Divorcing ‘Modern Family’ Producer: Conflict Is Natural

Christopher Lloyd and Steven Levitan came from different worlds: Kelsey Grammer vs. Pamela Anderson

Christopher Lloyd, one of the two creators and producers of the Emmy-nominated hit series “Modern Family,” told TheWrap last week that arguments between himself and co-creator Steven Levitan were “part of our process” on the ensemble comedy.

Christopher LloydBut according to Vulture, Lloyd and Levitan are now undergoing a different process: dissolving their four-year partnership, though they will continue to produce the show together. 

The two men are reported to be negotiating separate deals with 20th Century Fox television, which had signed them to a multiyear deal.

Lloyd (at left) said he and Levitan “do have different styles. We come from different backgrounds, in the types of shows we’ve done. But it probably pulls us both toward the center, a little bit, and it’s hard to argue with the results.”

Prior to making “Modern Family,” Levitan was best known for the David Spade comedy “Just Shoot Me,” Lloyd for the classier “Frasier.”

At the time they joined forces, both were coming off unsuccessful series: Lloyd with the Henry Winkler/Stockard Channing show “Out of Practice,” which lasted for just four episodes, and Levitan for the single-season Pamela Anderson sitcom “Stacked.”

Teaming up gave both men more clout during a rough time for situation comedies, but their first collaboration was the Kelsey Grammer/Patricia Heaton show “Back to You,” which aired on Fox (with whom the creators had problems) and lasted only one season. 

Steven Levitan“Modern Family,” their second collaboration, was an immediate hit, though the two creators immediately faced rumors that they didn’t get along.

Asked about any conflicts by TheWrap last week, Lloyd admitted to having disagreements with Levitan, but shrugged them off as part of the creative tension that comes any time you assemble a team of writers.

“There’s give and take on any show, because it’s an elaborate process on the writing side,” Lloyd said. “If just one of us were running it, there would still be a fair amount of arguing and fighting. Because when eight people care about a show, and are trying to get a story right, you’re going to have differing opinions. That’s just the nature of the beast. 

“We certainly don’t argue over every single detail,” he added. “I would venture to say that he’s good and I’m good, in different ways, and together we produce a show that’s pretty good.” 

ABC and Levitan did not respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.