Hart Hanson, the creator of both “The Finder” and “Bones” on Fox, talks about the pitfalls of running a network show. And one of those pitfalls -- cancellation -- happened earlier this week, with Fox canning "The Finder" after this interview was conducted. The final episode of "The Finder" airs Friday; the "Bones" season finale is next Monday.
Were you surprised by "The Finder’s" performance?
I was hopeful that the “Bones” audience would check it out, but as I said to the network: It’s always tough to explain the “Bones” audience to people.... Every character that we’ve introduced on “Bones” has been roundly hated from the get-go. It took a year for people to like Tamara Taylor (who plays Dr. Camille Saroyan). They didn’t like her. And when John Francis Daley came on, I told him, "Don’t look at Twitter or the message boards for a year because they are going to hate you. You’re coming in to a very tight community." And, so, I thought there was a very good chance that would happen to "The Finder."
And it did. I got a lot of messages saying, "Hey, quit trying to force "The Finder' down our throats." There was no way to explain to people that “The Finder” wasn’t replacing “Bones” -- that Emily [Deschanel] got pregnant and she took some time off to have a baby; “The Finder” wasn’t there to push “Bones” away.
As a show runner in this new age of TV, what do you look at as your measure of success?
I'll tell you, one of things that has been hugely gratifying for me, especially with “The Finder,” was the anecdotal response I've gotten. People talking to me [about “The Finder”] love it. And on “Bones,” the satisfaction was, literally, the fact that we were booked to be dead before the end of the first season and the network moved us around a ton on the schedule — really, a ton. We never had four episodes in a row without being moved or pre-empted — and yet 6 million people followed us wherever. I think it was in Season 3, the network realized it wasn't going to die and thought, “Well, we might as well be nice to it.” And here we are going into Season 8.