Neil Flynn Extends Series Regular Streak To 17 Seasons With ‘Abby’s’ Pickup


The Middle star Neil Flynn is on a roll. Two weeks before his ABC family comedy series is set to end its nine-season run on ABC, his NBC pilot Abby’s was ordered up to series.

With the pickup, Flynn is extending his streak of being a series regular on a comedy series to 17 consecutive seasons and counting.


Flynn rose to prominence with his role as the Janitor on NBC’s single-camera medical comedy Scrubs. After a scene-stealing run during the first season, in which he was billed as a recurring guest star, Flynn was promoted to a series regular at the start of Season 2 in 2002 when the streak began. Flynn had been a series regular on Scrubs for seven seasons when he was cast as the male lead opposite Patricia Heaton in the ABC single-camera pilot The Middle. As The Middle was picked up to series in May 2009, Scrubs — already airing on ABC after a move from NBC — was renewed for a ninth and final season. Flynn reverted to a guest starring status on Scrubs as he segued to his series regular role on Season 1 of The Middle. 

After 16 consecutive seasons as a series regular on Scrubs and The Middle, Flynn will make that 17 now that Abby’s is headed to NBC’s 2018-19 schedule. (While Flynn was billed as a recurring on Season 1 of Scrubs, he appeared in all 24 episodes, so one could make an argument that his series regular streak should be going to 18 consecutive seasons, not 17.)

Flynn had no break between the two shows, wrapping The Middle finale on Friday and starting work on the Abby’s pilot the following Monday. He has a prominent co-starring role opposite lead Natalie Morales in the multi-camera NBC comedy and was featured alongside her in the first image from the pilot released today (above).

Written by Josh Malmuth and directed by Pam Fryman, Abby’s is set at an unlicensed bar in San Diego. Flynn plays Fred, a fixture at the bar, who is grateful for a place to relax, unwind, and have a beer every night.

And how is this for a nice coincidence? Flynn’s streak matches that of Kelsey Grammer who played Frasier Crane as a series regular for 17 consecutive seasons, six on Cheers —  an NBC multi-camera bar comedy where Frasier too was a fixture — and 11 on spinoff Frasier. 

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