Spinoffs are apparently close to becoming the new, hip thing to do in television. In a move that's not surprising, word on the street is ABC and 20th Century Fox are debating a spinoff for the multiple Emmy award winning comedy Modern Family. Deadline's Nellie Andreeva first reported the news late friday evening, with Variety and The Hollywood Reporter confirming it, too. The show's riding as high as ever after its millionth Emmy for Best Comedy last weekend. (Not to mention the big proposal that kicked off season five's premiere.)
The network and studio met recently to discuss a spinoff that would see Modern Family executive producers Paul Corrigan and Brad Walsh run the new show, with some help from Modern Family co-creator/executive producer Steve Levitan. Co-creator/executive producer Christopher Lloyd will stay focused solely on Modern Family proper if the new show comes to fruition.
But Andreeva cautions that talks are in "very early stages with multiples ideas" being "brandied about," according to THR, or "tossed around," according to Variety. The one concept leaked to all three publications, though, is a new show based on Rob Riggle's Gil Thorpe, who appeared in two season four episodes. Thorpe is California's best real estate agent, the chief rival to Ty Burrell's Phil Dunphy, and the brief flirtation of Claire Dunphy while she worked for him.
Spinoffs have long been a wasteland of forgotten, bad television. They work sometimes, sure. But more often than not they fade into the ether quickly, immortalized in future editions of Trivial Pursuit, perhaps, and nowhere else.
But spinoffs are the new black, THR suggests. With Modern Family's real estate agent spinoff, and Breaking Bad's Better Call Saul, based on Bob Odenkirk's sleazy lawyer, Saul Goodman, there's never been a better time to have a bit role on a wildly successful show:
A Modern Family spinoff would make sense. In a September 2012 THR cover story, sources suggested the series is a $1 billion asset for 20th TV and ABC. A Modern Family off-shoot would join a rapidly growing roster of spinoffs in the works as networks look to established properties with built-in audiences to reduce the financial risk associated with launching a new show.
Watch out for the next banker or doctor who appears on, say, Grey's Anatomy. (Though, wait, that show already produced an offspring.) But you get the point: that character could be headed for the big time, with a proper show and a name in the TV Guide. Heaven forbid there's never a Netflix spinoff, though: we'll never head the end of it.