For one reason or another, ABC is always late when it comes to announcing which shows are getting renewed and which are getting canned… at least compared to many other shows on broadcast TV. Maybe this conservative approach helps the network ensure that they don’t bring back any shows that will turn out to be duds in their subsequent season, but it also means that they take some risks in regards to their cast.
This is where “The Middle” is right now. It is a show that certainly has the ratings to get a seventh season, but with Charlie McDermott signing on for a new pilot in “Super Clyde,” is it in danger of losing some of its cast? This is an issue that the show and the network has to think about while they make their final decision as to bring the show back.
The case to keep it – Ratings. This has proven to be a solid entry in the Wednesday-night lineup for years. While it routinely loses to “Survivor,” it has outpaced “American Idol” and does very well without needing a whole lot of press to go along with it. This is the sort of comedy any network would be lucky to have.
While you may need to negotiate with your cast for another couple of seasons now that you’ve made it to season 6, we don’t think you are at the point yet where you are potentially entering “Big Bang Theory” territory where it will be ridiculously expensive to keep people on board.
The case to cancel it – Really, the only argument you can make here touches back to McDermott’s casting elsewhere. There’s no guarantee that “Super Clyde” will be picked up, but that is not even the larger issue so much as it is this: What do you do if the younger cast wants to move on? You may be able to write out Axl for the most part, but if these kids want to do other things then they really don’t have a show anymore.
The only other thing that we would be concerned about is that every other Wednesday-night comedy on ABC is faring well right now. There may be a feeling that they can lose “The Middle” and still be okay.
Verdict – We feel pretty confident that the show will be back for a seventh season, mostly because the ratings are still there. There may be one or two seasons left as a whole, but we would start to consider wrapping this all up soon if another young cast member starts to look elsewhere.
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