Fox’s investigation drama Bones is in uncertain territory as its season draws to a close. While a renewal agreement has not yet been reached, showrunner Hart Hanson says that he’s “confident” that the seventh season will happen.

Hanson spoke with reporters in a conference call and addressed the long wait for a Bones renewal announcement from Fox. “I’m very confident we will come to a deal.” He elaborated on the negotiation timeline, and guessed that a final decision would be made between now and May 15th.

Early summer is a very late time for a major show renewal, but Bones is no stranger to such woes. In 2009, the show was renewed for seasons 5 and 6, and the deal was likewise struck in mid-May.With the show consistently scoring 10 million viewers an episode, Hanson’s confidence seems well-founded.

In related news, star Emily Deschanel’s pregnancy may throw a kink into the potential seventh season. Deschanel is married to writer/actor David Horsby, who’s currently working on the How To Be A Gentleman pilot for NBC. They’re expecting their first child later this year.

With Deschanel’s schedule understandably inflexible, the number of episodes for the 2011-2012 season could be curtailed, or she may simply not appear in several. Hanson kept his options open, stating he wasn’t sure whether a shortened season or an arc without Deschanel’s central character would be preferable.

It’s hard to imagine Bones without, well, Bones (the nickname of Deschanel’s character Dr. Temperance Brennan). It’s likely that the uncertain situation surrounding Deschanel’s availability for filming season 7 is lengthening the negotiation process as haggling over a shorter season intensifies.

Bones has done extremely well for Fox, steadily climbing through the ratings in the last six years. Essentially a CSI-style investigation procedural, the show has proven popular due to its impressive character development, in particular for leads Dr. Brennan and FBI agent Booth (David Boreanaz). A possible Bones spinoff series has been in development for over six months.

Bones airs Thursday nights a 9PM. The sixth season finale is currently scheduled for May 19th.

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Source: TV Guide