Six ABC series have received early renewals, the network announced Monday.
Medical dramas Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice, crime drama Castle and the network's three sophomore comedies, The Middle, Modern Family, and Cougar Town will each return next season.
"We really stood by our Wednesday comedy block and who would have thought a year ago that The Middle, which I think is such an underrated show, would kick off what I think is one of the best nights of comedy," ABC President Paul Lee said at the Television Critics Association's winter previews. "That's a core part of our schedule."
Lee also said Grey's and Private Practice "were really at the top of their creative form" this season, while he heavily praised Castle's performance in the difficult Mondays-at-10 timeslot. (The show topped CBS' buzzed-about Hawaii Five-0 reboot several times in the fall.)
"Castle really showed its mettle this year," Lee said. "It's a show that I think hits the target of our brand. ... We have a really powerful procedural there."
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Notably absent from the pickups, however, were Sunday dramas Desperate Housewives and Brothers & Sisters. Housewives creator Marc Cherry is contracted for two more seasons, but contracts for stars Teri Hatcher, Felicity Huffman, Marcia Cross and Eva Longoria expire at the end of this season.
Brothers & Sisters' renewal prospects have been debated all season. The network originally ordered only 18 episodes for its current season. Decent ratings then led ABC to up the order to the traditional 22 episodes.
This batch of early renewals doesn't necessarily mean those two shows or other network series such as Detroit 1-8-7, V and Better with You are doomed. Lee said the network "[has] ambitions" to renew Housewives and that a decision about Detroit wouldn't come for two or three months.
Which of the renewed shows are you most excited about?