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How I Met Your Mother: How Many Episodes Are There?

When "How I Met Your Mother" premiered in 2005, it was brushed off as a rehashed version of sitcoms past, proving that viewers have an unending appetite for watching 20-somethings get into mundane hijinks. Writing for the New York Times the year of its debut, Alessandra Stanley confirmed this description in reviewing the series. "'How I Met Your Mother' is a fairly conventional sitcom, a latter-day 'Friends' with a voice-over 'Wonder Years'-type narration," Stanley wrote.

"How I Met Your Mother" may not have achieved the same global dominance of "Friends" or the heart-tugging nostalgia of "The Wonder Years," but it did secure a devoted fanbase, as well as a surprisingly long shelf life. "How I Met Your Mother" aired for nine seasons from 2005 to 2014, and as a product of the pre-streaming era, each season of the CBS series produced a hefty 20-plus episodes. 

As a result, the entirety of "How I Met Your Mother" consists of a sizable 208 episodes, surviving hiccups along the way like the 2007-2008 Writers Guild of America strike and a nearly abandoned ninth season.

How I Met Your Mother was almost eight seasons

After several years on the air, "How I Met Your Mother" had settled into a familiar groove with reliable ratings, but the end of the cast members' contracts loomed in the distance. In 2009, the fivesome signed a contract that extended their commitment to the series through the end of Season 8.

In a 2010 interview with GQ, Jason Segel revealed that although he had three years left on his contract, he was already getting antsy to leave the show. Though he had joined the cast as a relative newcomer, Segel's career exploded during his time on the show, and he was eager to take on new projects.

"It's an amazing place to be. But when you become an actor, part of it, the secret part of it, is that you don't want to work a regular nine-to-five job," Segel said. "And the secret part of a TV show is that it's a nine-to-five job. And eight years is longer than any relationship I've ever been in, it's longer than any school I went to. I think after eight years, I'll feel like I honorably did my commitment. It's funny — it's the greatest problem in the world to have."

Segel's involvement — and the fate of the series — hung in the balance as the contract deadline approached, but at the eleventh hour, Segel decided to stick around for a ninth season. Had the ninth and final season never materialized, co-creators Craig Thomas and Carter Bays were prepared to pivot to a Plan B, Season 8 conclusion.