ABC has granted The Middle an early renewal, picking up the stalwart family sitcom for Season 9, it was announced on Wednesday.
In its new Tuesday time slot, The Middle thus far this season is averaging 6.4 million total viewers and a 1.6 demo rating, down a bit from its previous cycle yet giving ABC its most-watched sitcom in Tuesday’s lead-off spot in five years (since Last Man Standing circa 2011-12). That in turn has helped the Alphabet network launch a new, two-hour comedy block, which is rounded out by newbie American Housewife, Season 3 of Fresh Off the Boat and the sophomore sitcom The Real O’Neals.
Of note, The Middle’s renewal — its earliest pickup since its Season 3 order, which came in early January of 2011 — comes as the clock continues to run out on the Modern Family cast’s current deals, which expire at the close of Season 8.
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“The Middle has been one of the network’s most consistent performers and helped us to launch a whole new night of comedy when it moved to Tuesdays this season,” ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey said in a statement. “The Indiana Hecks have found America’s sweet spot with their authentic, acerbic and always loving take on parenting, work, kids, marriage and life.”
Are you happy to see the Hecks are staying put?