The Middle now stands at the end of the road. After hoping to see the show make it to season 10, ABC and the producers announced on Wednesday season 9 marks the conclusion of the show’s run.
So what’s the reason for this decision? Much of that revolves around the desire to end the show while it’s still fresh. Also, it leaves the showrunners more in control of their own destiny. Nobody wants to be told by the network that it’s curtains and cancellation is near. This allows the writers to create a fitting end with plenty of time to prepare for it.
In a statement to Entertainment Weekly, executive producer Eileen Heisler explains what the process was like telling
“We sat down with the cast at the end of last year [to break the news]. It was important to have a year to say goodbye. We want to be able to tell all the stories.”
Could the story last forever? Within reason, sure. The Heck family showed over the past eight seasons their creativity, their sense of fun, and love for each other, and viewers look for these sort of traits in family comedies. They want to feel as though this family is a part of their own family.
Yet, it would become harder over time to preserve the structure of the show. As the children age, they move on to other phases of their lives. Few people live at home forever or spend copious time with their parents and siblings. It changes the entire dynamic, and it feels better to end the show than creating artificiality.
In the end, The Middle deserves all the credit in the world for an exceptional run on TV. It never featured the best ratings or the most Emmy nominations, but it performed consistently well and forged a devoted following. Meanwhile, it accomplished the sort of stuff that most other shows dream of doing. It also introduced some hopeful stars of tomorrow and gave Patricia Heaton and Neil Flynn another hit on their resumes. Hopefully, the news of the final season now allows them all time to secure future projects on their own pace, provided they want to do so. After years of tireless work with only a few months off in between, everyone deserves to unwind. Heaton and Flynn especially made enough money in their careers that they don’t need to rush off and find something else.
The Middle premieres this fall on ABC with its final batch. The network deserves credit not only for keeping the show on the air, but also cultivating enough hits over time to survive without it. Kudos to them for farming family comedies in a fantastic way.
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