Weeks ago, Neil Patrick Harris (pictured left) was invited, along with Kristin Chenoweth, to officially announce this morning’s Emmy nominations, which was a good sign as far as another nod for him was concerned. As expected, his work as How I Met Your Mother‘s Barney Stinson was recognized by the Television Academy for the second year in a row. The HIMYM family is ecstatic.

"Omigosh, we are overjoyed for Neil," Mother co-creator Carter Bays told me this morning. "No one deserves this more than he does and we couldn’t be happier for him. I think we were sort of expecting it, but it’s always a nail biter, especially with him actually at the podium reading the nominations. We were hoping he’d have a nice moment up there."

When we spoke around 9:30 today, Carter hadn’t yet connected with Neil, but had sent him an email. "I’m laying off for a little while because I’m sure
his phone is ringing off the hook. He’s gotta be so drunk right now,
there’s no point in calling him," he joked (I think).

Asked what it means to the series, Bays said Neil’s nod will spread the HIMYM word: "I feel like we’ve sort of cemented our reputation as a funny, reliable show, but this kind of stuff only helps to bring in new viewers, which is our goal for the season."

I tried to get Carter to take a little bow for writing the material that landed Neil’s nom, but he wasn’t having it. "I’d love to take some credit for this," he said. "But my gosh, Neil is so talented [that I really can’t]. When I think of Neil, it often reminds me of when [co-creator Craig Thomas and I] were at [The Late Show with David] Letterman. There was an expression that the writers used which was, give Dave a spoon and he’ll be funny with a spoon. The idea is that he can make anything funny, and Neil is kind of the same way. You can give him anything, he’ll take the script home, work on it and come back the next morning with some take on it that’s hysterical. Our challenge is to keep up with him and use this weapon to the best of our ability."

And today, that challenge continues. "We’re gonna celebrate by writing some great comedy for him. We’re crankin’
out the stories now, trying to get a jump on the new season," Carter said, noting that shooting begins August 11th. As for what’s to come, he muses, "There was that little moment in the season finale where Barney looks at
Robin and he’s clearly still got feelings for her. We’re going to keep
exploring that." Robarn!!

Asked whether Neil’s first Emmy nomination inspired them to write Barney a bit differently last year, Carter said it did occur to them, but the emotional resonance they added to the character was more just a matter of the fact that, three seasons in, it was time to dig into who Barney really was. This year, they’ll go a shade lighter. "I think our take on this new season is that we’re going to
have a little more fun," Bays said. "We’re trying not to
go the Joss Whedon-route of putting our characters through absolute
hell for our own amusement — which, man, he’s really good at — but I think we’re going to take a new approach and just try to tell some really fun