HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- The
Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS) honored ABC's
highly-successful sitcom The Middle on Monday inside
the Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre. The show is a single-camera
comedy about raising your family and lowering your expectations.
It features a middle-aged, middle class family living in the nation's
midwest in a fake town known as Orson, Indiana. Lead actress Patricia
Heaton stars as Frankie Heck, a saleswoman at a car dealer and
mother of three. The Middle airs at 8 p.m. on Wednesdays.
was born in Indiana, we both went to school in Indiana,"
said DeAnn Heline, a creator and executive producer of the show.
"At the time we were developing the show, a lot of networks
had gone away from setting comedies in the midwest. They were
doing the coasts. We just felt that we wanted to honor those people
that we knew. It was wish fulfillment at the time. We wished we
could go back to the midwest. Norm McDonald is back as Mike's
brother. That's fun."
is the show about the midwest, but four members of cast/crew are
from the middle of the country as well. Heaton is originally from
Bay Village, Ohio. Actor Neil Flynn, who plays Mike Heck on the
show and Executive Producer/Creator Eileen Heisler were born in
Chicago. Eileen Heline, the show's other executive producer/creator
was born in Cincinnati.
how we met, we wanted to celebrate the heartland," Heisler
said. "Upcoming we have Whoopi Goldberg playing Sue's guidance
counselor. We have a really fun episode with a gospel choir. Those
are our biggies. I think by the end of The Middle, we've
done everybody from Everybody Loves Raymond. We remembered
the under appreciated wrestling cheerleaders in high school. It
was kind of random for Sue, but fun."
Heck uses her wit and sense of humor to help get her family through
each day intact. She struggles as the least successful sales woman
at the town's only surviving car dealership.
always nice having a job, there's a lot of actors that are out
of work," Heaton said. "I'm fortunate to have another
series that I love doing. We have Whoopi Goldberg coming up as
one of the guest stars. There's a wedding coming up at some point
in the future. I think now they tend to syndicate while a show
is still running instead of waiting for the series to have ended
because it helps get more viewers to come to the new episodes."
Loves Raymond stars Ray Romano and Doris Roberts have
both guest starred on The Middle during this season.
we're just missing Brad Garrett so we'll have to work him in there
somehow," she added. "It was a little bit bizarre. It
was like when worlds collide to have Ray come on and not be my
husband, have someone else play my husband. It was a little fun.
I think there was even an inside joke about whether I remembered
Ray or not."
is the manager of a local quarry and is Frankie's partner in the
daily grind that involves raising their average family. The two
raise their family with love, humor and Midwestern practicality.
a great pleasure to be on the show," Flynn said. "You
can't take having a job for granted in this business, so I feel
very lucky. Personally, I'm not married and don't have kids. I
am acting more than anyone else on the show. I don't think the
Hecks do a bad job of raising their kids. They do a pragmatic
job of raising their kids. If I had kids, it would probably be
similar. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? I don't know. I'll
say yes, final answer. I feel lucky that I was able to hop from
one show to the next without really a break. I'm very grateful
Charlie McDermott plays Axl, the oldest of the three kids. He
is a jock slacker who eats the Heck family out of the house and
constantly walks around the house in his boxer shorts.
feels great, it feels awesome, I feel very lucky," McDermott
said. "I was probably the complete opposite of Axl. I was
very quiet. I wore lots of clothes. This is the first series that
I've been on as a regular at all. The fact that we've been going
so far for so long is great. It's very awesome. The upcoming episodes
are going to be really good. The second half of the third season
is the best batch of episodes we've had. The finale is really
good too. We just filmed that last week. I'm very excited about
it. Thanks for watching and I hope that everyone continues to."
Eden Sher stars as Sue, the middle child. She is an extraordinary
ordinary teen daughter, who fails at just about everything. This
season, she entered high school as a freshman and now goes to
the same school as Axl.
have the same real dynamic in my real life," Sher said. "I
have an older brother and a younger brother. It's exactly how
I act, no differences in any way. No, I don't play cross country.
I would not have tried as hard as Sue Heck, but I think we can
all take a note from her. That determination is admirable. It
feels so great to be going in syndication. It feels so great.
I don't know if it's OK to say this, it feels like money. "
the average work week as an actress on The Middle.
five days a week, starting at 6 a.m. and sometimes going as late
as eight or 9 p.m.," the 20-year-old actress explained. "But
sometimes I'll start at six and only go until six and then it's
fine. But that's pretty much it for like five days per week, 12
hours a day."
Atticus Shaffer plays Brick, the youngest of the three kids. He
is a quirky fourth-grader who enjoys reading more than anything
else. He has the habit of putting his head down and whispering
to himself during the show.
really like being on the show because it's just a relatable show,"
Shaffer said. "Everyone with their family and kids can sit
down and watch it. It's not too inappropriate for the kids, it's
not going to be too high in times for the adults. I really like
being a comedian, not like the class clown or anything. I like
making people laugh and genuinely laugh. That makes me feel good.
I do talk to myself, just not in a whisper. I think everybody
does, just not the way I do it. I'll say words that sound good
to me like jalapeño. I'll blurt that out as I'm walking
down the street. The character Brick was actually based on Eileen's
son, one of the creator's son. Apparently, he did the whispering
thing. It was a phase for him."
discussed some of the TV shows that he grew up watching.
be honest, I had a lot of variety watching the shows," the
13-year-old actor who plays Brick explained. "I love watching
cartoons, I still do. I like Star Wars: The Clone Wars
and Chowder, when it was on. I like having the random
humor and the storyline humor. But I used to watch some of the
older family sitcoms like Full House, Family Matters.
I would watch those. I really like it. I feel like I'm a part
of that. Hopefully, it could go on to be like that. I'll also
watch the other quirky stuff like Pawn Stars.
new episodes will continue to air on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on ABC,
the sitcom will begin airing in syndication. ABC Family will air
re-runs starting in the fall of 2013 while the Hallmark Channel
will air re-runs beginning in March 2014.
feels real good, that's what every writer dreams of," Heisler
explained. "I think it will be really thrilling when it actually
goes into syndication. We'll see it on more. Hopefully, it will
bring more audiences."
added: "Once the show starts in syndication, people start
watching it at that Wednesday eight o'clock time slot too. It
brings more people to it so it will be great. Thank you for caring
about The Middle. It's very exciting for us."
Middle is taped at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank, Calif.
However, it does not have a live studio audience like how most
other sitcoms have.
see the show the way it is for a reason," Shaffer explained.
"You're able to completely commit yourself to something.
It's not multiple days of rehearsal on the day then you shoot.
You can really get into it and dedicate yourself to each scene.
At the same road, having a studio audience would give you feedback
on how the line was or how is this character. I hope everyone
enjoys the show and read on."
"We have a proper single-cam formula and I think it works
with our format. I don't think we need a laugh track or anything."
Weekly's Tanner Stransky moderated the discussion inside
the Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre. Complimentary attendance was
offered for Television Academy members and one guest.
event at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences will be
"Welcome to Shondaland: An Evening with Shonda Rhimes &
Friends." It will take place on April 2 from 7:30 p.m. to
9:00 p.m. at the Leonard H. Goldenson Theatre.
more information about ABC's "The Middle," visit their
official website at abc.go.com/shows/the-middle.
more information about the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences,
visit their official website at www.emmys.tv.
ABC Family's 'GREEK' returns on Monday at new time - 10 p.m.
actress Patricia Heaton from ABC's The Middle
main cast of ABC's The Middle on the red carpet.
stars as Frankie Heck on the ABC series.
BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com
actor Neil Flynn stars as Mike Heck on The Middle.
BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com
Eden Sher signs autographs for her fans.