Levitan — joined by his cast Sofia Vergara, Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet, Ariel Winter, Nolan Gould and Aubrey Anderson-Emmons — said Wednesday evening during “Modern Family’s” FYC panel that a writers room is about be up and running for Season 9.
Asked by Variety‘s Elizabeth Wagmeister, who moderated the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences panel at the Saban Media Center, where the storyline will go next season, Levitan responded, “In about a month or so, the writers will re-gather and we will sit down and we will start the season with a big, ‘What now?’”
Levitan’s comments come as the studio, 20th Century Fox TV, and network, ABC, are negotiating to close a new license-fee deal for another season. 20th also needs to sign new cast contacts, which expired at the end of the current eighth season.
Sources tell Variety that the negotiations for Season 9 are near closing.
Prior to the panel discussion, the Season 8 finale of “Modern Family” was screened for Television Academy members. The episode is titled “The Graduates,” in which Manny (Rico Rodriguez) and Luke (Nolan Gould) graduate from high school. Levitan, who directed the episode, hypothesized as to how the ninth season would handle the kids leaving the nest and heading off to college.
“That’s a reality, we can’t escape that,” Levitan said. “We’re not ‘The Simpsons,’ where everybody can stay young forever and nobody ages, so it forces our show to change.”
Something else to possibly look forward to in Season 9 is more political influence in the Trump era.
“I’ve been thinking about that lately,” Levitan said. “How is our political movement going to affect our taste in comedy? It’s so much a part of our life now in a really big way that I wonder if it will seep in more in next season with what we’re all going through.”
The “Modern Family” cast poses together the FYC event: