Category: How I Met Your Mother

Late Night: Neil Patrick Harris tells Letterman who the mother is

LeadFor seven seasons now, the CBS sitcom "How I Met Your Mother" has kept its millions of viewers in suspense regarding its central mystery. As star Neil Patrick Harris confessed to David Letterman on "The Late Show" Wednesday night, fans are getting a little impatient for an answer.

"I feel like at this point it's time to reveal already who the damned mother is," he admitted.

"Do people complain about that?" Letterman asked.

"All the time. So tonight I should announce who the mother is," Harris said, adding, "It's because I love your show that I will do this."

As the audience at the Ed Sullivan Theater waited with bated breath, Harris finally revealed the show's closely guarded secret: "The mother on the CBS show 'How I Met Your Mother': Oprah Winfrey."

This should certainly make for an interesting Season 8. 


Show Tracker coverage of "How I Met Your Mother" 

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-- Meredith Blake

Photo: Neil Patrick Harris Credit: Liz O. Baylen / Los Angeles Times

SAG Awards: TV surprises and snubs

Melissa McCarthy of "Mike and Molly" and Showtime drama "Homeland" were surprisingly among the missing when the nominees for the 18th Screen Actors Guild Awards were announced
Melissa McCarthy of "Mike and Molly" and the Showtime drama "Homeland" were among the huge raves of the TV season, but both were surprisingly among the missing when the TV nominees for the 18th Screen Actors Guild Awards were announced.

McCarthy scored an upset in September when she won an Emmy for lead actress in a comedy series for the CBS sitcom, but on Wednesday she was left out of SAG Awards' outstanding performance by a female actor in a comedy series category (though she did get a movie nod for "Bridesmaids"). Those nominees include Julie Bowen and Sofia Vergara ("Modern Family"), Edie Falco ("Nurse Jackie"), Tina Fey ("30 Rock") and Betty White ("Hot in Cleveland").

Other prominent actresses that were omitted included Amy Poehler ("Parks and Recreation"), Zooey Deschanel ("New Girl"), Laura Linney ("The Big C"), Laura Dern ("Enlightened") and Christina Applegate ("Up All Night").

 PHOTOS: SAG Awards top nominees

Meanwhile, Ed O'Neill and Jesse Tyler Ferguson were the only adult cast members of "Modern Family" who did not score an individual SAG nod. In addition to Bowen's and Vergara's nods, Eric Stonestreet and Ty Burrell were nominated for outstanding performance by a male actor in a comedy series. O'Neill and Ferguson were included in the comedy ensemble nomination for "Modern Family."

Also missing among major actors in the comedy categories were Jim Parsons ("The Big Bang Theory"), Neil Patrick Harris ("How I Met Your Mother") and Louis C.K. ("Louie").

"Homeland," starring Claire Danes ("Temple Grandin"), Damian Lewis and Mandy Patinkin, has been one of the critical highlights of the season, but the show and its performers were left out of the nominations.

A major surprise in the drama category was the nomination of Patrick J. Adams in USA's "Suits." Lewis beat out more well-known performers, such as Hugh Laurie ("House") and Kelsey Grammer ("Boss").

Who do you think should have been nominated? Vote in the poll below or let us know in the comments.


The complete list of nominees

Complete list of TV nominations

 PHOTOS: SAG Awards top nominees

-- Greg Braxton 

Photo: Damien Lewis and Claire Danes in "Homeland." Credit: Kent Smith / Showtime

Martin Short joining 'How I Met Your Mother'

Marty Martin Short, who portrayed numerous wacky characters on "SCTV" and his Jiminy Glick series on Comedy Central, is joining the cast of CBS' "How I Met Your Mother."

Short is slated to play the boss of Marshall Eriksen (Jason Segel) at an environmental law film during a multi-episode arc.

Though mostly known for his comedic turns, Short last season played a dramatic role on "Damages" and has also done other dramatic work on "Law & Order: Criminal Intent."


Full coverage: 'How I Met Your Mother'

Photos: The women in Ted's 'mother' journey

Alyson Hannigan defends much-attacked finale

-- Greg Braxton

 Photo credit: Mike Nelson / EPA

Alyson Hannigan defends much-attacked season finale of 'How I Met Your Mother'

Alysonhannigan This post has been corrected. See note at bottom for details.

Alyson Hannigan, who plays Lily on the CBS sitcom "How I Met Your Mother," says she doesn't quite understand the widespread negative reaction to last week's Season 6 finale. 

Among the many revelations: After many tries with husband Marshall (Jason Segal), Lily announced she's finally pregnant, although she initially misinterpreted her nausea as stemming from food poisoning. Fans also learned, courtesy of a flash-forward, that longtime hound dog Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris) has a wedding in his future. But even as the episode began to set up some intriguing plot developments, many critics and Twitterati slammed the finale, with one saying the handling of the various intertwined plot strands made him "incredibly dubious" about the show's future.

"I think people never like a cliffhanger," Hannigan said in a phone interview Monday. "But they do, they just say they don't." Most of the reaction from her fans on her own Twitter feed, she added, has been positive.

Hannigan says that producers Carter Bays and Craig Thomas sat with the cast and mapped out the entire season in advance last year, leaving a few important parts unexplained. "We were like, well, who's getting married and they had told us it was Barney," Hannigan said. "But they didn't tell us who the bride was, and we were like, 'Whaaat?'"

But there's still plenty of wiggle room for characters the future. "You never know with Barney, right?," she said.

During her hiatus, Hannigan is taking time off to help out a favorite charity, the Mom's Night Out campaign from online marketplace StubHub, which encourages mothers to attend 17 different summer events, with proceeds going to the Adopt-a-Classrom education program. But she's headed back to work in midsummer, as last week CBS picked up another season of "Mother."

Maybe then the producers can explain why Lily makes odd velociraptor noises when she's sick -- one of the other revelations from the season finale.

"I make some sort of crazy noises when I chew, which I think might also be dinosaur noises," Hannigan said. "I guess Lilly is just prehistoric."

Trackers, what do you think of "Mother" and its season finale?

For the record, 6:10 p.m. May 23: An earlier version of this post identified StubHub as a ticket brokerage. The company describes itself as an online marketplace similar to eBay, its parent company.


"How I Met Your Mother" recap

-- Scott Collins (

Photo: Alyson Hannigan this month in Los Angeles. Credit: John Shearer / Getty Images.



'How I Met Your Mother' recap: Out with the old, in with the new


Oh, "How I Met Your Mother," you tease. Although the outcome of the Lily-and-Marshall (Alyson Hannigan and Jason Segel) story line was pretty obvious and I felt confident that Ted (Josh Radnor) would not get back together with Zoey (Jennifer Morrison), the show really did keep me guessing about Robin (Cobie Smulders) and Barney (Neil Patrick Harris). The two of them spent most of the episode trying to stop Ted's and Zoey's reconciliation, but their journey also led them to reexamine their own relationship. On the cab ride to Brooklyn, they mused over how horrible a couple Ted and Zoey were. "Almost as bad as us," Barney said. "We were a mess," Robin replied. She could see why Ted might want to go back to Zoey. "No matter how bad things go"  -- a loaded pause -- "Ted really did love Zoey there for a minute there, didn't he?" Ted was clearly a substitute for Barney and Zoey was Robin, but it was still really wonderful to see such a vulnerable moment from Robin. Barney smiled before replying, "Yeah, he did. And she loved him too, didn't she?" You bet she did.

That might have been one of my favorite Barney-and-Robin scenes. It was a nice acknowledgment of their relationship -– almost a validation -– and featured unusually soft and emotional interplay for the pair. It's not often we get to see them discussing their feelings so openly (even if they didn't use their own names) and simply. Remember how complicated it was when they dated? This was simple and lovely. I wish we'd seen more of this and less of the "mess."

Alas, the foreshadowing didn't bode well for Robin and Barney, whose new motto is, "New is always better." When they finally tackled Ted to the ground, Robin tried to persuade him not to go into the coffee shop to meet Zoey. "The future is scary, but you can't run back to the past because it's familiar," she said, but she was looking at Barney, who added, "It's a mistake." No, sometimes, it really isn't, you guys! Get it together, please! But then Barney ran into Nora, who is also part of his past. So does that mean old is better? Or are they doomed if they get back together? Also of interesting note, Nora was wearing a sundress. "And here I thought it was too late for sundresses," Barney said. "It's never too late," she replied. You know who else was wearing a sundress? Robin at the beginning of the season. Is that another hint it's not too late for Robin and Barney? Will Nora make Barney realize he's meant to be with Robin? Is she the bride in the mystery wedding reveal that Barney's getting married. Whoever it is, Barney's getting married! Talk about huge character growth. I'm not quite sure Robin is in a place yet where she wants to get married. Maybe next season, which executive producer Craig Thomas said will feature more Robin, will show us her journey in getting there.

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'How I Met Your Mother' recap: Breaking up is hard to do

“We're done here.” I think the word that was missing there as Zoey (Jennifer Morrison) and Ted (Josh Radnor) broke up on this week's “How I Met Your Mother” was, “finally!” Like Robin (Cobie Smulders), we knew the relationship was doomed, but getting there has been a long, often frustrating journey. Zoey and Ted's differences shadowed them like a black cloud to the point where you could see very few rays of hope. At this point, I can't even remember what, besides a love of architecture and the Arcadian -- which they can't even agree on -- they have in common. Is Zoey even a “Star Wars” fan? I'm pretty sure that's a prerequisite for Ted's future wife.

Ted didn't share any of my qualms about the possible would-be Mrs. Mosby. When Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) accused him of switching sides for a girl and her “magic lady bits,” Ted only argued with him a little before admitting that he was doing it for the girl he's in love with. “There's a very good chance Zoey might be the mother of my children,” he said. Negative, Ted, but he didn't know any better. Ted started to show concern for Barney when he found out Arthur would fire him and Barney if he stood up for the Arcadian. Working at GNB, doing stuff -- “What does Barney do at GNB?” Lily (Alyson Hannigan) asked -- is Barney's dream job, so Ted paused. I had to wonder if this was all really worth ruining his friendship with Barney. Yes, he's in love with Zoey, but she's come between him and his first loves, his friends, in a pretty big away. Is losing them worth keeping her?

Robin presented Ted with three scenarios for how it could all turn out: 1.) He says the Arcadian should not be a landmark, and Zoey breaks up with him. 2.) He says it should be a landmark, and he's happy until he starts resenting Zoey. 3.) The Captain hires a ninja to assassinate Ted with a dart before he can answer. Any way you cut it, “You and Zoey are going to break up,” Robin explained, so wasn't it worth saving his friendship with Barney and Barney's job instead? But it took a visit from Barney dressed as the ghost of the Arcadian architect during a dream to convince Ted that the building had to go.

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'How I Met Your Mother' recap: The cockamouse returns

There's a random B-plot from the first season of “How I Met Your Mother” that makes me laugh like no other: The half cockroach, half mouse creature known as the cockamouse. A while back, CBS tweeted that a beloved character from Season 1 was returning. I'm pretty sure they were referring to the cockamouse's appearance in this week's episode. It all started with Zoey (Jennifer Morrison) hiring Marshall (Jason Segel) to save the Arcadian, thereby turning Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) and Marshall against each other, which is a surefire way to make an already difficult character even harder to like. You don't mess with the group dynamic, Zoey.

After being harassed by Barney, Marshall declared war and began to sabotage his hookups. One example: Marshall posed as a doctor and alerted Barney to the fact that his crabs have super herpes in front of a girl! You know things have gone from playful to serious, though, when Marshall and Barney get into a physical fight, getting the entire group banned from their beloved McLarens. Robin (Cobie Smulders) and Lily (Alyson Hannigan) hatch a plan to ply them with specific types of alcohol to elicit certain reactions. Gin gets them fighting instead of giving each other the silent treatment. Whiskey makes the subtext into text. Marshall explains how his dad's death has made him interested in preservation. Barney points out his abandonment issues, which Marshall isn't helping by leaving him for Zoey's side. Then come the daiquiris, which makes them in love with how pretty they are, followed by tequila shots at McLarens, which makes them...I'm not exactly sure what. How about drunk out of their minds? But they patch it up over beer. Lily's celebratory champagne the night before was one drink too many. They blacked out and forgot about their reconciliation.

This was an interesting storyline for Marshall and Barney, although the alcohol aspect of it seemed almost extraneous and overdone. But I did like Robin's absinthe fantasies and Barney on red wine, which gives him sad clarity (“I'm a B+. … I'm OK with that.”). I don't think we've ever seen Marshall and Barney fight like this before. Ted (Josh Radnor) and Barney, yes, during the Robin fiasco, but Marshall and Barney have never had a falling out quite like this. The conflict seemed to rise naturally out of their own issues as emphasized by whiskey, but it was hard not to blame Zoey for it a little. Even harder so when she didn't appear to be very upset by what she was doing to their friendship.

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'How I Met Your Mother' recap: How Barney learned to stop partying and settle down

Despite the title of this week's “How I Met Your Mother” – “Hopeless” – it seems things are not hopeless for Barney (Neil Patrick Harris), who has a real epiphany about his life. Barney decides to bust Jerry (John Lithgow) out of the suburbs and take him on a wild night out on the town. For the purposes of the evening, he's constructed new, cooler identities for his friends. Lily (Alyson Hannigan) and Marshall (Jason Segel) now have an open marriage while Marshall is a womanizing playwright. Robin (Cobie Smulders) is a professional Scotch taster who's dating Ted (Josh Radnor). “Oh man! Why?!” Robin whines. She, like viewers, must be getting tired of the show pulling out the Ted/Robin card every year just to mess with us. Barney explains that he can't have any single female friends because then his dad will be like, “Why don't you marry Robin? You guys were cut together. Deep down you know you were never happier than when you were with her.” Robin looks a little surprised, but the scene quickly moves on. Still, this little moment seems very loaded with possibility. Is that Barney's subconscious speaking about his true feelings for Robin, the things he can't even admit to himself? Is it foreshadowing that Robin and Barney are the ones getting married in the premiere wedding?

After a lengthy argument about where to go, filled with club names like Was, Lame, Open that really reminded me of the episode “Okay Awesome,” everyone ends up at Hopeless. Barney exclaims that he wants to hang out with Crazy Jerry, who told him to “never stop partying” when he was 6, not lame suburban Jerry. So Jerry downs a few shots and lets loose, but being a bit older, he does so in an incredibly embarrassing way that includes wearing his tie around his head and calling the club a disco. “This is awesome!” says Barney. “I finally know what it's like to be embarrassed by my dad.” The two take the party to the streets, where Jerry rips a parking meter out of the ground, gets into an argument, and throws up on a police car. As Jerry and Barney sit on the curb in handcuffs, Jerry reveals that he's not really drunk. It was all a sleight-of-hand aided by the fact that “a magician’s best friend is a drunk audience.” Jerry thought if he could show Barney what it's like when you try to make the party go on forever, he'd realize he can't do this forever.

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'How I Met Your Mother' recap: Screaming matches and meatball subs

As “How I Met Your Mother” nears the end of its season — there are just four episodes left!— the issues that have been lying dormant in Ted (Josh Radnor) and Zoey's (Jennifer Morrison) relationship are starting to surface. Since becoming friends and then something more, the two have been getting along pretty well even though they were on opposite sides at the beginning of the season. Although future Ted confirmed their inevitable breakup, things had been going pretty smoothly for the couple. But executive producer Craig Thomas teased to me that their issues regarding the Arcadian would complicate their relationship. It was nice to finally see that brought up onscreen with this week's episode.

But the Arcadian is not the only thing Ted and Zoey argue about. Lily (Alyson Hannigan) brings up their constant screaming matches, which Ted calls “growing matches.” They dispute everything: Sex moves, who should hang up first, even “Tommy Boy.” Not everybody can be “one hermaphroditic blob” like Lily and Marshall (Jason Segel). Lily's response: “Marshall and I have been together for 15 years, and the only debate we've had about 'Tommy Boy' is whether it's awesome or super awesome. That's love, bitch.”

When Marshall finally quits his job and takes a nonpaid position saving the environment, Lily is completely supportive. Ted thinks her giant anime eyes give away the truth: She's not OK with Marshall's choice. Lily counters that his feminine mouth gives away his true feelings. It's saying, “Zoey, why can't I be on top just this once?” Lily mimics in a little-girl voice, which actually kind of sounds like an anime character. But they're still friends, so she admits that even though Ted and Zoey's relationship is different, that doesn't mean it's not right.

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'How I Met Your Mother': Executive producer Craig Thomas reflects on Ted's many loves

Himym How many women does it take to get to the mother on “How I Met Your Mother”?

That's the question on the mind of some eager-to-know fans of the CBS sitcom. By our count, it's a lot and counting. Although a romantic at heart, Ted (Josh Radnor) has had a bevy of love interests. Some, like Robin (Cobie Smulders), Stella (Sarah Chalke) and current love Zoey (Jennifer Morrison), were serious girlfriends. Others were fleeting encounters or brief relationships. And then there's the string of pop star, one-episode love interests: Katy Perry, Carrie Underwood, Britney Spears, Mandy Moore.

“If you start to count all the ladies that Ted’s been with, Ted starts to look like a bit of a man whore,” executive producer Craig Thomas tells Show Tracker.

Click on the photo (above) to see a gallery of the women in Ted's journey to the mother and to read Thomas' thoughts.

We asked Thomas to look back at some of those ladies for a gallery featuring the women on Ted's journey to the mother. But with so many ladies, we couldn't include everyone. Still, we think of you fondly, Natalie (Anne Dudek), Cathy (Lindsay Price), Holli (Rebecca Budig), Blah Blah (Abigail Spencer), Margaret (Brooke D'Orsay), Vicky (Courtney Ford), Jen (Lindsay Sloane), Royce (Judy Greer), Becky (Laura Bell Bundy), mysterious Love Solutions match and many, many others.

“We prefer not to add them all up, to be honest. It starts to look a little sketchy for our Ted,” says Thomas with a laugh. “We sort of started comparing, like, 'Have we seen Ted be with more women than Barney, if you were to add it all up? Or is it like more neck-and-neck than you would think?'”

Like the saying goes, you've got to kiss a lot of toads to find your prince. Or in this case, you've got to have a lot of love interests to find your mother on what is essentially a romantic comedy/scavenger hunt TV series. “You do 130-some odd episodes of a show about dating, you’re definitely going to see a lot of ladies,” laughs Thomas.

Complete “How I Met Your Mother” coverage on Showtracker

— Vlada Gelman (follow my TV musings on Twitter at @stayingin)

Photo: Mandy Moore as Amy on "How I Met Your Mother." Credit: Monty Brinton / CBS.

'How I Met Your Mother': Robin's got a crush on Michael Trucco

NUP_140766_0228 Things are getting a little more romantically complicated on “How I Met Your Mother,” but it has nothing to do with the mother. Michael Trucco will appear as a potential love interest for Robin (Cobie Smulders) in an upcoming episode, CBS confirms.

Trucco will play Robin's often discussed but never before seen crush from years earlier in the April 18 episode, TV Guide Magazine first reported. The character has the potential to come back next season despite the fact that Trucco is currently on USA Network's “Fairly Legal.”

During a recent interview, Show Tracker asked executive producer Craig Thomas what's in store for Robin next season. Earlier this month, executive producer Carter Bays told AOL TV that “there's going to be a lot of Robin next season.”

“There were a bunch of huge, emotional arcs going on for the other characters in Season 6, so Robin’s stories were more light and funny,” Thomas replied. “Next season, we intend to dig into Robin’s emotional life more, while, hopefully, sacrificing none of the funny.”

Sounds like Robin is getting a meaty romantic storyline for next season. To complicate matters even further, Nazanin Boniadi is set to return as Nora in the May 16 season finale. Could Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) and Nora be the ones walking down the aisle? Is she just Barney's date to the wedding? Will there even be a wedding?

In other casting news, CBS confirms that Chi McBride (“Pushing Daisies”) and Dave Foley (“Kids in the Hall") will appear in the finale as a construction foreman working on the new GNB tower and Marshall's potential new boss, respectively.

Show Trackers, are you looking forward to digging deeper into Robin next year? What do you think of Trucco as a love interest for Robin? And how perfectly awesome is the casting of the hilarious Chi McBride and Dave Foley?

Complete “How I Met Your Mother” coverage on Showtracker

— Vlada Gelman (follow my TV musings on Twitter at @stayingin)

Photo: Michael Trucco on “Fairly Legal.” Credit: Alan Zenuk / USA Network.

'How I Met Your Mother' recap: 'The mother of all fathers'

100217_D0459b Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) finally met his father, Jerry (John Lithgow), on tonight's “How I Met Your Mother,” but it didn't go as Barney expected. In Barney's imagination, his dad left him because he was living an awesome, legendary life of excess. That's the only way Barney can justify his absence. But the person who shows up at Barney's door is nothing like that. Barney lies to the gang and tells them Jerry is “the mother of all fathers.” He ordered the same drink as Barney, picked up a chick in five seconds – that's still too long for Jerry though, who rips up the number, proclaiming, “Life’s too short for chatty chicks” – and travels the world with rock bands. He invites Barney along, who replies, “This is going to be the second most fun I've had on an Asian leg.” It's legen – wait for it – daddy. Except that Jerry isn't anything like that. In reality, he's a skim milk drinking, acid reflux suffering driving instructor with a family in the suburbs. Props have to be given to Lithgow, who gave great comedic distinction to the two versions of Jerry.

Barney wants nothing to do with this lame version of Jerry and ignores his calls, forcing the gang to stage an intervention at Ted's (Josh Radnor) house, which seems to be coming along nicely. Marshall (Jason Segel) lays on the “I'll never talk to my dad again”guilt and convinces Barney to have dinner with Jerry and his family, who live just 10 minutes away. (So Ted and Barney's dad will one day live in the same neighborhood? Random.) Barney immediately falls into bickering sibling mode with Jerry's son J.J., fighting him for Jerry's attention and ribbing the young boy (“What gym do you go to?” “4th period.” “Sounds like you're having your fourth period.”). But when Jerry reveals that J.J. is named after him, Barney storms out and attempts to take the basketball hoop off the garage door.

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