How I Met Your Mother: Here’s Why The Sitcom Ended With Season 9 (Was It Canceled?)

How I Met Your Mother concluded in 2014, and here’s why the CBS put an end to the sitcom after season 9. Created by Carter Bays and Craig Thomas, the series debuted in the fall of 2005 before emerging as a highlight on the network’s primetime programming schedule. After starting strong in ratings, viewership dipped a bit, but as time went on, How I Met Your Mother increased in ratings despite growing criticism. So why was the hit sitcom canceled?

How I Met Your Mother primarily focused on Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor), a twenty-something on the journey to find “the One.” To push the plot along, the series used a future version of Ted telling his two kids the story about how he met their mother. This “Mother” served as a mysterious figure throughout the series. After following multiple chapters of Ted’s life, as well as the lives of his closest friends, the series finally introduced the Mother (Cristin Milioti) in the season 8 finale. The character, named Tracy McConnell, became a series regular for season 9, joining the original cast that surprisingly remained on the series for the long duration.

Related: How I Met Your Mother: Why Lily Disappeared In Season 4

Even though How I Met Your Mother was generally well-received for the majority of its run, the creators had back-up plans ready if the sitcom got canceled. With the sitcom’s increase in popularity, thanks in part to syndication, the “plan B” scenarios never came to fruition. That said, there was a belief among the cast and crew that season 8 would be the show’s last. CBS then granted the series a ninth season, which would be the last. This allowed Bays and Thomas to go down a new creative path that featured Tracy as a major piece of the puzzle. Technically, the sitcom wasn’t canceled, and instead, those involved felt like it was time for the characters’ stories to come to an end.

Before How I Met Your Mother was renewed for season 9, the cast started to look at the next chapters of their careers. When a new season got the green light, the network had to renegotiate with the cast, which didn’t go smoothly. A few cast members had already shifted focus to movies, including Cobie Smulders and Jason Segel, the latter of which became the last to sign on for the ninth and final season. It would have been odd for Segel to be absent for the concluding installment, but thankfully, everyone came to an agreement for the last hurrah.

Viewers were eager to learn more about the titular Mother, but the sitcom took a lot of risks in season 9. Not only did it follow a non-linear format, but the 24 episodes took place over three days. The decision-making was criticized, and that was the case with Tracy’s death. Due to the high expectations, How I Met Your Mother‘s series finale wound up being highly controversial. The series put it all on the line since it was coming to an end regardless, but maybe Bays and Thomas should have gone with one of the back-up plans.

Next: How I Met Your Mother’s Divisive Ending Could’ve Worked (With ONE Small Change)

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