How I Met Your Mother is an American sitcom that premiered on CBS on September 19, 2005, created by Craig Thomas and Carter Bays.
As a framing device, the main character, Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor) with narration by Bob Saget, in the year 2030 recounts to his son and daughter the events that led to his meeting their mother, which explains the title and allows for a narration in the past tense. How I Met Your Mother follows Ted alongside his friends Marshall Eriksen (Jason Segel), Robin Scherbatsky (Cobie Smulders), Lily Aldrin (Alyson Hannigan) and Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris).
How I Met Your Mother has been a critical success, and has received consistently strong ratings throughout its run. It has won five Emmy Awards, including a nomination for "Outstanding Comedy Series" in 2009. In 2011, CBS announced that the series had been renewed for an additional two seasons, making the current count eight.
The seventh season of the series was announced in March 2011, along with confirmation of an eighth season, and premiered on September 19, 2011, with back-to-back episodes.
How I Met Your Mother was inspired by Bays's and Thomas's idea to "write about their friends and the stupid stuff they did in New York". The two drew from their friendship in creating the characters, with Ted based loosely on Bays, and Marshall and Lily based loosely on Thomas and his wife. Thomas's wife Rebecca was initially reluctant to have a character based on her, but agreed if they could get Alyson Hannigan to play her. Fortunately, Hannigan was available, and was looking to do more comedy work.
The bar MacLaren's, in which some of the show is set, is based on a bar in New York City called McGee's. It has a mural that Carter Bays and Craig Thomas both liked and wanted to incorporate into the show. The name for the bar is from Carter Bays's assistant, Carl MacLaren; the bartender in the show is also called Carl.
Usually each episode is shot over three days (most sitcoms are typically shot in a single day) in the Los Angeles based Soundstage Studio 22 and features upwards of 50 scenes with quick transitions and flashbacks. The laugh track is later created by recording an audience being shown the final edited episode. Co-creator Thomas claims shooting in front of a live audience would be impossible, and doing so "would blur the line between 'audience' and 'hostage situation'". Later seasons started filming in front of an audience on occasion when smaller sets are used.
The theme song is a portion of "Hey Beautiful" by The Solids, of which Bays and Thomas, the two co-creators of the show, are members. Episodes from the first season generally started with the opening credits. A cold opening has been used since season two. Viewers then occasionally see Ted's children on a couch and hear him talking to them, telling the story of how he met their mother. Alternatively, scenes from previous episodes or shots of New York City with Ted narrating over the top are shown. Thomas has explicitly said Future Ted is an unreliable narrator since he is trying to tell a story that happened over 20 years earlier, and therefore tends to recall events incorrectly; this has been a plot point in several episodes such as "The Goat", "Oh Honey","How I Met Everyone Else" and "The Mermaid Theory". Nevertheless, Thomas has also emphasized maintaining a coherent and consistent universe, and trying to avoid continuity errors, based on his experiences of being a fan of other shows.
A scene directly relating to the identity of the mother, involving Ted's future children, was filmed near the beginning of season two for the show's eventual series finale. This was primarily done because the teenage actors portraying them will be adults by the time the final season is shot.
During the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike, How I Met Your Mother shut down production, but once the strike ended the show returned on March 17, 2008, with nine new episodes. A change in timeslot was also announced, to 8:30 ET/7:30 CT, flip-flopping from the summer schedule with The Big Bang Theory. The show was renewed for a fourth season by CBS on May 14, 2008, which premiered on September 22, 2008.
In September 2008, it was announced Lifetime Television purchased the right to rerun How I Met Your Mother at a rate of about $725,000 per episode. The four-year syndication contract stipulated the studio must deliver at least 110 half-hour episodes by the year 2010, and allows for up to eight seasons of the show. At the end of the fourth season only 88 episodes had been produced, and a further 22 episodes were required ensuring there would be a fifth season. On May 19, 2009, the fifth-season renewal was announced. On May 20, 2009, CBS announced How I Met Your Mother would move back to 8 pm, leading into the new comedy Accidentally on Purpose. On January 12, 2010, the show hit the milestone of its 100th episode. It was also announced the series would return for a sixth season on CBS. In response to being syndicated, co-creator Craig Thomas said, "We're thrilled that it will live on in other forms," and they were proud of the show and it was great to see there was a strong desire for it. However, cast members have suggested the show will run for no more than eight seasons.
On September 13, 2010, reruns of the series began airing on local U.S. broadcast television stations and on Chicago-based cable superstation WGN America. Featured in these airings are vanity cards previously unseen in the CBS and Lifetime airings due to marginalized credit sequences used by the two networks. Shown in between the closing credits and the production company credits, these vanity cards show portions of "The Bro Code," a list of rules frequently referenced by Neil Patrick Harris' character, Barney Stinson, on how men should interact with each other, with an emphasis on activities involving pursuing members of the opposite sex. The opening theme song for the syndicated reruns is also slightly edited, running shorter and not using all the pictures seen in the opening montage that runs on DVD and the original CBS broadcasts. The episodes, too, are edited, leaving out small details.
One of the series' ongoing traditions involves giving guest roles to actors from various Joss Whedon productions, many of whom co-starred with Hannigan on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Carter Bays puts this down to being "huge fans", and those casts representing "a big talent pool".
On March 4, 2011, CBS announced that the show had been renewed for two more seasons, with the seventh season scheduled to air with back-to-back episodes on September 19, 2011.
On July 27, 2011, It was announced that FX has picked up the show for syndication. FX began airing the show on September 5, 2011.