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Patricia Heaton & Neil Flynn Talk 'The Middle,' Competing with 'Modern Family' & More

Even though they didn't get nominated for an Emmy (and win -- ahem, 'Modern Family') or go on tour all summer (ah, 'Glee'), the cast of 'The Middle' is ready for their second season. I sat down with stars Patricia Heaton and Neil Flynn to hear what they have in store for their little engine that could sophomore show, including an 'Everybody Loves Raymond' blast from the past for Patricia in the season premiere (Wed., Sept. 22, 8PM ET on ABC). They also take stabs at what art-imitating-life stories we might see, including Japanese exchange students and Harlem Globe Trotters. And when talking about 'Modern Family' -- part of their same ABC comedy block -- and the fact that they've already gotten to do a big Hawaii vacation episode, these comedy pros take it all in stride: "Well, they seem like nice people." Gotta love that attitude. Source Here

THE MIDDLE ''Back to School'' Season 2 Premiere - Preview

Watch a sneak peek of the season 2 premiere episode of THE MIDDLE  Back to School  Season 2 Episode 1 which will air on WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22 (8:00-8:30 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. Episode Synopsis:  After a disastrous attempt to get her kids ready for the first day of school, Frankie devises a plan to stay on top of her kids schedules in order to better organize their lives. But things go from bad to worse when Frankie - aided by a reluctant Mike - tries to be pre-emptive and explains Brick's eccentric quirks to his new, no nonsense teacher, Ms. Rinsky (Doris Roberts), and gets accused of being over protective. Meanwhile, Sue is so enthusiastic about being on the school's cross-country team that she wears a heavy sweatshirt touting her team spirit in 80 degree heat, and Axl's body clock gets thrown for a loop when Frankie begins waking him up for school with an alarm clock, on the season premiere of  The Middle,  WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22 (8:00-8:30 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. Source & Preview

THE MIDDLE ''Back to School'' Season 2 Premiere - Preview

Watch a sneak peek of the season 2 premiere episode of THE MIDDLE Back to School Season 2 Episode 1 which will air on WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22 (8:00-8:30 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. Episode Synopsis: After a disastrous attempt to get her kids ready for the first day of school, Frankie devises a plan to stay on top of her kids schedules in order to better organize their lives. But things go from bad to worse when Frankie - aided by a reluctant Mike - tries to be pre-emptive and explains Brick's eccentric quirks to his new, no nonsense teacher, Ms. Rinsky (Doris Roberts), and gets accused of being over protective. Meanwhile, Sue is so enthusiastic about being on the school's cross-country team that she wears a heavy sweatshirt touting her team spirit in 80 degree heat, and Axl's body clock gets thrown for a loop when Frankie begins waking him up for school with an alarm clock, on the season premiere of The Middle, WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22 (8:00-8:30 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. Source & Preview

First Look: Raymond Reunion on The Middle!

Expect to feel some deja vu when The Middle returns on September 22 with an episode that reunites Patricia Heaton with her Everybody Loves Raymond mother-in-law, Doris Roberts. And for Heaton, it's like old times when her character, Frankie, ends up on the losing side of a battle with Roberts, who plays Brick's teacher Ms. Rinsky, a woman Heaton describes as "very no-nonsense and sick of interfering parents like Frankie." Executive producer Eileen Heisler adds, "It's a nod to their previous relationship, where [Ms. Rinsky] just kind of makes Frankie spin - she makes her confidence go down the drain rather quickly." Heisler, a self-proclaimed Raymond fan, says she didn't consider having the two get along. "I don't think anyone would have liked that. Patty tries, but I don't think she can ever have the last word with Doris Roberts - not on my watch!" Source Here

Betty White on 'The Middle': Never underestimate the importance of penmanship

Continuing with her own 2010 Rainbow Tour, Betty White popped up on the season finale of The Middle last night as tyrannical librarian Mrs. Nethercott. She was determined to destroy Brick Heck (Atticus Shaffer), who despite being a voracious reader, had a tendency to return dirty library books. From her reading glasses necklace to the colorful 'I To Read More Click Here .

Patricia Heaton on Spending Mother's Day in 'The Middle'

As the first season of ABC's Wednesday comedy 'The Middle' comes to a close, viewers are starting to catch on to the show's easygoing comedy and family-friendly vibe. Much of that vibe has to do with the show's star, Patricia Heaton. As the harried but loving Indiana mom Frankie Heck, Heaton has reminded audiences that can a show be funny without being mean. At the same time, she's broken away from the image people had of her for nine years, as high-strung Long Island housewife Debra Barone on 'Everybody Loves Raymond.' Heaton spoke with me last week about how the first season has gone, how the word "security" doesn't exist in show biz and about the Japanese exchange student that came to live with her family. She also talked about tonight's episode, 'Mother's Day,' airing at 8:30PM ET, and what it's like to work with Marsha Mason, who guests as Frankie's mother in the episode. To Read More Click Here .

Tonight's TV Hot List: Wednesday, May 5, 2010

* The Middle (8:30/7:30c ABC) What the Hecks? It's like Mother's Day in reverse for Frankie when she spends the holiday doing even more than usual for Mike and the kids instead of the other way around. Then she escapes the Heck house for a few hours to take solace at her mom's place and dumps the same mess on her mother (Marsha Mason), expecting to be waited on hand and foot. Meanwhile, Sue feels guilty about stealing a motivational magnet from a store, even though the magnet itself is partly to blame. * American Idol (9/8c Fox) "Croon a tune" was the task last night when the final five reimagined the swingy standards of Frank Sinatra, an entertainment titan so iconic that he has no less than three nicknames - Ol' Blue Eyes, the Chairman of the Board, and the Voice. Hot on the heels of those performances comes tonight's results show, in which one of our gifted singers - Crystal Bowersox, Lee DeWyze, Casey James, Aaron Kelly or Michael Lynche - will be sent packing. Boosting the proceedings are performances by Harry Connick Jr. (last night's music mentor) and Lady Gaga, who delivers her song "Alejandro." * America's Next Top Model (8/7c The CW ) At the end of this episode the final four will be revealed. But to make it into that elite group, the five remaining models must impress their latest photographer - Tyra! They also meet New Zealand actress Sarah McLeod and visit one of the sets for The Lord of the Rings, which McLeod appeared in, where they pose for a quick five-frame photo shoot. * The New Adventures of Old Christine (8/7c CBS) Tim Meadows guest stars in an episode that's literally a scream. That's because New Christine (Emily Rutherfurd) goes into painful labor (Meadows is her ob-gyn). But Old Christine is screaming as well because she believes a prowler is on the loose in her neighborhood, and she convinces Matthew to stay over. * Criminal Minds (9/8c CBS) The NFL's Greg Jennings guest-stars and his character makes a sweep of sorts...a sweep of a crime scene as he plays an evidence technician who aids the team. The case involves a serial killer who commits suicide and leaves clues identifying a person he abducted - and who could still be alive. * Top Chef Masters (10/9c Bravo ) Bravo's palate-pleasing reality-meets-cooking series progresses to the next level - the champions round, featuring the advancing Top 8 culinary artisans. The heat is on when these chief chefs form teams for a blindfolded, cuisine-themed relay race. Later, in the elimination round, the cooks are tasked to cater a wedding in San Juan Capistrano, Cal. There likely won't be wedded bliss for the competitors since there's a big catch: They must cook out of mobile kitchens. * Live from Lincoln Center (9/8c PBS) Alan Alda hosts what's sure to be a delectable menu of classical delights at the Lincoln Center's Stanley H. Kaplan Penthouse, where the "power trio" of pianist Emanuel Ax, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and violinist Itzhak Perlman serve the tantalizing main course: Mendelssohn's Piano Trios. Source Here

Neil Flynn: The Middle Is "Escapism for Rich Viewers"

It's called The Middle. It could be called The Forgotten. "Do I feel like it's forgotten? Yeah, I kind of feel that way," star Neil Flynn tells TVGuide.com. "But that's OK. I feel like it's such a difficult task to get on the air and stay there that I don't worry about asking for more than that." Unlike its neighbors on ABC's Wednesday night comedy block, Modern Family and Cougar Town, The Middle is much less buzzed-about, despite solid reviews and ratings and an early Season 2 renewal. But being overlooked came as no surprise to Flynn. "There's not much flash to the show," he says. "I think it's very likeable and relatable, but it's hard to pitch it to a friend or a family member by describing it in any other way than say it's good. I don't feel, like, bothered that it gets less press or talk than some other shows. It's not all that edgy or hip or whatever word these days means hip, but it is good." Indeed, The Middle is as unhip as it comes. The family sitcom follows the exploits of the Hecks, a working-class family headed by Flynn, 49, and Patricia Heaton, 52, in fictional Orson, Ind. The Hecks' antics, which are inspired by the writers' own weekend experiences with their families, are hilarious - but perhaps, at times, too discomforting. To Read More Click Here .

First Look: Betty White Lands in THE MIDDLE

Question: What do Betty White and libraries have in common. Answer: You don't mess with either of them! A lesson Brick is about to discover on the May 19th season finale of THE MIDDLE (8:30PM ABC) when parents Frankie and Mike are shocked to discover that Brick may be held back from going to third grade because the school librarian, Mrs. Nethercott (Betty White) has it out for him due to 31 unreturned books. More first look photos of which can be seen after the jump. Source & More Photos

TV Tonight: What's On Wednesday 3/31

So many shows, so little time... so little space on your TiVo! ABC is jam-packed with back-to-back new comedy like Cougar Town , Modern Family and Ugly Betty ! Elsewhere (a.k.a. on Fox), 10 become 9 on the results show of American Idol , unless of course the judges decide to shock us by using the save! See what else is new and worth watching tonight: 8/7c America's Next Top Model on The CW Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains on CBS 8:30/7:30c The Middle on ABC 9/8c American Idol on Fox Modern Family on ABC Fly Girls on The CW MythBusters on Discovery Channel 9:30/8:30c Cougar Town on ABC High Society on The CW 10/9c Ugly Betty on ABC In Plain Sight -- season premiere! Shear Genius on Bravo Real World: D.C. on MTV -- season finale! South Park on Comedy Central 11:35/10:35c The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
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