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Before they were a "Modern Family," the cast of this popular sitcom were each struggling to find a hit with various TV comedies and dramas. Even the most well known star of "Modern Family," Ed O'Neill of "Married with Children" fame, took his turn in a failed series. The first time you watched "Modern Family," you probably played that guessing game of "What show did I see him/her in before?" See if you remember these entertaining TV series that were canceled, fortunately freeing up our favorite stars to join the "Modern Family" cast.
Ed O'Neill (Jay Pritchett): Ed O'Neill tried a few different TV series before scoring with "Modern Family," but his best venture was "L.A. Dragnet." A 2003 remake of the original series, this Dick Wolf ("Law & Order" franchise) produced drama tried to put a new spin on the more edgy style of procedural that was gaining popularity with "CSI" and "Law & Order: CI." O'Neill surprised viewers by showing his dramatic skills, giving us a cool, believable and likable by-the-book Detective Joe Friday. Despite the addition of future "Desperate Housewives" star Eva Longoria Parker in season two, "L.A. Dragnet" was canceled in 2004. Considering the typical length of Wolf's "Law & Order" series, O'Neill might not have been available to do "Modern Family" if "L.A. Dragnet" had succeeded.
Sofia Vergara (Gloria Delgado-Pritchett): Sofia Vergara has been in many TV series, but one of the best failed series was "Hot Properties," a sitcom following the lives of four very different women in a Manhattan real estate business. The cast was chock full of talent: Gail O'Grady ("Desperate Housewives," "NYPD Blue") Nicole Sullivan ("$#*! My Dad Says," "MADtv") Evan Handler ("Californication," "Sex and the City") and Christina Moore ("Hawthorne," "90210.") Despite the rapport these funny actors had, the show was canceled after one season. The good news is that Vergara's feisty Lola was good preparation for the vivacious Sofia we've all come to love.
Ty Burrell (Phil Dunphy): Ty Burrell was hit hard with two great series that shouldn't have been canceled. The first was "Out of Practice," where he played a vain and womanizing plastic surgeon in a constantly sparring family of doctors. The star-packed show included Henry Winkler, Stockard Channing, Christopher Gorham ("Covert Affairs," "Ugly Betty,") Jennifer Tilly ("Liar, Liar," "Bound") and Paula Marshall ("Gary Unmarried," "Californication") The comedy was fast and funny, but was inexplicably canceled during the first season.
The second canceled series was "Back to You." Kelsey Grammar and Patricia Heaton starred as squabbling news anchors and Ty Burrell played a field reporter longing for a chance at the on-air seat. Though the promising show was sadly shuffled around the schedule until no one could find it, and was inevitably canceled, creators Steven Levitan and Christopher Lloyd went on to make a little show called "Modern Family."
Jesse Tyler Ferguson (Mitchell Pritchett): Jesse Tyler Ferguson seemed to have a hit with "The Class," a quirky comedy that begins with a reunion of adults who attended 3rd grade together. Ferguson had an amazing rapport with his character's love interest, played by Heather Goldenhersh, and the two did stellar physical comedy together. The show also stared Jason Ritter ("The Event," "Joan of Arcadia") and Andrea Anders ("Joey," "Better Off Ted.") Despite the fun banter, hilarious situations and appealing cast, "The Class" was canceled after one season.
"Modern Family" airs Wednesday nights a 9pm ET on ABC.
- Jesse Tyler Ferguson
- Ty Burrell
- Sofia Vergara
- Married with Children
- TV series
- Dick Wolf
- Back to You