WHO: Ed O’Neill, Julie Bowen, Sofia Vergara, Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet, and exec producers Steven Levitan and Jason Winer.
PREMISE: Riotously funny single-camera comedy focusing on three very different dysfunctional families. Easily the best comedy pilot of the new fall season. (BTW, last day of press tour! I made it!)
9:11 am: The panel begins with a question about the pilot’s big twist, which ABC initially asked us to keep quiet about. Apparently, the gag order has now been lifted so here it is (spoiler alert!): The three families are all related!
9:13 am: E.P. Levitan says incorporating the Office-style mockumentary element brings “some grit” to the show and makes “it not so syrupy.”
9:15 am: A reporter asks Ferguson about his decision to do another comedy after being in the “real awful one on Fox.” (For the record, he’s referring to the short-lived Do Not Disturb.) The actor jokes, “What people don’t understand is that [Disturb] was a three-part miniseries. We told our [entire] story.” All kidding aside, Ferguson says he contemplated returning to theater after the Disturb debacle, but changed his mind when he read the Modern Family script.
9:20 am: Asked to compare his current and former TV spouses (Sofia Vergara’s Gloria vs. Katey Sagal’s Peg), O’Neill says, “I’m older, she’s younger. Peg and I were a little closer in age. This is a whole different deal. I’m in a little over my head in this one, and it’s kind of fun to keep up.”
9:26 am: I heart Sofia Vergara and her fabulous Colombian accent.
9:28 am: Bowen was less than a month away from giving birth when she shot the pilot. “You might notice my character does a lot of laundry in the pilot,” she says with a laugh. “The reality is I was hiding an enormous belly.” She adds that playing the harried mom on TV is a lot more fun than “playing the love interest and just sort of reacting.” (Is she talking about Lost?)
Coming up later today: ABC exec session, FlashForward, Cougar Town, and more!