(EW.com) -- Christmas has come early for fans of "How I Met Your Mother."
EW has confirmed that CBS' Monday night comedy is expected to return for a stunning ninth season.
Though nothing's official yet, talks are thisclose with the actors and the studio, 20th Century Fox TV, to bring the sitcom back for another year on TV's most-watched network. The series from Craig Thomas and Carter Bays continues to perform well for CBS; Monday's episode averaged a 3.4 rating in adults 18-49 and 8.6 million viewers.
Contracts for the actors — who include the multi-talented Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Segel, who has a flourishing film career — were set to expire at the end of the season. Deadline first reported the talks.
The comedy took an exciting turn for fans on Monday when Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) and Robin (Cobie Smulders) got engaged, leaving Ted (Josh Radnor) to search for new love after eight will-they-or-won't-they-moments between him and Robin. When talking to EW about the happy couple, Thomas addressed Ted's next chapter while teasing the possibility of another year for the five best buddies.
"There's still Ted Mosby, who is just the best friend in the world to Robin and to Barney, and he's still out there searching," Thomas said. "There's definitely a 'to be continued' feeling. If Barney and Robin have gotten to the place we've always promised and are heading toward a wedding potentially, what's in store for Ted? It's a nice moment to end on. It sort of feels like a mini season finale even though it's just a midseason finale. It feels like, 'Alright now, let's see what the next — and possibly last — chapter is for Ted.'
How does he move into his future if we are watching Barney and Robin move into theirs? In the way that Christmas is sort of great and a little bit sad and nostalgic and wistful — that's definitely how I feel at the end of the episode. And hopefully people will feel a feeling of resolution, in terms of waiting for Barney and Robin to reunite, but also a question left unanswered. Stay tuned for what either will be the final 10 episodes ever of the show or possibly that plus one more final season."
CLICK HERE to Try 2 RISK FREE issues of Entertainment Weekly
© 2011 Entertainment Weekly and Time Inc. All rights reserved.