We've almost reached the end of the upfronts, when TV networks present their fall schedules to advertisers, and there are a few pilots that have yet to be given series orders, including one previously thought to be a sure thing. NBC and Fox have announced their fall lineups, including the new series they've picked up, but ABC and CBS are keeping us, and some hopeful shows, waiting. One such show is How I Met Your Dad, the How I Met Your Mother sort of spinoff starring Greta Gerwig. After the nine-season success of HIMYM, CBS should be clamoring for a sequel, yet for some reason, the network has still not picked up How I Met Your Dad. Could it be because of the negative backlash surrounding the HIMYM finale?
For many fans, the series finale was a slap in the face, undoing years of character development and using the mother as more of a plot device than an actual character. Maybe with its polarizing end, HIMYM killed more than the mother (too soon?), it took down How I Met Your Dad too. It seems to be the most logical explanation for CBS, who just cancelled three comedies, in addition to losing HIMYM in March, and could surely use a few more.
Let's look at the evidence and see whether it's safe to blame the HIMYM finale for CBS' How I Met Your Dad skepticism.
CBS ordered the pilot for How I Met Your Dad way back in November, when HIMYM was going strong in the middle of its final season. Clearly, the network was interested in continuing to work with HIMYM's co-creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas and in finding a suitable replacement for the original series.
It's not like How I Met Your Dad is lacking talent. As the main character, essentially the spinoff's Ted, Greta Gerwig isn't exactly an A-list star, but she's starred in many films and has her share of fans. The future-set narration is supposed to be voiced by Meg Ryan in her first TV role, while the supporting cast shares some notable credits.
There is definitely potential within the cast, especially when you consider the HIMYM cast's status at the series' beginning. Alyson Hannigan was known from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Jason Segel from the shortlived Freaks and Geeks and Undeclared, but that was really it. For Neil Patrick Harris, HIMYM was his comeback after gaining childhood fame with Doogie Howser, M.D., while Cobie Smulders and Josh Radnor were essentially unknowns. If they were able to get their pilot picked up, How I Met Your Dad's stars should easily be able to.
It's not like HIMYM went out on a bad note financially. The series finale had an audience of 12.9 million, while the rest of the final season varied from about 7 million to 9 million viewers. From the network's perspective, HIMYM was very successful at the end, which obviously influenced their decision to order a spinoff pilot. Nothing has changed since then, so why suddenly hesitate to give How I Met Your Dad a chance?
Well, one thing changed. Even if fans became frustrated in the later years of HIMYM, as many fans do when series stretch on, the ratings show that they all tuned in to finally see Ted meet the mother and what their life together would look like. When that life turned out to be much shorter than they'd hoped, only for Ted to get back together with Robin after literally years of evidence against them, many fans were understandably outraged.
With everything else relating to How I Met Your Dad remaining the same, it seems that this backlash has to be a major contributing factor to the series' uncertain future. If the key audience for How I Met Your Dad, HIMYM fans, are unhappy with the original series, why would they watch its spinoff? They probably lost their trust in Thomas and Bays, and don't want to get invested in new characters just to be disappointed again.
Someone at CBS feels the same way and is concerned with the future of How I Met Your Dad following the disappointment of so many potential viewers. If How I Met Your Dad does receive a series order from CBS within the next few days, it will likely only be for a few episodes. The spinoff needs to prove that it can stand on its own and won't let fans down the way its predecessor did.
Images: CBS, mayanrocks