Why Bones Ended After Season 12 (Was It Canceled?)


  • Bones
    , a popular procedural drama, ended after season 12 due to cancellation by Fox. Despite declining ratings, the show maintained a loyal following.
  • Clashes between the show’s creative team and Fox, including lawsuits over compensation and tensions over the time slot, may have contributed to its ending.
  • There is hope for a
    revival, as both Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz have expressed interest in reprising their roles, and creator Hart Hanson is open to it as long as the leads return.

Bones is among the most popular procedural dramas of the 2000s and 2010s, but like all great shows, came to an end — though many still wonder why Bones didn’t continue after season 12. Like most crime series, Bones featured gripping weekly mysteries, adding a scientific spin through its focus on forensics. Meanwhile, the chemistry between its leads drew viewers looking for something fresh. The show received two Emmy nominations throughout its run, and amassed a loyal following that remains to this day.

In Bones, Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz brought Dr. Temperance Brennan and Special Agent Seeley Booth to life with a charm that’s hard to replicate. The pair proved a selling point for the series, keeping things interesting with the characters’ friendship-turned-romance. A loose adaptation of Kathy Reichs’ Temperance Brennan novels, Bones had an established readership and plenty of source material to draw from. Between its dedicated audience, compelling leads, and bookish roots, it’s easy to see how the show carried on as long as it did.


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Fox Canceled Bones After Season 12

Declining Ratings Led To Bones Finishing

Even good TV shows must come to an end, and Bones concluded after 12 seasons on air. Unfortunately, the procedural didn’t go out on its own terms. Fox canceled Bones after season 12, with creator Hart Hanson explaining (via Variety), “It wasn’t our decision. We were told it was our last year. It wasn’t that we called that network and said, ‘We’d like to finish now.’Bones’ ratings had been declining for several seasons ahead of its cancelation, with season 11 averaging 7.27 million viewers and season 12 5.54 million compared to the series-high 11.57 million it averaged during season 6.

In addition to the show’s subpar ratings, clashes between Fox and Bones creative team may have foreshadowed its ending. In 2015, several parties filed lawsuits against Fox, including Deschanel, Boreanaz, Reichs, and executive producer Barry Josephson, claiming that Fox hadn’t compensated them proportionately to Bones’ success. An arbitrator determined Fox owed $179 million in damages, though a judge later overturned the decision. On a smaller scale, Hanson told The Los Angeles Times that there were tensions over Bones’ time slot. The creator recalled feeling “irritated and cranky” in the beginning, and the show was moved around Fox’s schedule frequently.


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Will A Bones Reunion Ever Happen?

Emily Deschanel And David Boreanaz Have Both Voiced Interest In A Bones Revival

Booth and Brennan staring at one another in Bones

Although Bones was canceled after season 12, the procedural’s lengthy run and favorable reviews rendered it a success. The series remains popular today, with its availability on platforms like Hulu and Prime Video drawing new fans to the antics of Dr. Brennan and Agent Booth. Given the show’s enduring popularity, a Bones revival could happen. Bones‘ finale wrapped things up fairly well, but a comeback would offer viewers further closure.

Hanson recently weighed in on a Bones reunion, admitting that he’d return as long as both leads reprise their roles. Fortunately, Deschanel and Boreanaz seem open to doing so. Boreanaz revealed he’d consider a Bones revival while shooting down hopes of an Angel comeback. Likewise, Deschanel addressed the possibility with an optimistic “never say never.” It could be a while before there’s any follow-through, but their updates offer hope. Perhaps Bones will get the chance to end things on its own terms after all.


Bones follows Dr. Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel), a forensic anthropologist who teams up with FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz) to solve crimes in the DC area. Using Brennan’s forensic knowledge, the pair work together to catch killers with the help of a team at the fictional Jeffersonian Institute. 

Release Date
September 13, 2005

Emily Deschanel , T.J. Thyne , Michaela Conlin , John Francis Daley , David Boreanaz , Tamara Taylor


Hart Hanson


Streaming Service(s)
Hulu , Disney+