Fox has yet to officially renew Bones for the fall, but any possible Season 7 will likely be “curtailed” as the result of pregnant series lead Emily Deschanel being due to deliver in late summer/early fall.
Noting there are still “a lot of decisions to make” as to how to accommodate Deschanel’s pregnancy – Do they write it in? Shoot around it? — Bones executive producer Hart Hanson said in a Monday conference call, “Season 7 would probably be a curtailed season in some respects; we don’t know how much yet.”
I asked Hanson if he meant that Season 7 would simply start production later? Or would there be fewer episodes? Would Deschanel be MIA in some…? His answer: “All of the above.”
Ironically, Bones might have avoided any impact on Season 7 were the show not hung up in renewal talks. “One possibility, if we had enough scripts in the pipeline, would have been to keep [production] going through the summer, and take the hiatus when Emily went to have her baby,” Hanson says. “But we don’t have any scripts… because we haven’t been picked up.”
Instead, Hanson is pondering options such as shooting episodes without Deschanel/Brennan, pausing production all together once she takes maternity leave, or starting late and delivering just “16 or 18 episodes” versus the usual 22.
“I’m ready to pitch a bunch of alternatives to the network, but we haven’t had those conversations yet” because of the renewal talks, Hanson says. “We’ve had creative conversations about how to get out of Season 6, but we haven’t had any… about how to get into Season 7.”
At the end of the day – once Bones is officially picked up – Fox “will weigh in heavily” on how to accommodate Deschanel’s maternity leave. “For example, if we were to do four episodes without her, is the network interested? Or does their testing show that that would hurt the show?” Hanson poses. “I need to be ready for any one of those contingencies.”
(Thus far, as the show finishes filming the Season 6 finale, Hanson says, “We’ve had no cause to show or hide much of Emily.”)
But where do things stand with the Season 7 pickup, anyway? Hanson notes that Bones‘ previous, two-year renewal wasn’t handed down until just before the network’s annual upfront presentation to advertisers, so “anywhere between now and May 15 we will come to a deal. I’m very confident that we will come to a deal.”