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Why Bones is ending with season 12 — or is it?

After 12 seasons, Fox’s long-running crime procedural ‘Bones’ is in its final chapter. Why is the show ending now?

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Patrick McElhenney/FOX

After 12 seasons, Fox’s long-running crime procedural Bones is in its final chapter. Why is the show ending now?

“It wasn’t our decision,” executive producer Hart Hanson told reporters at the Television Critics Association’s press tour on Wednesday. “We were told it was our last year. It wasn’t that we called the network and said, ‘We’d like to finish now.’ I’m not sure anybody is terribly upset or terribly shocked that it would be the last year.”

While David Boreanaz opened the show’s final panel at TCA by joking that the show has been renewed for two more seasons, star Emily Deschanel concurred with Hanson. “It would be ungracious of us to be fighting against them canceling us, but yeah, it wasn’t our decision,” Deschanel concurred. “But we’ve had a great run!”

The show’s swan song season comes after the procedural has jumped around Fox’s schedule — it’s basically aired on every weeknight at some point during its tenure — and survived each year by the skin of its teeth. “We’ve had several season finales that could have been our last, and at times we didn’t know if it would be our last,” Deschanel says. “And amazingly they’ve come up with new ways to end it. They could be the very end, or it could be the beginning of the end, many, many times.”

In this case, The Final Chapter is meant to be the end of the series, though not necessarily the one Hanson envisioned. “I did not come up with this ending,” says Hanson, who is no longer the showrunner. “These guys [executive producers Jonathan Collier and Michael Peterson] came up with this ending. I had another ending to the show in mind. I fully love what they’ve done. I give them my full support.”

With that said, Hanson is open to the possibility of following in the footsteps of fellow network series that are set to return, 24 and Prison Break, and reviving Bones down the line. “I think those things are always possible, and very desirable,” Hanson says.

However, Deschanel and costar David Boreanaz seem less positive about reprising these characters in the future. “It’s very hard for me to answer that question, honestly,” Boreanaz says. “I don’t know what’s going to happen in six hours. I mean, you’re asking a hypothetical question, but everything is possible in life. But I tend to like to go forward. I don’t like to go backwards… In general, I don’t like reunions and I don’t like to go back.

“I would say I would like some time before I consider that,” Deschanel says. “We’ve put in 12 years into the show and that’s not nothing. It’ll be really weird to say goodbye, very emotional to say goodbye, until next week like, ‘Okay, coming back!’ Such an emotional roller coaster. That’s not to say I wouldn’t consider it in a certain amount of time, but I think we need to have some time pass before I consider it.”

Bones: The Final Chapter airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on Fox.

—Marc Snetiker contributed to this report

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