ABC’s middle-America sitcom “The Middle” is ending its run.
The network said Wednesday that the show, starring Patricia Heaton and Neil Flynn as Frankie and Mike Heck, harried parents of three in Orson, Indiana, would begin its ninth and final season on Oct. 3.
“Last year we sat down with our cast and made the bittersweet decision together that in this ninth season it is time to bring the Hecks’ story to a close,” series creators Eileen Heisler and DeAnn Heline said in a joint statement. “It’s been an amazing run, a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and we’re looking forward to having an entire year to say goodbye. Plus,” they joked, “we wanted to go out before too many people knew we were on the air.”
“It’s gonna be a great final season of this wonderful show!” tweeted Heaton, 59, who won two Comedy Best Actress Emmy Awards for her role as Debra Barone in “Everybody Loves Raymond.”
“The Middle,” which premiered in 2009, also stars Charlie McDermott, Eden Sher and Atticus Shaffer as children Axl, Sue and Brick Heck. It won a 2016 Humanitas Prize, given to television programs that affirm human dignity and “our common humanity,” and was nominated for one Emmy Award, for makeup.
“It’s rare for a series to have this type of longevity,” ABC Entertainment president Channing Dungey said in a statement. “We’ve watched Axl, Sue and Brick grow up right before our eyes under Frankie and Mike’s unique parenting style. I’m looking forward to the fitting and happy ending the producers will give the Hecks and our viewers.”