How I Met Your Father, a spinoff of How I Met Your Mother, which ran for nine seasons on CBS, debuts on Hulu January 18. Hilary Duff stars in the show, set in 2021, when Duff’s Sophie character and her friends are sorting out their lives, and choosing their life partners.
Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger write the show. Executive producers are Aptaker, Berger, Carter Bays, Craig Thomas, Pam Fryman and Adam Londy.
Bays and Thomas created the original series, which had Josh Radnor, Jason Segel, Cobie Smulders and Neil Patrick Harris in the cast.
Duff was on Lizzie McGuire, which began on Disney Channel in 2001, as well as Younger, which was on TV Land. Alongside her in the Father cast are Christopher Lowell, Francia Raisa, Tom Ainsley and Tien Tran. Kim Cattrall is the narrator, a part played by Bob Saget in the original.
“I am so attracted to parts that are extremely relatable, and this one happens to touch on just trying to find love in this world that we live in with all the options that there are and how hard it is to meet someone face‑to‑face,” Duff said at a TCA event. “And the fact that she has this lovely friend circle that kind of comes together in a strange way, it was all just really attractive to me.”
The reviews have not been kind. “Sure, How I Met Your Father is a lot more racially and sexually diverse than the original,” said the Washington Post. “It may superficially appear more like New York, but it doesn’t really feel like … anywhere. If How I Met Your Mother triumphed in finding a balance between capturing the zeitgeist and achieving a timeless quality, How I Met Your Father doesn’t seem to be channeling any era.”
How I Met Your Father is a production of 20th Television. Two episodes are available on launch day.
Aptaker said he began working on the show before This Is Us launched, and when This Is Us, which he executive produces, became a hit, it occupied all of his time. With the NBC drama in its final season, Aptaker started work on Father again.
“We were realizing, ‘Oh, we are about to have some time on our hands. What do we want to do next?’ he said. “And we were, like, ‘Well, we really want that script that we never, sort of, touched.’ And, serendipitously, Hilary was coming up for air off of Younger, and the studio was very clear and vocal with us that ‘We want Hilary's next show. Whatever it is, we want her at Disney Television.’ So, they set up a meeting for us.” ■
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Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.