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TV Shows Move Full-Speed Ahead

RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

TV production is gearing up in anticipation of an end to the writers strike. Members of the Writers Guild of America today will finish voting on the proposed contract and could be back to work as soon as tomorrow. The writers have been out 14 weeks and the big question is how fast can they get fresh episodes back on the air.

For fans of the CBS sitcom, "How I Met Your Mother," the man with the answer is executive producer and also writer Carter Bays. And he joins us this morning from West Hollywood. Hello. Good morning.

CARTER BAYS: Hey, Renee. How are you?

MONTAGNE: Fine, thank you very much. Well, listen, for people who haven't seen your show, it's about a bunch of people in their 20s in New York making their way through marriage and dating. And we have a little clip here.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER")

Unidentified Man #1 (Actor): (As character) She's going to tell some bogus story about a cooking class, because she's embarrassed we met online.

Unidentified Man #2 (Actor): (As character) Eh, Chihuahua.

Man #1 (Actor): (As character) What?

Unidentified Woman (Actor): (As character) Oh, there's a stigma. That's why people always say there's no stigma anymore.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

MONTAGNE: Now, you co-created "How I Met Your Mother." So are you pretty eager to get back to work?

BAYS: I'm very eager to get back. Yeah. Just hearing that, it's funny. Like, I feel like I haven't like lived or breathed the show in so long. I can't believe we're actually going to get to go back and write it again.

MONTAGNE: For you that could be as early as today.

BAYS: Yeah. Actually, writer-producers of TV shows were allowed to go back to work. And it's really strange, actually. The studio gate that I've been picketing for three months straight, like all of a sudden, like, I'm allowed to drive up there and use my pass and go onto the lot. It was very - I felt a little guilty about it, but, boy, thank goodness it's over.

MONTAGNE: How many more episodes were you supposed to have on the air this season that the strike interrupted, and how many do you expect to actually finish?

BAYS: We had an order of 24. We managed to finish 11 before the strike started. And we're going to try and do eight more this season. So I mean, that'll be 19. It's pretty great to be able to come close to finishing a season.

MONTAGNE: Well, do you expect to have any plot changes? Anything that changes at all, in fact, because you have less time in the season, fewer episodes?

BAYS: Yeah. Yes. I mean, it's definitely - we're definitely up against the wall in breaking all these stories. But also we - when we left - I think for whatever reason none of us really thought we were going on strike - which is a really foolish thing to think, because clearly we did. But the next episode that we had broken, the story figured out, was our big exciting New Year's Eve episode, which is now going to be our big St. Patrick's Day episode. So we have a few little minor changes.

MONTAGNE: Oh, so people ringing in St. Patrick's Day - a leprechaun...

BAYS: Yeah. Yeah, you know, the big countdown to midnight on St. Patrick's Day. Everyone knows about that.

MONTAGNE: But you know, there are a lot of people on your show and on many other shows who were put out of work because of the strike - what are known as below the line staff, like the camera crews...

BAYS: Yeah.

MONTAGNE: ...and the wardrobe people. As the show runner, that is the executive producer and co-creator of this show, is there something you're going to say to them to make sure that they feel like it was worth it to them to lose all of this work alongside the writers?

BAYS: Absolutely. The support we've gotten from them has just been incredible. I mean, it was agonizing to go on strike, but then the great thing was, you know, seeing these familiar faces come out and picket with us, which was really cool to see that kind of support from the people that we were putting out of work. There will be a very big thank you. They had our back, which was really cool.

MONTAGNE: Thank you very much for talking with us.

BAYS: Okay. Thanks a lot, Renee.

MONTAGNE: Carter Bays is executive producer and a writer of the CBS sitcom "How I Met Your Mother," speaking to us from West Hollywood. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.