During a coffee break at TCA today, Modern Family co-creator/executive producer Steve Levitan dived straight in about Steve McPherson’s sudden exit from ABC Entertainment. “My genuine reaction was this sucks. I’m sorry to hear it,” Levitan said to reporters, noting that he’s a long-time friend going back to when McPherson was a network exec on his NBC comedy Just Shoot Me. “We took Modern Family to ABC in large part because of Steve and that relationship. And because he promised us that he would launch us and support us, which he did. He’s always been a straight shooter. You knew where you stood with Steve, and I respect that. While I hear wonderful things about [McPherson replacement] Paul Lee, certainly I’m very sorry to see Steve go.”
Levitan shared the casting news that Nathan Lane has been tapped to guest star in the fall. He’ll play Cameron’s and Mitchell’s mentioned-but-never-seen flamboyant friend Pepper. Personally, I’m pretty psyched to see Lane go toe-to-toe with Eric Stonestreet’s Cameron; I always felt Cameron was modeled after Lane’s character in The Birdcage.
Levitan said he doesn’t have any immediate plans to do a show at Fox where he and Modern Family co-creator Christopher Lloyd’s previous series, Back to You, was canceled after one season. But “I’m open to the idea if they create an atmosphere that is conducive to my style of comedy,” he said.
He also wants to take Modern Family episodes off the Internet because he argues it’ll boost TV ratings. And he is in talks for a new overall deal with Modern Family producer 20th Century Fox TV
As for all the talk that Modern Family may win the best series Emmy (Lee anointed the show an Emmy winner this morning), Levitan said, ”It would be an amazing validation and a dream come true.”