In the near future, Sophie (Duff) is telling her son the story of how she met his father: a story that catapults us back to the year 2021 where Sophie and her close-knit group of friends are in the midst of figuring out who they are, what they want out of life, and how to fall in love in the age of dating apps and limitless options. According to an individual with knowledge of the project, it remains unclear how/if the new show will tie into the original.
The new series hails from “This Is Us” co-showrunners and “Love, Victor” co-creators Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger, who serve as writers and executive producers on the news series. “How I Met Your Mother” creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas are also onboard as executive producers. Duff will produce in addition to starring, with Adam Londy serving as co-executive producer. 20th Television will produce the new series as it did with the original. Aptaker and Berger are currently under an overall deal at the studio.
“I’ve been incredibly lucky in my career to play some wonderful characters and I’m looking forward to taking on the role of Sophie,” said Duff. “As a huge fan of ‘How I Met Your Mother,’ I’m honored and even a little nervous that Carter and Craig would trust me with the sequel of their baby. Isaac and Elizabeth are brilliant, and I can’t wait to work alongside them and all of their genius. Just fangirling over here getting to join the Hulu Originals and 20th families. I realize these are big shoes to fill and I’m excited to slip my 6 ½’s in there!”
“How I Met Your Mother” aired on CBS for nine seasons and over 200 episodes from 2005-2014. The series starred Josh Radnor, Cobie Smulders, Neil Patrick Harris, Jason Segel, and Alyson Hannigan. Bob Saget provided the voice of the narrator, an older version of Radnor’s character Ted Mosby.
“We are beyond excited to be bringing ‘How I Met Your Father’ to Hulu,” said Aptaker and Berger. “Carter and Craig’s iconic original series revolutionized the half-hour comedy, and we are so honored to be carrying the torch forward for the next generation – and with Hilary Duff no less! We can’t wait for audiences to meet Sophie and her crew, and watch them come into their own and find love in modern-day New York City. And we hope nobody thinks it’s weird that Bob Saget will be playing old Hilary Duff’s voice.”
This is not the first attempt to create a followup to “HIMYM.” CBS ordered a pilot for “How I Met Your Dad” 2013, which starred Greta Gerwig with Meg Ryan attached as the narrator. The project was ultimately not picked up to series.
“Kids, I’m going to tell you an incredible story: It’s the story of how two writers got lucky enough to make their dream TV show for nine seasons and now get to pass the torch to an inspired new creative team with their own incredible story to tell, the story of ‘How I Met Your Father,’” Bays and Thomas said. “We are honored by their passion and vision, and look forward to helping them tell a legendary new story. (Thanks to all the ‘HIMYM’ fans out there who waited for it.)”
The series brings Duff into the Hulu fold after she unsuccessfully lobbied to move the revival of the Disney Channel series “Lizzie McGuire” to the streamer from Disney Plus. Variety previously reported that Duff and series creator Terri Minsky wanted to do a more adult-themed version of the show, whereas Disney wanted something more family friendly. In addition to her role in “Lizzie McGuire,” Duff is known for starring in the critically-acclaimed series “Younger,” which started out airing on TV Land before moving to Paramount Plus for its final season.
Duff was repped by Linden Entertainment and UTA for the deal.
“’How I Met Your Mother’ continues to be one of the most innovative and beloved comedies on television,” said Craig Erwich, president of Hulu Originals and ABC Entertainment. “Isaac and Elizabeth have an inspired take on this new version that honors what Carter and Craig created with the original and moves the franchise forward. Isaac and Elizabeth have proven to be rich storytellers and great partners to us at Hulu Originals and across The Walt Disney Company family. Coupled with the passion and infectious energy Hilary brings to every role she takes on, we can’t wait to suit up and bring audiences ‘How I Met Your Father.’”
With “Younger” ending this season, Duff has been in demand — especially given that the hotly-anticipated “Lizzie McGuire” revival at Disney+ fell through, freeing up her schedule. “Younger” creator Darren Star has been developing a spinoff that would center around Duff’s character, Kelsey Peters. While the spinoff is still in the works — and in the very early stages — a source says that it’s unlikely Duff could do both projects, and “How I Met Your Father” is a big priority for the actor.
“’How I Met Your Mother’ is a crown jewel in the 20th library and its fans have clamored for more ever since our final broadcast seven years ago,” said Karey Burke, president of 20th Television. “Our genius producers Isaac and Elizabeth who are—wait for it—legendary within our halls, have created a spectacular new take which both honors the original and is entirely their own. Carter and Craig will return as executive producers, and who better to star as the central character than the incredible Hilary Duff? Many thanks to Craig Erwich and everyone at Hulu Originals for loving the script as much as we did and to our fantastic team who helped put this all together. I could not be more excited. Let the speculation as to who the father is commence!”
Elizabeth Wagmeister contributed to this report.