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Exclusive: ABC Picking Up First-Year Comedies

“Modern Family,” “Cougar Town” and “The Middle” will all be back next season

UPDATE 12:01 PM CST: McPherson just confirmed TheWrap’s report, officially ordering second seasons of the comedies. Producers weren’t called in advance. 

ABC is giving early greenlights to freshmen comedy success stories "Modern Family," "Cougar Town" and "The Middle," a senior executive familiar with the decision confirmed.

Network chief Steve McPherson could announce the renewals as early as this morning at ABC’s session at the TV Critics Assn. press tour. However, since it wasn’t immediately clear if all of the network’s business affairs ducks were in a row, there could yet be a delay.

Like Fox’s early pickup of "Glee," the decision is pretty much a no-brainer for ABC, which has found major comedy momentum via its Wednesday lineup of half-hours. 

"Modern Family" is produced by 20th Century Fox TV, "Cougar" is from ABC Studios and Warner Bros. TV produces "The Middle."

An ABC spokeswoman declined to confirm the orders.

McPherson may also announce scheduling for its Jamie Oliver cooking competition. Our source: ABC publicity was handing out copies of Oliver’s book to reporters this morning.

More details on the comedy news to come…