Parenthood fans were in an emotional tizzy this past spring, but it wasn't because of a heartbreaking story line on the show.
After five seasons, the fate of the beloved family drama remained in question and was the last scripted series to receive a pick-up from NBC for the 2014-2015 TV season just hours before the network's fall schedule was unveiled.
The show received a reduced 13-episode final season order, and showrunner Jason Katims is thankful he will get to say a proper goodbye to the Bravermans. "For a show I'm so personally invested in ... I think it of as a gift to know that we get to tell this last part of the story," he told reporters Sunday at the Television Critics Association's fall previews. "It's a great feeling to have these last 13 episodes."
Katims, for better or worse, has had experience playing the waiting game. As he put it, Parenthood has "always been a bubble show" and years earlier, Friday Night Lights suffered low ratings throughout its five-year run. "This year, it was definitely trickier than the others because you know it's a big cast, it's an expensive show to produce," he said. "I think what happened, in this case, there were so many people internally... that wanted to figure out a way to bring the show back and it's something that everybody, from a production stand point and the cast and crew, had to be part of."
A big factor in Parenthood's final season order was reportedly the show's large cast and high production costs. However, even when it came down to the wire, Katims said there was never a question of moving forward with certain members of the ensemble. "I was going to cut everybody and just do it myself," Katim joked. "To me, the show is everybody in the show, so I felt like that was the only way to do this was to sort of try to figure it out together and bring everybody back."
But whether everyone in the ensemble will make it to the series finale is another question entirely. When asked about his plan for the final 13 episodes, Katims further fueled speculation that someone in the family may die. "One of the things I wanted to do with the season was to find one larger story that influences everybody on the show," Katims said, referring to a story line that he said will be introduced in the first episode and run through all of Season 6. "It's a huge challenge for this family and a kind we haven't seen before. ... I feel like we're going to be telling a story this year that we haven't been able to."
Parenthood's final season kick off on Thursday, Sept. 25 at 10/9c on NBC.