It’s not lost on the cast and creators of ABC’s “The Middle” that the show is preparing to sign off just as there is increased attention on America’s small towns, like that of Orson, Indiana in the sitcom.
During a panel discussion at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour on Sunday, the team was asked whether Donald Trump riding the support of working class voters to his 2016 presidential victory is a sign that the show is prematurely calling it quits after its ninth and final season.
“Our timing really sucks,” replied star Patricia Heaton (Frankie). “We wait until it’s a hot topic, and then we leave.”
Series co-creator Eileen Heisler told the crowd that the producers and cast members felt that this was the right time to say goodbye, as they want “to leave when people still want more of it.”
“The decision for us to end the show was a very personal decision,” Heisler said. “Pretty much at the end of last year, we had the feeling that it meant a lot to us to know we had a season to think about it, and not to be here for nine years and [suddenly] that’s the end.”
She pointed out that Trump’s victory hasn’t changed the show’s focus or reason to exist: “For us, making the show, it’s kind of always been the same.”
Co-star Atticus Shaffer (Brick) added that the series remains focused on the connection between the characters.
“No matter what direction the country goes politically, our show is about family values and morals,” he said.
“The Middle” returns for Season 9 on Oct. 3 on ABC.