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The Real Reason The Bones Spin-Off Was Canceled

The popular crime drama Bones ran for 12 seasons before reaching its end in 2017. During its lengthy run, creator Hart Hanson came up with an idea for a spin-off of the popular show, but for some reason, that series — titled The Finder — lasted only a single season. 

Plans for the spin-off were first announced in late 2010, with the lead character, Walter Sherman (Geoff Stults), first introduced on Bones before The Finder premiered in January 2012. Walter, an Iraq War police veteran who suffered a serious head injury after an IED explosion, served with Agent Booth (David Boreanaz) in the military, but their relationship was not exactly a good one. The pair seemed to have developed a deep dislike for one another, but Dr. Brennan (Emily Deschanel) found him somewhat more intriguing than annoying. 

Walter's injury had given him an incredible ability: one that would greatly help him in the life of a detective. He was the Finder, never ceasing in his search for the truth, and with an uncanny ability to know when he's not getting all the information and where to look to get it. His introduction on Bones was, of course, an attempt to get fans on board with the spin-off series featuring the character, serving as a backdoor pilot.

Fans thought The Finder was intended to replace Bones

As Hanson told the LA Times in May 2012, things didn't exactly go according to plan. "I was hopeful that the Bones audience would check it out, but as I said to the network: It's always tough to explain the Bones audience to people," Hanson said. "Every character that we've introduced on Bones has been roundly hated from the get-go. It took a year for people to like Tamara Taylor [who portrayed Dr. Camille Saroyan]. They didn't like her. And when John Francis Daley [who portrayed Sweets] came on, I told him, 'Don't look at Twitter or the message boards for a year because they are going to hate you. You're coming in to a very tight community.' And, so, I thought there was a very good chance that would happen [with] The Finder."

Hanson told the Times he even received countless messages from fans about the spin-off, gently requesting that he "quit trying to force The Finder down [their] throats."

"There was no way to explain to people that The Finder wasn't replacing Bones — that Emily [Deschanel] got pregnant and she took some time off to have a baby; The Finder wasn't there to push Bones away," Hanson explained.

A poor start, and things only got worse from there

Unfortunately for Hanson, it seemed that was the overwhelming feeling with regards to The Finder, with the result that the plug was pulled on the show after just a single season, which suffered perilously low ratings and poor viewership numbers. According to TV Series Finale, the show debuted with just a 1.7 rating and 5.5 million viewers. The same week saw 8.64 million viewers tuning in to watch the parent show Bones. While the outlook did seem to improve slightly as the first season continued, it still wasn't producing the ratings and viewership the studio had likely expected after pouring millions of dollars into the spin-off.

Trouble came just seven weeks in, when the show was put on hiatus before losing its coveted Thursday night television spot. It ended up being moved to Friday, a notorious prime time wasteland, and the result was an immediate drop in viewership. That initial 1.7 rating looked great next to the 1.1 rating the show was pulling in from the Friday night slot, and at the end of the season it was decided that the show was too expensive to continue to produce with such a poor return from audiences.

At the end of the day, despite high hopes from the creators of the show, The Finder was a flop almost from the very first episode. Viewers made their thoughts on the spin-off quite plain directly to Hanson, with the ratings being a clear reflection of their disdain for the show as well — and a show with low ratings and no viewers is one that hemorrhages money for a studio. Bones would run for another decade, but The Finder found itself relegated to the status of one-season wonder.