Modern Family Vet Sarah Hyland's TV Follow-Up Just Got Bad News From ABC

Sarah Hyland as Haley Dunphy in Modern Family

Sarah Hyland was a fixture on ABC for 11 seasons as Modern Family's ditzy sweetheart Haley Dunphy, and while the sitcom’s later seasons were far from ideal for the actress, it looked like Hyland was set to continue her relationship with the network in the fairy tale drama Epic. But in a disappointing move for Hyland and fans alike, ABC's pilot season decisions have been made, and Epic did not make the cut for further development.

Epic was also a promising prospect for the network for being created and executive produced by Once Upon a Time creators Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis, but according to Deadline, ABC execs chose to pull the plug on the project altogether. Sarah Hyland was set to star as the princess Rose, and it would have been the first major series for Hyland following Modern Family’s conclusion in 2020. Prior to the award-garnering sitcom's conclusion, Hyland was fairly vocal about her disappointment in Haley’s storylines, and the actress as well as her fans were looking forward to seeing her go all in on a brand new fantastical role, especially with Horowitz and Kitsis’ background in the genre.

Epic was also set to star Brittany O’Grady (Paula in The White Lotus) and Eleanor Fanyinka (Pure and Holby City) in an anthology series that reinvented the fairy tale for a new audience. Brigitte Hales, who was part of the Once Upon a Time writing team, was also on board. It would have been really cool to see what the OUAT-friendly creative team would have done with Sarah Hyland’s modern-day princess and the genre in general, especially considering the freedom that comes with an anthology. Considering the Disney-fied drama did its own reconfiguring with storylines and casting in later years, one might have hoped that ABC would grant them a do-over to create a project more suited to the network's tastes, but apparently not.

Epic was not the only pilot passed on by ABC. Triage, Dark Horse and National Parks Investigation, which was being written and executive produced by Kevin Costner, also were not picked up, while Eve and Brandy's Queens was given the green light. Surely it’s just a part of the business, with pilots being passed on all the time, by every network that still employs that development process. Still, some high-profile projects seem destined for success, and ABC has come under fire already this year for rash decisions concerning its projects' futures.

Rebel, the legal drama starring Katey Sagal and created by Grey’s Anatomy’s Krista Vernoff, was canceled after just five episodes had aired. ABC blamed low ratings for the impulsive axing, while Sagal questioned if the show’s late time slot might have played into it drawing smaller audiences on Thursday nights, even with Grey's Anatomy as a lead-in. Regardless, the cancellation news seemed really fast, considering the success the show’s cast and crew had already brought to ABC through other projects. It's not like Sagal won't be sticking around for The Conners Season 4, but still.

Sarah Hyland’s fans might have to wait a little longer to see her in another TV series, but the actress has definitely been hustling since her days as Haley Dunphy. Since Modern Family ended, Sarah Hyland has also been connected to the multi-camera sitcom Yours, Mine and Paul’s with her Modern Family father Ty Burrell and an EP. She’s also set to star in the upcoming LGBTQ romcom My Fake Boyfriend alongside Keiynan Lonsdale and Dylan Sprouse. And she's also reportedly working on a comedy with Emily V. Gordon that is based on their lives.

Then there’s always the chance Sarah Hyland will make an appearance on the reality show circuit with her fiancé Wells Adams, who is among the guest co-hosts for Season 7 of Bachelor in Paradise, which premieres August 16 on ABC. With Hyland being a longtime superfan of the franchise, it's been rumored that fans might indeed see her on the beach. Be sure to check out what other shows are coming soon on our Summer TV schedule and our 2021 Fall TV schedule.

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Heidi Venable is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend, a mom of two and a hard-core '90s kid. She started freelancing for CinemaBlend in 2020 and officially came on board in 2021. Her job entails writing news stories and TV reactions from some of her favorite prime-time shows like Grey's Anatomy and The Bachelor. She graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a degree in Journalism and worked in the newspaper industry for almost two decades in multiple roles including Sports Editor, Page Designer and Online Editor. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.