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For nine seasons, The Middle was one of the most popular shows on TV that too few people were talking about, and its farewell earlier this year was mourned by millions and millions of TV viewers. Thankfully, ABC isn't completely done with the Heck family yet, and the network confirmed it is moving forward with the long-rumored spinoff centered on daughter Sue Heck.
ABC has finally gone public with news that a pilot has been ordered for a currently untitled The Middle spinoff focused on actress Eden Sher's socially cringe-worthy Sue Heck, and some details have now emerged about what viewers could expect to see if the project gets ordered to series. The Middle offshoot will take a trip completely outside of the familiar Indiana setting, with Sue heading out to pursue career goals in Chicago. And as one might imagine, it will be quite an awakening for the young woman, who will have some maturing to do in the big city.
The Middle's series finale seemingly gave Sue a solid wrap-up, showing that she was still in college before taking a jump forward in time to reveal that she eventually married the family neighbor Sean Donahue, as played by Beau Wirick.(Though not before the proper amount of break-ups.) The spinoff, however, won't center on that future timeline, and will instead take place during the period before the flash-forward and after the finale's general timeline. As in a few years later, according to TVLine, and not immediately after.
News about The Middle's spinoff first popped up back in May, just after Season 9 concluded. And star Eden Sher was talking about the pilot moving forward during San Diego Comic-Con, though ABC had stayed mum on the subject until now. Nothing was mentioned about The Middle's other stars showing up, though we can't imagine Sue going very far without talking about her exciting new experiences with Patricia Heaton's Frankie and Neil Flynn's Mike.
Thankfully for fans, The Middle's spinoff won't be seeking out new talent in order to put it together. Series creators Eileen Heisler and DeAnn Heline will be writing the script for the Sue-fronted project, and will also be executive producing. It's unclear at this time if they would take on showrunner duties if the project gets ordered to series.
ABC's current crop of comedies is still doing well with viewers, but long-time staple Modern Family presumably doesn't have many seasons left, and more recent series like Splitting Up Together and American Housewife are similar to The Middle in the "popular without a whole lot of buzz" department. ABC did develop a spinoff for black-ish last season, though grown-ish ended up moving over to Freeform for its debut season. The network is also busy putting together The Conners, a spinoff that aims to capitalize on the Roseanne revival's giant audience without its star's polarizing social media views. If this new comedy moves forward, The Middle's follow-up could end up filling The Conners' time slot in the midseason.
The Middle is currently finished with its nine-season run, but you can catch some recent episodes on Hulu while waiting for more spinoff news. And you can also head to our fall premiere schedule to see what else is heading to primetime.