×

Emmys: ‘Modern Family’ Driven by Quality, Not Quantity

Staying fresh is chief concern of three-time Emmy winner

After three consecutive Emmys for top comedy series, you’d think producers of “Modern Family” would feel pressure to maintain their winning streak, but exec producer Christopher Lloyd says the real pressure involves retaining the quality.

“We don’t want to find people saying, ‘Oh. They’re telling that story again. Didn’t we already see those people in that situation?’” says Lloyd, who shares showrunning duties with Steven Levitan. “But at the same time, we don’t want to so radically change the characters or what we’re exploring so much that it feels like a different series.”

Fortunately, kids grow up. Manny and Luke are about to enter high school, baby Lily is now a full-fledged character, and Jay and Gloria have a baby. Each stage of life brings new comic opportunities. Like Haley dating an older man — one of Lloyd’s favorite moments from last season.

“It happened in the episode where we were introducing the baby,” Lloyd says. “I think everyone thought the birth would be the emotional moment of the episode, but it wound up being something completely different.”

After struggling not make a fuss about Haley’s older boyfriend, Phil loses it. Says Lloyd: “It reaches this really affecting place where he can simply not allow it. He comes back and says he wants more for his little girl. She overhears that and gets essentially what she wanted.”

Another season highlight: when Luke decides to quit doing magic, but Phil won’t let him quit unless he can master the Butler’s Escape. “Luke’s so frustrated, like any teenager ever, and goes, ‘You guys drive me crazy! I hate you guys,’ then throws this thing down, there’s this huge puff of smoke and he disappears into the middle of it. That’s a moment that will make me laugh forever, any time I see it,” Lloyd says.

Serendipity struck when Matthew Broderick guest starred as a man assuming he’s on a date with Phil.

“It culminated in a scene where they took their shirts off and had a big hug while watching a football game,” Lloyd recalls. “It was very hard for them to get through it without laughing. But I think that laughter, in a way, wound up engendering the whole scene with nervous energy — which is certainly what those characters would have been feeling in that moment.”

While creating fresh stories grows more challenging each year, Lloyd says everyone at “Modern” is up for the task.

“If you’d told me when this show began that we’d win three Emmys, I would not have believed you,” he says. “We feel blessed, but at the same time we’re competitive and we work for this kind of recognition. Our fingers are crossed going into the awards. Who knows what will happen, but we’re really grateful that we’re still in the conversation.”

More TV

  • Titans Ep. 101--Photo Credit: Steve Wilkie

    'Titans' Crew Member Dies After Stunt Goes Wrong at Special Effects Facility

    A crew member of DC Universe show “Titans” died following an incident during rehearsal at a special effects facility in Toronto on Thursday. The stunt, which involved a car, went awry when a piece of the car broke off unexpectedly and struck a special effects coordinator. Production will be shut down for two days. “We [...]

  • One Percenter TV Shows

    New Wave of TV Shows Lets Viewers Watch the Rich Get Their Just Deserts

    “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven,” reads the sign at the entrance to the massive Gemstone family compound. It goes on: “No trespassing.”  “The Righteous Gemstones,” the new HBO comedy debuting Aug. 18, depicts a family that’s as pious about other people’s fortunes as it is protective of its own. Led by patriarch John [...]

  • Stephen Hillenburg (Exec. Prod. Spongebob)'The Spongebob

    'SpongeBob SquarePants' Team Honors Stephen Hillenburg at Comic-Con

    The cast of “SpongeBob SquarePants” paid tribute to the late Stephen Hillenburg during their panel at San Diego Comic-Con on Thursday. “SpongeBob to me represents Steve in a really profound way,” said Bill Fagerbakke, who voices Patrick Star. “The nature of that character is what the whole show is built on and so it’s kind [...]

  • Tina Fey, Ted Danson Comedy Series

    Tina Fey, Ted Danson Comedy Series Ordered at NBC

    NBC is bringing together two of its biggest stars in Ted Danson and Tina Fey for a new comedy. The network has issued a straight to series order for a comedy in which will star Danson as a wealthy businessman who runs for mayor of Los Angeles for all the wrong reasons. Once Danson’s character [...]

  • On-Location Filming Slides 3.9% in Los

    On-Location Filming Slides 3.9% in Los Angeles in Second Quarter

    Held down by a lack of soundstage space, total on-location filming in greater Los Angeles declined 3.9% in the second quarter to 8,632 shoot days, permitting agency FilmLA reported Thursday. “Although our latest report reveals a decline in filming on location, local production facilities tell us that they are operating at capacity,” said FilmLA president [...]

  • Don Johnson

    'Nash Bridges' Revival With Don Johnson in Development at USA Network

    USA Network is in early development on a revival of “Nash Bridges,” Variety has confirmed. Original series star Don Johnson has signed on to star in the series, reprising the title role he played for six seasons when the show originally ran on CBS. Carlton Cuse, who created the original show, is not attached as he [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content