How I Met Your Mother fans may have another reason to rejoice this holiday season: A ninth season is looking good!
While sources tell E! News that, as of tonight, a deal for season nine has not yet closed, we can also tell you that negotiations have taken a turn in the right direction, according to insiders close to the situation.
We hear the cast has agreed to season nine verbally, but contracts still need to be finalized.
As we reported earlier, Jason Segel (Marshall) was considered to be the biggest holdout among the show's cast, and wasn't expected to sign on for another year. However, sources tell us that Jason has had a change of heart and is now considered to be a lock.
The deal is still being finalized, according to multiple sources, but a ninth season appears imminent.
"Renewal is close and a formal announcement is expected after Christmas," says one source close to the show.
Though CBS won't announce its 2013-14 schedule till May, executive producers Carter Bays and Craig Thomas asked for an early final verdict on season nine in order to prepare for a potential series finale.
"We kind of know what the endgame of the series is," Bays told us. "It's obvious this show is around one central question, so that meeting [of the mother] will be part of the endgame of the show. How much the show will go beyond that, we can't really say one way or the other." Bays also told us that the uncertainty of the show's fate has made it "challenging" to write season eight so far.
How I Met Your Mother has been holding strong in the ratings on Monday nights, particularly in the coveted 18-49 demo.
Here's hoping HIMYM lives on!
(Originally published Dec. 21, 2012 at 8:48 p.m.)