"Modern Family's" long been a sitcom that's created some hilarious roles that allow visiting guest actors to deliver big laughs, and as it heads into its eighth season, executive producer Steven Levitan (right) revealed that two major TV icons will be crossing paths with the Dunphys.
"Martin Short is going to do an episode," said Levitan. "Martin is playing a guy who does promotional items and works with Phil to do all of his calendars, and pencils, and water bottles, and mugs, and all that. He's sort of the local king of promotional merchandise."
"Nathan Fillion is going to do an arc for us this year," Levitan added, "playing a local TV weatherman who gets involved with the Dunphy family."
With production on the sitcom's forthcoming season underway in anticipation of its Sept. 21 premiere date, Levitan also revealed more behind the scenes scoop to Moviefone.
Moviefone: Can you tease some of the early plot lines that we're going to see?
Steven Levitan: Oh, we're going to start, the premiere will be in New York, or some of the premiere takes place in New York and we'll be shooting some of that in New York. And we're doing a Halloween episode this year.
How easily were stories coming, eight seasons in? Did you have a little backlog of ideas?
There's never a backlog! And you sit down and you are absolutely positive that you'll never get another story, and then somehow you get them. It's sort of crazy. Where there's a need, there's a way to get to those stories. Yeah, we just started shooting this week, and we have 12 episodes broken -- the ideas for those broken in various stages of production or of being written. But yeah, I'm feeling good about the stories.
Any relationships going to have certain lights shined on them, or will we see characters put in new contexts?
Yeah, for example, Mitch and Cam are taking in one of Cam's [football] players for a while, who has to stay with them for a while. So we're throwing another person into their little world.
You had some great success with some experimental techniques in your storytelling, like Season 6's Facetiming episode "Connection Lost" and last season's "Crazy Train." Anything on the radar to try out this time around?
I don't think we have anything too crazy yet. We're always looking and we're always searching, and if we come across something then we'll dig into it. We're not afraid to try. We like to try new things. It keeps us interested. That's always our goal.
You're most likely closer to the end than the beginning in the series. Are you saving some ideas and some storylines, character resolutions, for when you get to the end? Do you have some things you know you want to tackle when you're ready to move toward the final episode?
No. [Laughs] To tell you the truth, I haven't really thought too hard about the ending of this show yet, because I don't even know where we'll be at that point. So I think that that'll just come very organically at the time. I imagine it'll be some sort of an event, but I don't know what yet. There's a lot of people that will be thinking about that, and it'll be a big, big discussion on that year when we're finally wrapping things up.
Ariel Winter's become a huge social media star all of a sudden. Are there ways that you want to play with that newfound high profile she has?
I don't know -- maybe. I'm open to it. I don't want to ever confuse the actor with the character.
That was fun to watch. I thought Danny Zuker killed it. It was great. He was great. And it clearly shows how much smarter he is than Donald Trump. I'm consistently amazed at the lack of intellect on that man, and it shows every time he opens his mouth.
Were you surprised at the level of engagement that Trump took it to?
Yeah, yeah I was.
Like, "Don't you have companies to run?"
Yeah, yeah, but I don't think he does. I think this is what he lives for. So I think it's all a big façade, and he's sort of like the Wizard of Oz -- or like a dumb Wizard of Oz.
"Modern Family" Season 8 premieres Wednesday, September 21st on ABC.