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‘Bones’ exec producer Hart Hanson, on tonight's season finale

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Bones_lFox’s Bones concludes its strike-shortened seasontonight, wrapping up the series’ first attempt at a serialized storyline with the unveiling of the skeleton-collecting, cannibalisticGormogon killer and his apprentice. We caught up with exec-producerHart Hanson shortly after it was announced that, in the show’s fourthseason, it would break from it’s Monday-night pairing with House, movingto Wednesdays in the fall and Fridays come January. While he’s hopefulthat the Friday-night placement, meant to help build other shows,won’t happen, and accepted yet another schedule change, Hanson seemedto crave a little stability. (“I would like them to be tossing alltheir effort into making our show a huge hit instead of somethingbetween a huge hit and a cult hit,” he said.) Still, Hanson talked tous about the finale and what went into the planning of this season,answering some PopWatch questions along the way. (Sorry, guys, no wordon if/when David Boreanaz’ Booth and Emily Deschanel’s Bones willfinally hook up.) Read Hanson’s (spoiler-free) remarks below, and check back with us tomorrow, after the big reveal, toread more from Hanson on how they decided who the killer would be andwhat it could mean for the show next year.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When the identities of the Gormogon killer and his apprentice (which we at PopWatch know) are revealed, are you concerned about the fan reaction?
Hart Hanson: I’m counting on it. We’re expecting a violentreaction. When you make a change to a beloved ensemble cast, it’s agood thing and a bad thing. You lose someone but you’ve got to makechanges and keep it alive. The kiss of death is to keep addingcharacters without making room for them because everyone isunderserviced.

Given that you had to rejigger the end of the season, are you happy with the resolution?
I think it works. We’ll find out how it works. Ifthere hadn’t been a strike, we would have had a few more Gormogonstories and it would not have played out exactly the way it did playout but the end result would have been the same. There would have beenpeople gone because of the Gormogon. It just would have played out indifferent ways. Characters could have been killed for example. However,one of the things we’ve found out is that on our show, despite themurder and mayhem, we are fairly funny, and were we to kill people,beloved characters, for example, having our regular characters livewith that would be more difficult than if they didn’t die. So in thatrespect, it worked out just fine for the series.

addCredit(“Bones: Kwaku Alston”)

Why wrap it up now instead of letting it unfurl in the next season?
We wanted to. I think the story wasn’t worth keepingfor an entire other season. You put your finger on one of the bigconversations we had coming back from the strike, which is what do wejettison from this season and put in the next season? For example, wehad some plans for Booth’s personal life and some family. And we justdid not want to shrink it down. We didn’t want to do an attenuatedseason on that story. We let go of another story, the Gravedigger one,which is about a kidnapper [from season 2], that we will probably comeback to in another season although it will have been so long that wehave to reintroduce that storyline. And the Gormogon story we thoughtwe can do this, it gives us a good solid season-ender.

Did you have concerns from the beginning about doinga season-long arc when the writers’ strike was likely to happen andaffect the TV season?
We had a lot of concerns. Not just the strike,although the strike was a huge issue right from the beginning of thethird season. I think we are at our most successful when the serialstories are the character stories. Beats where the characters progressbut basically we solve one crime per episode, so it’s very episodic.For us, a serial story is sort of a reward for our dedicated viewers.Not a way to get new viewers in. It’s nice for the people who’veinvested time in the show to feel like they’re getting an enhancedexperience. That’s sort of what the Gormogon story was designed to be.And we thought, oh, we can do this in one season. When we startedthinking, “What about the strike?” it was more a case of okay, let’scontinue optimistically. Lets not start designing our season dependenton a strike because if it doesn’t happen we’ll be sparse. So we plannedfor a good full season and then adjusted for the difficulties of thestrike instead of the other way around.

In the wake of this season, how much will the often-lauded chemistry between the characters drive the show forward?
I was just talking to David about this the otherday. He constantly agitates for less procedure and more charactermoments. And I keep telling him, in my view, we have to balance thembecause we cannot become a soap opera. We have to solve a crime, aninteresting crime, which gives us the ability to go off on tangents andhave the characters in comic moments. And that’s a constant balancinggame for us and we talk about it all the time. Are we leaning too farone way or another? Yes, I agree with David that the chemistry, andcharacters and comedy are, I think, what keep people coming back formore, but if we get too self-indulgent with that, we will end up withone of the soft shows that loses viewers over time instead of keepingthem coming back. But your guess is as good as mine because it’s anongoing process. Let me know how you think we’re doing.

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