EXCLUSIVE: ABC‘s flagship comedy Modern Family, which is coming off a fourth consecutive best series Emmy win, may be getting a spinoff. I’ve learned that the network and producer 20th Century Fox TV have met to discuss potentially spinning off the hit comedy. Details are sketchy as conversations are in very early stages with multiples ideas discussed, but I hear one offshoot concept that is being explored is for a show built around standout Modern Family guest player Rob Riggle and the character he played in two episodes last season. The idea is being spearheaded by Modern Family executive producers Paul Corrigan and Brad Walsh who would run point and write the script. (Modern Family co-creator/executive producer Steve Levitan would likely have some involvement, while fellow co-creator/exec producer Christopher Lloyd is expected to remain solely focused on the flagship series, now in its fifth season.) Riggle’s Gil Thorpe is Southern California’s most successful real estate agent and rival of Phil Dunphy (Ty Burrell) who briefly employed Phil’s wife Claire (Julie Bowen). Thorpe is abrasive and has a penchant for inserting his name in words, like “Thorpedoed” and “Gil Pickles.” Corrigan and Walsh, who became a writing team when they met in NYU’s film school, have been on Modern Family since after the pilot. They wrote one of Riggle’s two Modern Family episodes, “Career Day” (check out the video below).
Modern Family finished its fourth consecutive best-comedy Emmy victory lap just in time to begin celebrating its successful launch in off-network syndication. In broadcast, the series nailed the second-biggest comedy syndication launch in the past five years. It trailed only Warner Bros TV’s CBS multi-cam comedy The Big Bang Theory’s 2011 launch in households, with a 1.5 HH rating. In 18-49 the 20th Century Fox series’ 0.8 rating ties BBT’s off-net unveiling. And, in 25-54, Modern Family (1.0 rating) edges out BBT’s syndie launch (0.9). In New York, the mockumentary hit increased the Fox O&O’s household ratings 54% at 7 PM and 20% at 7:30. In Los Angeles, with Modern Family, the Fox O&O jumped 75% and 32% in the same time periods.
The ensemble comedy, which airs initially on ABC, also made inroads in its USA Network debut Tuesday night. Over its three hours on USA, the Pritchett family saga young-ed up the NBCU cable net’s primetime by about 13 years, to a median age of 32.2, compared with 45 with Law & Order: SVU on the comparable night last year. Modern Family shed some of SVU’s older viewers – accounting for the USA’s overall drop from 1.58 million viewers in prime same night last year, to just under a million on Tuesday. But the 18-34 crowd jumped by 27%.
A night full of surprises finally took a predictable turn in the final stretch when Modern Family and Breaking Bad took the best series honors. ABC’s Modern Family extended its streak to four consecutive best comedy series wins to tie such classics as All In The Family, Cheers and The Dick Van Dyke Show. After getting upset last year, AMC’s Breaking Bad earned its first ever top drama prize. But there were upsets galore, with no The Daily Show as best variety series or The Amazing Race as best reality competition series for the first time in a decade. HBO’s Behind The Candelabra, which had an already insurmountable lead following the Creative Emmys, added three more Emmys to his haul for 11 total, more than twice the next winningest program. HBO once again topped the list of networks with the most trophies, 27. And Saturday Night Live surpassed Frasier with most lifetime Emmys, 40.
Related: Nikki Finke Live-Snarks 65th Emmys
On a night of surprises, the lead actor in a comedy series categories were a rare island of status quo. Frontrunner Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory) won his third Emmy and Julia Louis-Dreyfus repeated as winner for Veep. But the supporting comedy acting categories were ripe with upsets. Merritt Wever of Nurse Jackie was so stunned by her win, she just walked offstage with no acceptance speech. Who can blame her — she was a true underdog. Her counterpart, fellow surprise winner Tony Hale of Veep, was a bit more eloquent but only a bit. For the first time ever, Modern Family was shut out from the acting categories with a cast member not taking at least one Emmy (the series’ cast submit themselves as supporting), though the series got a directing award.
Deadline’s Awards Columnist Pete Hammond talks with ENTV host Melana Scantlin about the likely winners in key comedy segments in this weekend’s Primetime Emmys, including whether defending champ Modern Family can stave off The Big Bang Theory and other contenders for its fourth straight win as Best …
Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
With every passing year, it becomes tougher for a winning show like ABC’s Modern Family to take home the biggest Emmy prize. Family is trying to win its fourth consecutive series statuette, something that NBC’s 30 Rock couldn’t manage after winning three in a row from 2007-09. Standing in the show’s way this time is a formidable quintet headed by FX’s Louie as well as 30 Rock, CBS’ The Big Bang Theory (trying to win for the first time in its third nomination) and a pair of one-word HBO longshots: Veep and Girls. It’s noteworthy that the show that could perhaps have given Family the most trouble, the Netflix reboot of Arrested Development, failed even to land a nomination. However, cable series earned three of the six category slots.
Related: EMMYS: Drama Series Overview
This season was chock-full of special moments, including one in which Sheldon (Jim Parsons) spanks Amy (Mayim Bialik) and another featuring a guest appearance by Bob Newhart. Upsets happen, and you just never know. It’s tough for a show to win for the first time in its sixth season. Too tough, in this case. It’s tougher still for a series from the stable of creator Chuck Lorre, who gets less respect than he should as one of television’s most successful producers.
Diane Haithman contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
Without revealing any plot spoilers, the first episode of Modern Family’s upcoming fifth season will take on the recent legalization of same-sex marriage in California. At tonight’s onstage “table read” of the episode for an audience of Emmy voters at Fox Studios, executive producer Steven Levitan pleaded with tweeters not to spoil any surprises while at the same time acknowledging that a plot tweet was likely to escape. (Co-creator Christopher Lloyd, who sat in the audience, already had said in interviews that the “gay marriage” issue might crop up on the Emmy-winning ABC sitcom.) And after the reading, which featured most of the cast members, the writing staff was quick to talk about how the same-sex marriage issue came to the table. Jeffrey Richman — writer of the episode, titled “Suddenly Last Summer”, which premieres September 25 — joked of the June 26 Supreme Court ruling, “I’m gay, and I was happier as a writer.” Then he added, “It was great for the gays, too.”
Related: EMMYS: Comedy Series Overview
Diane Haithman is an AwardsLine contributor.
How many writer-producers does it take to make an Emmy-winning comedy? In the case of Modern Family, it’s a staff of 12 including co-creators/executive producers Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd. Like many series creators, Levitan and Lloyd mostly tapped colleagues from comedies they had either created or worked on to assemble a writers room where the team speaks the same language. Before creating Modern Family, Levitan and Lloyd worked on three comedies together: Wings, Frasier and the short-lived Back To You, which the pair co-created. Most members of Modern Family’s creative family are descendants of those three shows and/or two other comedies created by Levitan: Just Shoot Me and Stacked. AwardsLine has ventured deep into sitcom history — stripping the banana peel all the back way to 1990 — to trace the writing roots of Modern Family. Please note that this is not intended to represent each writer-producer’s complete, or necessarily best, credits. It covers only comedy series that have at some point included two or more Modern Family writer-producers on staff (as writer-producers unless otherwise noted).
Related: EMMYS: Comedy Series Overview
Michael Ausiello is Editor-in-Chief of TVLine.
The gap between Modern Family and the rest of the Emmy comedy field has been so wide that even an imperfect third season landed the ABC family comedy a third consecutive best series win last year. But Modern Family is wrapping another uneven season, and with its ratings slipping and challengers gaining on it, a fourth statuette is far from guaranteed. HBO’s Girls is coming off a Golden Globe win, there’s a growing sentiment that CBS’ Nielsen juggernaut The Big Bang Theory is past due to be recognized, and former best comedy series Emmy winner Arrested Development is back. Will Modern Family’s winning streak come to an end this year? Here’s our assessment of the show’s chances, as well as the rest of the contenders.
The Monte-Carlo Television Festival wrapped in Monaco tonight with the Golden Nymph Awards handed out at the Grimaldi Forum. Hungarian coming-of-age TV movie Aglaja, directed by Krisztina Deák, was the big winner with four prizes. Breaking Bad, Modern Family, Borgen and Fresh Meat were also singled out. The festival has been attracting an increasing number of high-profile talent to the principality with cast members and execs in attendance this year from such shows as The Big Bang Theory, Breaking Bad, Crossing Lines, Dallas, Grimm, Hatfields & McCoys, Once Upon A Time, Revenge, Revolution and Scandal. Donald Sutherland received a Crystal Nymph Award earlier this week. Below is the full list of tonight’s winners for excellence in international television:
Best Television Film
M-RTL ZRT, Hungary
Krisztina Deák, Aglaja
M-RTL ZRT, Hungary
Arsher Ali, Complicit
Many Rivers Films, UK