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Charlie Toft

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Charlie Toft used to win awards for book criticism, but decided that reading was too much work. As a TV writer, his specialty is an encyclopedic and possibly unhealthy knowledge of American Idol.

How I Met Your Mother Is Finally A Hit

For several years, How I Met Your Mother was a real anomaly in the CBS roster – one of the few shows on the top-rated network that had real critical acclaim, but also just about its only long-running series that wasn’t a certifiable hit in the ratings. Despite all the Emmy nominations for Neil Patrick Harris, it had always been overshadowed in the CBS Monday lineup by Two and a Half Men and The Big Bang Theory. It has never averaged more than 10 million viewers, or finished in the Nielsen Top 40 for an entire season.

But for reasons unknown, the numbers for How I Met Your Mother are stronger now than they have ever been, something basically unheard of for a series in its seventh season. This is despite the lack of any significant plot movement on the show (though the season finale will apparently feature Barney’s wedding, the event where Future Ted has told us he “meets the mother”), and despite the fact that some critics that once championed HIMYM have turned more skeptical lately.

So what’s going on here? There are a few theories:

  • Some folks who aren’t typical CBS Monday viewers tuned in to see the season premiere of the Sheen-less Two and a Half Men, happened to catch HIMYM in passing, liked what they saw, and stuck around.
  • The overall CBS Monday sitcom lineup has been strengthened – in particular, 2 Broke Girls is doing better at 8:30 than even The Big Bang Theory performed when it aired in that slot.
  • How I Met Your Mother has gained new fans in recent years from people who have caught older episodes in syndication.

This last point seems to be the best explanation. For its entire history on CBS, How I Met Your Mother has aired opposite one of the biggest hits in primetime, Dancing With the Stars. It makes sense that there would be a significant number of people who have missed HIMYM because they typically watch the paso doble-ing on the competition, but happened to catch it for the first time in syndication.

The audience is getting there just in time, because although there has been no official announcement yet, the series is likely to end in May 2013.


Categories: TV

Tags: 2 broke girls, Cbs, Dancing with the stars, How i met your mother, Neil patrick harris, The big bang theory, Two and a half men