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That’s why Mr. Thomas and Mr. Bays have some important meetings ahead of them this spring. The actors are signed through the end of next season (May 2013), so the producers will need to know soon if the series is stretching beyond that.

Revealing when Ted would meet his future wife turned out to be liberating.

“It’s kind of a momentous thing to say,” Mr. Thomas said, “because it retired one of the tricks on this show that we had milked for half a decade, which was that any girl that Ted bumped into anywhere could be the mother. Last year we said we’d done that enough.”