ABC Boss On Potential ‘Fresh Off the Boat’, ‘Modern Family’ Spinoffs, ‘Mad About You’ & Acquisitions

Preity Zinta Vir Das Jesse Tyler Ferguson Eric Stonestreet
(L-R) Preity Zinta, Vir Das, Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet ABC

Two long-running ABC comedy series, Modern Family and Fresh off the Boat, ended their runs this past season. Both have been exploring spinoffs.

The Fresh Off the Boat offshoot was more fully formed. Set up as a potential backdoor pilot episode of FOTB this past season, the project, tentatively titled Magic Motor Inn, was written by Rachna Fruchbom, and centers around an Indian family whose daughter attends school with Eddie. The plated spinoff episode guests starred Preity Zinta and Vir Das as the parents.

“The Fresh off the Boat spinoff that was developed this season did not ultimately come together. I think, in a way that the teams wanted to, so it is not at the moment moving forward,” ABC Entertainment president Karey Burke told Deadline in an interview tied to the network’s announcement of the 2020-21 schedule.

While this particular iteration is not going forward, I hear there is still enthusiasm for the general spinoff idea.

Burke had nothing to report yet about a potential Mitch and Cam Modern Family spinoff.

As Deadline reported in March, a couple of Modern Family writers have been thinking about the idea, per series co-creator/executive producer Steve Levitan.

“I don’t want to say it’s a long shot, it’s under discussion but we’ll see,” fellow Modern Family co-creator/executive producer Christopher Lloyd said at the time, stressing that “doing a spinoff is fraught in a lot of ways, and we won’t do it unless we feel confident there’s something there … particularly because Modern Family is a tough act to follow.”

While everyone is proceeding with caution, the idea for a Mitch (played on the mothership series by Jesse Tyler Ferguson) and Cam (Eric Stonestreet) spinoff has had strong support at ABC and Modern Family producer 20th Century Fox TV for years, and I hear the network and the studio remain high on the idea.

ABC has been the most active broadcast network in pursuing comedy series spinoffs. Four such projects have gone on the air in the past couple of years, Roseanne offshoot The Conners, black-ish spinoffs grown-ish (on Freeform) and mixed-ish, as well as The Goldbergs‘ sequel Schooled, which aired for two seasons.

On the drama side, ABC has Grey’s Anatomy spinoff Station 19.

“We would be foolish not to be having conversations about spinoffs of our other great shows,” Burke said.


While an executive at NBC, Burke was involved in the development and production of Mad About You. A revival limited series, which was commissioned by Spectrum Originals, has been shopped to broadcast networks in the wake of Fox picking up the broadcast window on another Spectrum original series, LA’s Finest, as nets have been looking for already produced scripted series to put on the air amid continuing Hollywood production shutdown.

“We looked at the new Mad About You,” Burke said. “We were lucky to be in a position where we did not have to reach for third-party content to fill our pipeline. We feel confident that what we have in our pipeline and, if necessary, the other platforms here at the Walt Disney Company, have shows that could pivot to our airwaves if need be.”

ABC recently revived the Wonderful Worlds of Disney franchise featuring popular Disney family movies.

This article was printed from