As Modern Family approaches its 200th episode on Wednesday, Jan. 10, showrunners are speculating about the future of ABC's longest-running sitcom. More specifically, a spinoff.
Despite co-creator Steve Levitan telling The Hollywood Reporter a spinoff is not something they have had "substantive conversations about," co-creator Christoper Lloyd can see the benefit in one.
Since the show's start in 2009, audience members have fallen in love with the ensemble cast, something that is totally necessary for a successful spinoff series. Lloyd says it's something showrunners will begin to address as the show wraps up; ABC renewed it for a tenth — and most likely final — season.
"Our plan is to end it at 10. If we can leave with most of our audience wanting more, I think that's the right way to do it. Never say never, but I just can't imagine that we'd go past that," Levitan said.
In order to continue into an eleventh season, Emmy-winning cast members like Julie Bowen (Claire Dunphy), Eric Stonestreet (Cameron Tucker) and Ty Burrell (Phil Dunphy) would have to be signed to big, new and expensive contracts.
Cast member Ed O'Neill (Jay Pritchett), who already had 11 seasons and more than 250 episodes of Married...With Children under his belt, said he swore he'd never sign on for another sitcom — especially not one that would last another decade.
"I was the only actor on the show that did every single episode," he told THR of his time on the Fox comedy. "I said many times after Married I would never do another half-hour situation comedy. I wasn't going to do it. When I first had a meeting with [Lloyd and Levitan], I said, 'I'm not doing it. I wish you all the best of luck.' "
Obviously, O'Neill relented, and he joined Burrell, Bowen, Stonestreet and the Emmy-nominated Sofia Vergara and Jesse Tyler Ferguson for a universally adored comedy.
Lloyd says in thinking ahead to the show's ending, they may keep in mind the aforementioned possibility of a spinoff. Even though the series finale is more than a year away, they're already throwing around some "loose ideas" about how to cap off the generation-defining show.
"We went through these questions on Frasier, when we brought that around after 11 seasons and sort of said, 'Well, the Shakespearean route on that is a birth, a death or a wedding,' and we managed to effectively do all three in the final episode," Lloyd said. "So it may be some conversation that starts there, but we haven't figured out the episode we're doing three weeks from now. It's just a little over a year and a half from now. We've got time to think about that."
Modern Family airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.