The final season of The Middle will last a little longer than expected.
ABC has ordered two additional episodes of the family comedy, bringing Season 9 to 24 total episodes. Phew, that will put that difficult goodbye off for at least an hour's worth of Heck family hilarity.
Though frequently considered an afterthought compared to other ABC comedies like Modern Family and black-ish, The Middle's importance to ABC is immeasurable. The Middle has been a reliable performer for ABC since it premiered in 2009, anchoring the network's comedy efforts as it steered toward family-centered sitcoms to great success.
"We weren't nominated for Emmys, but I think our presence was an important one," star Patricia Heaton told TV Guide when reflecting on the show's legacy. "It might not seem edgy or cool, but it was the only show that was really representing working-class Americans, and that's an important presence on television."
The series moved from the vaunted Wednesday night comedy block after Season 7 to kick off a second two-hour comedy block on Tuesday nights with only a slight dip in ratings.
The Middle isn't the only ABC series to get more episodes. The network recently added a pair of installments to American Housewife, Grey's Anatomy and black-ish.
The Middle airs Tuesday nights at 8/7c on ABC.