The Middle‘s Sue Heck may be coming back to ABC. I hear the network is in negotiations for a pilot production commitment to a spinoff from the middle-class family comedy toplined by series co-star Eden Sher. The project, which could be for midseason consideration, comes from The Middle creators/executive producers Eileen Heisler and DeAnn Heline and studio Warner Bros. TV.
Deals with Sher, Heisler and Heline are still being finalized for the potential comedy series, which would be centered on Sher’s Sue character. I hear the new show will be set a few years in the future from The Middle finale, chronicling the next stage of Sue’s life as a young adult with a new cast of characters around her.
The concept for the series is still being honed in, with a couple of other writers from the original series expected to join Heline and Heisler. The project is still in development, with a pilot possibly filming in late October. If picked up to series right away, that would put it in contention for a midseason 2019 launch. ABC also could opt to consider it with the rest of its 2019 pilots for the 2019-20 season.
Talks about a Sue-centered Middle spinoff started several months ago; that is why Sher did not entertain any pilot offers this past season. While negotiations had been ongoing, there likely is some added urgency following ABC’s decision yesterday to abruptly cancel its hit blue-collar comedy Roseanne.
While The Middle spinoff could not possibly be ready for fall to replace Roseanne on ABC’s schedule, the cancellation opens up real estate. The network had been considering different scenarios for filling the void left by Roseanne, including picking up another comedy pilot — with Steps starring Ginnifer Goodwin being buzzed about, along with untitled Justin Noble starring Kat Dennings — or moving up the premiere of The Goldbergs spinoff Schooled from midseason to fall.
If The Middle spinoff goes to series, it would the the third spinoff from a recent ABC comedy series, joining Schooled and Black-ish offshoot Grown-ish, which airs on ABC sibling Freeform. While the other two are running alongside the mothership series, The Middle spinoff would succeed the original series, which wrapped its nine-season run earlier this month.
“Our ratings have been great and ABC was very clear they did want more seasons — it was our decision to bring it to a close. And hey… I can’t tell you what’s next… gotta save it for the reboot. See you in ten years!,” Heisler said in an interview with Deadline after The Middle series finale.
Sher was a breakout star of The Middle since the comedy’s 2009 launch. She won a Critics’ Choice TV award for her work on the show in 2013. She is repped by Paradigm and LINK Entertainment and Skrzyniarz & Mallean. Heline and Heisler are repped by UTA.