM,” Bays wrote. “Our hope is that #HIMYD becomes its own magical wonderful weird thing, and the two shows stand on their own side by side.”
“We will not be introducing the new characters on #HIMYM; this will be its own, totally new show,” Thomas wrote.