Modern Family is an American television comedy created by Christopher Lloyd and Steven Levitan, which debuted on ABC on September 23, 2009. Lloyd and Levitan serve as showrunner and executive producers, under their Levitan-Lloyd Productions label. Depicted in mockumentary style, the fictional characters talk directly into the cameras during many situations that arise throughout the series.
The story follows the families of Jay Pritchett (Ed O'Neill), his daughter Claire Dunphy (Julie Bowen), and his son Mitchell Pritchett (Jesse Tyler Ferguson), who live in a suburban community of Los Angeles, California. Claire is a homemaker mother married to Phil Dunphy (Ty Burrell); they have three children—Haley (Sarah Hyland), Alex (Ariel Winter), and Luke (Nolan Gould). After splitting with his longtime wife (Shelley Long), Jay has re-married with a much younger Colombian woman, Gloria Delgado-Pritchett (Sofía Vergara), and is helping her raise her pre-teen son, Manny (Rico Rodriguez). Mitchell and his partner Cameron Tucker (Eric Stonestreet) have adopted a Vietnamese baby, Lily. In 2011 it was announced that the babies that played baby Lily were being replaced by a toddler.
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Lloyd and Levitan conceptualized the series while sharing stories of their own "modern families." The series premiered to critical acclaim and was watched by 12.61 million viewers. Early on, it was named as a big contender for the 62nd Primetime Emmy Awards. Soon after, the series was picked up for a full season on October 8, 2009. On January 12, 2010, Modern Family was renewed for a second season by ABC.
The series has received mostly positive reviews from critics and received multiple award nominations. In 2010, following its first season, it won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series, as well as two other Emmy Awards, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for Eric Stonestreet, and Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd. The syndication rights to the show have also been sold to USA Network and 10 Fox affiliates for a fall 2013 premiere. The success of the show has also led it to being the sixteenth highest revenue earning show for 2010, earning $1.6 million dollars an episode. On January 10, 2011, Modern Family was renewed for a third season.
As Lloyd and Levitan retold stories about their families, it occurred to them that that could be the basis for a show. They started working on the idea of a family being observed in a mockumentary style show. They later decided it could be a show about three families and their experiences. The show was originally called My American Family. Originally, the camera crew would be run by a fictitious Dutch filmmaker named Geert Floortje who had lived with Jay's family as a teenage exchange student and developed a crush on Claire (while Mitchell had a crush on him), but decided against it. The creators pitched it to three of the four major networks (they did not pitch it to Fox due to problems Lloyd had with the network with previous shows). CBS, not ready to use the single-camera style of filming, nor ready to make another large commitment, did not accept the series. NBC, already having two shows—The Office and Parks and Recreation—with a mockumentary format, decided against accepting the show until the success of the other two series' decreased. ABC accepted the series and picked it up for a full season.
The series quickly became a priority for ABC after the pilot episode tested high with focus groups, resulting in the network ordering 16 episodes and adding it to the 2009–2010 fall lineup days ahead of ABC's official schedule announcement. The series was given a full season pickup on October 8, 2009. On January 12, 2010, ABC Entertainment President Stephen McPherson announced that Modern Family had been renewed for a second season. A third season was ordered by ABC on January 10, 2011.
The series was also picked up for syndication by USA during the first season for 1.5 million dollars and to 10 Fox affiliates during the second season. The series airs in the United Kingdom on Sky1.