ABC renewed dependable sitcom The Middle for a ninth season on Wednesday.

The family comedy, which stars Patricia Heaton and Neil Flynn as middle-class Midwesterners raising three kids, is the second longest-running sitcom on ABC, having premiered one week after Modern Family in 2009.

"The Middle has been one of the network's most consistent performers and helped us to launch a whole new night of comedy when it moved to Tuesdays this season," ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey said in a statement. "The Indiana Hecks have found America's sweet spot with their authentic, acerbic and always loving take on parenting, work, kids, marriage and life."

Patricia Heaton, Charlie McDermott, Atticus Shaffer, Eden Sher and Neil Flynn, <em>The Middle</em>Patricia Heaton, Charlie McDermott, Atticus Shaffer, Eden Sher and Neil Flynn, The Middle

The Middle was the longtime 8pm anchor show for ABC's Wednesday comedy block, and it moved to Tuesdays this season to help launch that night's successful comedy block, leading into freshman success American Housewife.

Along with Modern Family, it helped set the tone for ABC's best-in-class comedy programming.

The Middle airs Tuesdays at 8/7c on ABC.