By Sandra Gonzalez
Updated March 09, 2012 at 07:05 AM EST

Tonight’s Bones panel during PaleyFest was a prime chance for executive producers Hart Hanson and Stephen Nathan and the rest of the cast to entice viewers back to the show, following their fairly long absence from the TV schedule. And if the enthusiastic crowd response was any indicator, that’s exactly what they did.

It started with a screening of the much-anticipated April 2 episode (the show’s first night in a new timeslot) that will finally introduce the world to Baby Bones. [Mild spoilers ahead.] In the episode, a routine murder case is complicated by the fact that Bones is nine-months pregnant. We’ll let you watch the actual birth scene (which is quite unconventional!) when the show airs. But if you’re the sensitive type, have some tissues ready.

“The birth episode was very strange for me because my birth experience was so different from Brennan’s,” Emily Deschanel told EW before the event. “My birth experience was much more calm. … I really didn’t experience much pain at all, and Brennan is the opposite.” (See more from our chat in the video below!)

Meanwhile, the cast was also visibly excited about the upcoming meta episode that will show viewers the making of a movie based on one of Brennan’s books. (“We got jealous of Community and wanted to do a meta episode,” Hanson joked.) Among the winks and references? The man portraying Booth in the movie wears a belt-buckle that says “kooky,” ridiculous sets that make the current Bones sets look modest, and “Cam is Cam but like you’ve never seen her before.” “It’s like if you got drunk and watched Bones,” Hanson teased.

But arguably the biggest news of the night came when talk shifted to Bones‘ yet-unofficial eighth season. “In many ways, Bones is one of Fox’s most successful hour-long scripted drama,” said Hanson. “I’m confident we’ll be back for seasons 8 and 9.” That’s right, nine. Again, it’s all unofficial, but Deschanel and David Boreanaz seemed on board. They fist-bumped to mark the occasion.

More scoop:

+ Nathan says this year’s cliffhanger “will certainly change the course of season 8.”

+ Daisy (Carla Gallo) is in the first episode back and a few more.

+ An episode will address Parker’s feelings toward this new sister.

+ This year’s at-large cyber villain Christopher Pellant (Andrew Leeds) will be back for the finale.

+ Nathan says Bones and Booth will experience some parenting difficulties, but “we’re not Parenthood.” “There’s still going to be someone who’s dead and revolting and we’ll just see how this baby informs their lives…while they’re solving these murders.”

+ Bones will air it’s 13-episode season and the four remaining episodes have yet to be given air-dates. These episodes will exist outside the season and be unrelated to the cliffhanger we see prior.

+ No Zack this season.

+ No Zooey Deschanel this season either, but… Emily Deschanel revealed her sister has “talked to me about maybe coming on her show.” MAKE IT HAPPEN!

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