TCA: ‘Modern Family’ producers discuss McPherson’s exit, and their own separation

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(Steve Levitan, left, and Christopher Lloyd at a past TCA. The producers appeared at Sunday’s ABC press tour, but only at a “Modern Family”- themed coffee break.)

Separate but equal: “Modern Family” exec producers Steve Levitan and Christopher Lloyd dissolved their formal producing partnership this year, but very little has actually changed in their day-to-day involvement on the show.

Levitan and Lloyd had already been splitting showrunning duties on “Modern Family,” and the exec producers said Sunday that the arrangement — in which they take turns running lead on an episode — hasn’t changed.

“Nothing’s any different,” said Lloyd, as the cast and producers of “Modern Family” chatted with reporters at the TV Critics Assn. press tour. “It’s a joint job. We do a lot together, and a lot in different places. Tomorrow and a year ago, it’s no different.”

Nonetheless, the end of their partnership means that both Levitan and Lloyd are free to strike new overall deals. Both have been approached by “Modern Family” studio 20th Century Fox TV, where the duo were previously set up as a team, to sign new deals. A pact with Levitan appears to be likely to happen first.

“We’re talking,” Levitan said of 20th. “We’ll see.”

Both Levitan and Lloyd said their primary goal is to keep their eyes on the prize and make sure “Modern Family” — which has already been sold off-net to USA — maintains its quality. But down the road, neither rules out working on new development.

Levitan said he’s got nothing planned at the moment, but wouldn’t rule out helping out a scribe (especially a “Modern Family” writer) as a supervisor on any development they generate.

“This is a very personal show for me and I want it to live up to its potential,” Levitan said of “Modern Family,” which he called “the best chance in my life” to be involved with a show that comes with a legacy attached, like “MASH.”

Lloyd, meanwhile, also said that he was “not personally in a big hurry to develop. This is more than a full time job. Over time, perhaps.”

Asked about the exit of Steve McPherson — who was a champion of the show — Levitan called the exec “a long time friend.”

“He was a mid-level NBC executive on (Levitan’s) ‘Just Shoot Me,'” Levitan said. “So we go way back. We took ‘Modern Family’ to ABC in large part because of Steve. He promised he’d watch us well, which he did. And he’s a straight shooter. So I’m sorry on a personal level to see Steve go. I like people who shoot from the hip.”

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