As several news outlets are reporting, ABC Entertainment President Paul Lee announced early 2011-2012 pickups for six of the network’s series at this morning’s TCA Press Tour panel. Modern Family, The Middle, Cougar Town, Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, and Castle will all be back for another season.
Among those six, renewals for Modern Family and Grey’s Anatomy were considered sure things, but it is no surprise to also see The Middle, which has slowly been gaining traction despite little critical notice early on, Private Practice, which has been evolving from its spin-off identity, and Castle, with the charm of Nathan Fillion, on that list.
Perhaps the biggest, and best, surprise, is the inclusion of Cougar Town. I love the show, and think it has gotten infinitely better since it decided to ditch the original premise of “Courteney Cox sleeps with younger men,” but it doesn’t have enormous ratings, especially considering its post-Modern Family time slot. Luckily, Lee believes in its “strong creative voice,” which bodes well for a long future for the Cul de Sac Crew.
Notably absent from the announcement were Desperate Housewives and Brothers & Sisters. The Housewives cast is reportedly in the middle of contract negotiations, but is expected to return for at least another season. B&S, however, may be at the end of its run; ABC may be waiting to evaluate its fall pilot crop before making a final decision.