The Heck family may be saying goodbye, but at least they’re doing it on their own terms. Following last week’s announcement that ABC’s The Middle will come to an end after the upcoming ninth season, the creators spoke at the Television Critics Association summer press tour on Sunday to explain why it’s time that fans say goodbye to the Heck’s sooner than later.
“The decision for us to end the show was a personal decision,” said co-creator and executive producer Eileen Heisler. “We had all talked together as creators and cast. I kind of feel like that moment for us when we felt it was time was wanting to leave when people still wanted more of it rather than staying so long that people go, ‘Whatever, why did they stay for so long?'”
According to TVGuide.com, Heisler and co-creator Deann Heline originally pitched the ending of the series last fall to Channing Dungey, the president of ABC. The idea was ultimately confirmed to become a reality this past spring during the end of Season 8. Heisler and Heline both found it very important to have notice regarding the upcoming season so that they can give fans the best and most emotional ending possible.
“Everything is seen through the prism that this is our last season. The first episode we’re acknowledging and talking about what is the Heck’s legacy,” Heline told reporters. “That’s why we wanted to go out on our own terms in this last season. So, when we bring some of our great characters back like Reverend Tim-Tom and all of that, we really want to make sure everyone is having a special episode.” She added, “It’s not like it’s going to be something crazy and different. It’s still going to be the show that you love but I think that it will have extra meaning for fans that love the show.”
Heisler and Heline both reflected on the impact the series has had on middle America, as well as on the world during the event. “What we find is that The Middle is now playing everywhere around the world,” Heline said, as reported by Deadline. “And what’s amazing is that whether you’re someone who’s in an urban city or in another country, everyone can identify with it.” Heisler added, “People in the middle of the country have been touched by the honoring of their everyday life, that’s what we’ve noticed.”
The creators also revealed that the final season will include an hour long series finale that will not disappoint loyal fans. The Middle will return to ABC for its ninth and final season on Tuesday, October 3 at 8/7c on ABC.