Procedural fans rejoice! Fox’s crime drama Bones will continue sluething for another year. The network confirmed the news in a press release today.

As late as two weeks ago there was worry that negotiations between 20th Century Fox and the production companies that create Bones would fall through. But it seems they’ve got their ducks in a row, and the popular series will return for a seventh year.

May is a very late time to announce a renewal for a series as well-established and steady as Bones. Of course it’s hardly unprecedented, even within Bones’ own history: two years ago the show was renewed for seasons five and six around the same time.

Still unknown is the number of episodes for the new season. With star Emily Deschanel currently expecting a child around the predicted film time, Dr. ‘Bones’ Brennan may have her hands full, resulting in either a protracted season or a significant arc without the main character.

Still, it’s not impossible that the series could stick to its 22-24 episode norm. Catherine Zeta-Jones was pregnant during the filming of Traffic, and Jane Kaczmarek was likewise with child during a season of Malcolm in the Middle, among many others. Both women chose to incorporate their real-life pregnancies into their roles, but it’s hard so see how Deschanel could do the same without the writers bending over backwards.

Bones has been scoring a solid 9-10 million viewers for its sixth season, with 2-3 million in the prime demo. With numbers like that, it would have been notable if Bones hadn’t been renewed. A pair of serial killer episodes were a particular highlight. With such a late renewal, writers, producers and cast may have to work fast to make the standard September premiere date.

Fans hoping for a Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior-style spinoff, enjoy the waiting game. We haven’t heard anything about whether or not The Finder will be picked up for a series.

There are still three episodes left in Bones‘ sixth season, including Thursday night’s “The Signs in the Silence.” The press release included a synopsis for fans:

…a 15-year-old Jane Doe, who is hearing impaired and unable to communicate, is found on the streets covered in blood and wielding a knife, leading the team to believe she is responsible for a recent murder. Meanwhile, Angela keeps Hodgins in the dark regarding the details of her pregnancy.

Bones airs Thursday nights at 9PM on Fox. The season will conclude on May 19th.

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