ABC To Keep Laughing Next Season

Modern-family ABC is keen on its comedies.

ABC Entertainment Group prexy Steve McPherson announced Tuesday morning that he had given early second-season orders to Wednesday night frosh “Modern Family,” “CougarTown” and “The Middle.”

News was fresh enough that the network hadn’t even informed its producers yet of the sophomore pickups.

All three shows have helped establish a laffer block for the network, which hasn’t had much success with sitcoms in recent years. It also validates the gamble ABC took this year in launching a two-hour block of all new series.

Of those four comedies, one has been a breakout hit – “Modern Family” – while one didn’t make it to midseason (“Hank”). “CougarTown” and “The Middle” have also been earning strong notices from crix.

As a block, the picked-up comedies “The Middle, “Modern Family” and “CougarTown” are outperforming the net’s average in the timeslot last year with “Pushing Daisies” and “Private Practice.”

Renewals spread the wealth among studios: “Modern Family” comes from 20th Century Fox TV; “CougarTown,” from ABC TV Studios; and “The Middle” hails from Warner Bros. TV.

ABC’s pickup reps the second early sophomore order of the week at the nets. Fox confirmed Monday that it was greenlighting a second season of “Glee.” (That makes for a good week for 20th Century Fox TV, which is also behind that musical series.)

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