After six seasons on Fox, New Girl is about to say goodbye forever.
Jake Johnson, who plays Nick Miller, one-time love interest for Zooey Deschanel’s Jessica Day, tells The Daily Beast that the show is almost certainly “done” following this year’s season finale, set to air Tuesday, April 4.
“Fox won’t tell us [whether the show will be renewed],” he says while promoting his new Netflix film Win It All, which he stars in and co-wrote with Easy’s Joe Swanberg, at SXSW. “But we shot a finale where, if this was the end, the core fan base would be OK.”
What that means for the show’s main characters remains a mystery, but it could portend the long-awaited reunion of Nick and Jess, New Girl’s de facto Ross and Rachel. “I love Ross and Rachel,” the show’s creator Liz Meriwether said in an interview when the analogy first gained steam. “I think they’re really different characters, but I think that would be amazing, obviously.”
Nick and Jess shared their first kiss midway through season two and were officially a couple by the end of that season. After staying together for most of season three, they ultimately broke up and decided to just stay friends. But in the season five finale, Jess realized she was still in love Nick just as his relationship with recurring guest star Megan Fox’s Regan began heating up.
As season six has progressed, Nick and Jess have both drifted away from their latest love interests, setting up the satisfying ending that Johnson is teasing ahead of the possible series finale next month.
If the show is saved at the last minute by Fox, it wouldn’t be the first time. New Girl’s 2011 pilot was watched by more than 10 million people, an almost unthinkable number for a network comedy six years later. Since then, ratings have dropped precipitously, with season five averaging just under 4 million viewers per episode and the season six premiere coming in at just 2.31 million.
“I think a lot of people are watching the show later or on Hulu,” Meriwether said in a more recent interview, a feeling Johnson echoes to The Daily Beast, saying he thinks most people are watching it on their phones. “When you have a show that appeals to younger viewers, the live ratings just aren't indicative of who's watching the show. And I think Fox has been pretty savvy about that and incredibly supportive of our show.”
Johnson, who is still under contract with Fox along with Deschanel and the rest of the cast, would have no choice but to return to the show if called to do so. But as it stands now, he seems quite sure that that is not going to happen. “I think after this season it’s done,” he says.
Reached for comment on what the future may hold for her show, Meriwether told The Daily Beast, “I genuinely don’t know! Fingers crossed.”
According to a representative from Fox, “While no announcement has been made on the series returning for a 7th season, the network and studio are currently in discussions.”