On the heels of the announcement that ABC is renewing its trio of new Wednesday night comedies — “The Middle,” “Modern Family” and “Cougar Town” — for sophomore seasons, the series’ executive producers met with journalists at the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, Calif. on Tuesday to talk shop.
On the relief of avoiding cancellation:
“I think it gives you the potential to look ahead and know that there’s some continuity [with story lines] that you can work toward. I think mostly it just allows us to go forward with momentum and without the fear hanging over our heads of not being back. We get to invest more as we hope the audience does as well.” — Eileen Heisler, executive producer of “The Middle”
Describing ABC’s Wednesday night comedy brand:
“I would call it a night of family comedy for adults and children together. I like the progression as it is now. I mean, ‘The Middle,’ is a show I can … actually let my kids watch. ‘Modern Family’ is a cool transition show. … The best thing about it, too, is my kids can still stay in the room right up until their bedtime, and then when my show comes on you just put them right to bed.”— Bill Lawrence, executive producer of “Cougar Town”
What they’ve learned:
“I think we’re much sappier than we realized we were. We thought we were very cynical, typical comedy writers, and we find ourselves really enjoying those moments where the show … makes you feel something. One of the challenges for us right now is finding the right level … so that it doesn’t become expected that there will always be a very sweet wrap-up.”— Steven Levitan, executive producer “Modern Family”