It's the end of the road for the Hecks. ABC has announced that the long-running family sitcom will come to an end after its upcoming season, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The Middle, created by former #Roseanne writers Eileen Heisler and DeAnn Heline, ushered in a new era of family #TV sitcoms for the Disney broadcast network at a time when it was struggling in the ratings, helping to revamp its comedy lineup alongside fellow fan-favorite Modern Family. Heline told EW that although the show might not have been the ratings-magnet #ModernFamily was, the cast and crew truly appreciated the fanbase they did have:
"Some know about us, some don’t. We are at heart a midwestern show. If we can be underappreciated for nine years and be on the air, we’re lucky."
The series has always been a solid hit for ABC's primetime slots, averaging a little over 8 million viewers each season, even after this past season's move from its original Wednesday night time slot to the new comedy-centric Tuesday night. This move helped get freshman comedy American Housewife off the ground to a good start, drawing in a large enough audience for a Season 2 renewal.
Heisler told Entertainment Weekly that the creators had meetings with the cast near the end of last season to prepare them for the final season, promising to "tell all the stories" and giving the cast and fans "a year to say goodbye." Heisler added:
"We feel the reception toward our show is positive and kind. We feel proud of what we’re doing. In its own way, the show has been recognized even though it’s not a ratings magnet. It’s very stalwart and steady."
The sitcom's ninth and final season is set to premiere on Tuesday, October 3, at 8 p.m., anchoring fellow sitcoms Fresh Off the Boat and Black-ish in their fourth seasons, the latter of which is moving from its Wednesday night slot to Tuesday night, as well as freshman comedy The Mayor.
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