The Flash - CW's spinoff for its successful DC superhero TV series, Arrow - received a series order and will begin airing during the Fall 2014 television season; the other developing spinoffs of established TV shows, however, have not been so fortunate thus far. Just last week, the CW said no to the Supernatural spinoff Supernatural: Bloodlines - and today brings word that CBS is passing on the proposed How I Met Your Mother spinoff program.
The Mother spinoff, How I Met Your Dad, takes place in the same sitcom "universe" as How I Met Your Mother, yet it's overall more standalone in nature than the aforementioned spinoffs. To be exact, the new show focuses on an entirely different set of characters, headed by Sally: a woman who is dealing with the challenges that come with young adulthood, which include her messy love life and arrested development.
It would be more than a bit of an exaggeration to claim that the initial news about How I Met Your Dad moving ahead was received with open arms - even by dedicated fans of How I Met Your Mother (mind you, that happened before the latter show's polarizing series finale aired). However, when indie film star Greta Gerwig - who has played similar "female Peter Pan" types in such movies as Greenberg and Frances Ha, to general critical acclaim - boarded the project to play Sally (followed by Meg Ryan being recruited to narrate the series), it did give the show a booster shot of goodwill. Not enough to win over CBS executives, it would seem.
CBS' decision to pass on How I Met Your Dad - according to the report by THR - stems from the network having issues with the current version of the show's pilot, which was scripted by Emily Spivey (Up All Night) along with How I Met Your Mother creators Craig Thomas and Carter Bays. CBS head Nina Tassler also issued a statement on the decision, in which she mentions that "We tried to work out about redoing the pilot. That's not happening right now... I'm heartsick; we loved this brand and we love the producers but it didn't work out."
Reshooting a pilot isn't exactly an uncommon practice for television; even a runaway hit sitcom like Big Bang Theory saw its original pilot undergo some major changes, before it was picked up. However, 20th Century Fox and the producers behind How I Met Your Dad were reportedly looking to get a series order commitment, in return for reshooting the pilot - something that CBS wouldn't agree to, for better or worse. Fox is now expected to shop the show around to other networks.
Spinoffs of popular TV shows definitely have a mixed track record; for every Frasier (a spinoff of Cheers) and Angel (the Buffy the Vampire Slayer spinoff) that carves out a legacy of its own, there's at least one Joey (the Friends spinoff) - which never fully escapes the shadow of its predecessor. Could How I Met Your Mother stand apart from the show that "birthed" it? Maybe, but until further notice, it looks as though we may never find out for certain either way.
We'll let you know if How I Met Your Dad gets picked up by another network.