Following in the footsteps of FOX's quick "Glee" renewal, ABC
used its Tuesday (Jan. 12) Television Critics Association press tour session to announce second season pick-ups for its hit Wednesday comedies.
ABC Entertainment President Stephen McPherson led off his announcements by telling reporters that "Modern Family
," "Cougar Town
" and "The Middle
" will all be back next season. None of those renewals
was particularly surprising, but the earliness of the release was meant as a vote of confidence.
McPherson told critics that the people associated with the three shows hadn't even been told about the pick-ups and, indeed, news only began percolating among castmembers and showrunners through Twitter minutes later.
"Modern Family" is up for an Outstanding Comedy Series Golden Globe this weekend and has finished a solid second in its time period, behind CBS' "Criminal Minds," in viewers and the young adult demos for much of this season.
"Cougar Town" is also earned a Golden Globe nomination, with recognition for star Courteny Cox, and stands behind only "Modern Family" as the fall's second most-watched new comedy.
While ratings for "The Middle" haven't been nearly as strong, the Patricia Heaton comedy has earned solid reviews and has improved over its time period year-to-year for ABC. In addition, "The Middle" premiered with the lead weight of "Hank" as its lead-in.
ABC continues not to have permanent programming for the Wednesday 8 p.m. half hour. In his remarks, McPherson hinted that the Alyssa Milano comedy "Romantically Challenged" may be headed for that slot. He also said that "Scrubs" or "Better Off Ted," both struggling on Tuesdays, might be considered for the half-hour, though that sounded like a more remote possibility.