‘Bones,’ ‘Sleepy Hollow’ EPs Talk ‘Challenge’ of Crossover That Bridges Opposite Worlds

Ichabod and Brennan are “kind of the same person … separated by 250 years,” showrunner Clifton Campbell tells TheWrap

Last Updated: October 29, 2015 @ 6:45 AM

The “Bones”-“Sleepy Hollow” Halloween crossover set to air Thursday night was all Fox’s idea. But executive producers for the two-hour programming event are pretty pleased with how it turned out.

Still, Clifton Campbell and Jonathan Collier had a bit of apprehension when the directive came down from on-high.

“Why would they open up their door to this supernatural element?” the “Sleepy” showrunner Campbell told TheWrap of his Thursday primetime partner’s reason to be hesitant.

After all, he added, the two shows “are literally the opposite of each other.”

But “Sleepy” could use those “Bones'” eyeballs, Campbell added.

He admitted that Fox expressed hope that such a stunt could “jumpstart” “Sleepy Hollow,” whose ratings began to struggle last year during Season 2, when Campbell wasn’t even part of the series. (That doesn’t mean he has no opinion of the disappointing sophomore run. Campbell spoke of a certain “tediousness” that he saw set in, and promised the third season was an effort to recalibrate the “percentage of mythology,” adding fun and lightening up the tone.)

As for Collier, he was cool with the crossover idea for a number of reasons. First, the network “put [it] to us very respectfully,” he recalled.

Plus, after more than 200 episodes, Collier and company are understandably running out of moves. “We’ve stretched the form in so many ways,” he said.

Therefore, the “Bones” producers were looking for something new, though maybe not this new. “The challenge is to keep our people smart and capable, but have them not be aware of the supernatural aspect,” Collier said.

Also, at least those guys got to stay at home for the whole experience: The “Sleepy” gang all flew from Atlanta to Los Angeles for filming.

Tonight’s TV event was originally going to be the season premieres for both shows, but this way makes more sense, everyone involved decided. And Campbell even managed to find a similarity between his mystical show and Collier’s straightforward procedural.

“They’re kind of the same person on some level, separated by 250 years,” Campbell said of Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) and Dr. Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel).

Fans will find out how well the two fictional characters work together soon.

Here’s how it will go down: Two bodies are found in one location on “Bones” — one a recent death, the other a headless corpse that dates back several centuries. Guess which one Crane and crew are interested in?

Both creative teams are open to more cross-pollination — as are the characters, who close the case with a handshake and a “Let’s do it again sometime” tease. Let’s see if the TV ratings justify another go — and if both shows stick around long enough for a Round 2.

The two-hour crossover begins Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.

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