The following contains spoilers from Season 2, Episode 5 of How I Met Your Father.
This just in: Sandy Rivers is back.
Tuesday’s How I Met Your Father marks the first appearance by Alexis Denisof — the sixth How I Met Your Mother vet to reprise his role on the Hulu spinoff. During the episode, the sleazy newsman reveals that he’s been demoted to World Wide News’ entertainment beat “because of some unproven accusations — which, even if true, would be perfectly legal in the states in which the alleged incidents took place.”
Denisof, who’s married to HIMYM star (and former Buffy the Vampire Slayer castmate) Alyson Hannigan, appeared in several episodes of the CBS comedy. He was first introduced as Robin’s Metro News 1 coanchor late in Season 1, then returned in Season 6 once she went to work at WWN. During Season 9, Ted revealed that Sandy’s workplace misconduct would eventually catch up with him and end his news career in America. But our narrator never said when Sandy would be exiled and forced to find work in Russia, thus affording HIMYF the chance to bring him back.
“He’s [still] on his way down,” HIMYF co-creator Isaac Aptaker tells TVLine, confirming that Sandy’s stint on Good Day Live predates his time in Moscow. “The original show was ahead of its time ‘cancelling’ Sandy.”
And if fellow co-creator Elizabeth Berger has her way, Sandy will be on the entertainment beat a while longer. “He was wonderful, and we’d love to have him back if the opportunity ever presents,” she says. “It feels like it probably will.”
Although Aptaker and Berger never worked on HIMYM, the former This Is Us showrunners bore an industry connection to Denisof and Hannigan: The recently ended NBC drama rented out the couple’s former residence to serve as Rebecca’s dream home. “Their house at the time was our final Mandy Moore resting place, and it’s this beautiful place,” Berger exclaims. But funnily enough, the producers didn’t meet Denisof until he showed up for work on HIMYF. “It was fun to meet him in an entirely different capacity on this show,” Berger recalls. Adds Aptaker: “Yeah, finally meeting Alexis for the first time and saying, ‘Hey, I spent, like, many, many days in your kitchen. You weren’t there, but thank you!'”
Denisof’s cameo follows previous guest appearances by Kyle MacLachlan (as George Van Smoot aka The Captain), Laura Bell Bundy (as “Boats! Boats! Boats!” Becky), Carl Nieves (as Carl the Bartender), Cobie Smulders (as Robin Scherbatsky) and Neil Patrick Harris (as Barney Stinson). For a complete rundown of the spinoff’s HIMYM Easter eggs, click here.