American sitcom Modern Family‘s popularity is owed to many things. There’s a reason why the Christopher Lloyd and Steven Levitan-created show was able to run for eleven seasons. Its premise, the mockumentary style, the characters who form a modern-day extended family, and their respective shenanigans made it a favorite among critics and the general audience.
At its inception, however, not much was known—at least by one of the talents—of how well the show would do and if the cast would see each other again.
Ed O’Neill’s Unexpected Phone Call To Modern Family Star Eric Stonestreet
During a recent appearance on The Rich Eisen Show, Emmy-winning actor Eric Stonestreet delved into various topics. However, the one that may intrigue Modern Family fans involved co-star and comedian Ed O’Neill.
Stonestreet was asked to share his favorite story about the Finding Dory alum. The 52-year-old Hollywood talent was more than willing to begin his tale, remarking that it transpired right at the beginning—particularly around the now-iconic pilot’s production in 2009.
This was Stonestreet’s account of how the sitcom was picked up. The talent recalled that during the pilot’s production, most of the cast ensemble were well-known figures in the business. It was only Stonestreet who, in his words, was “the least known adult” among the group. “Nobody knew me, and I knew all of them for the most part,” stated the Identity Thief star.
Eric Stonestreet also said no phone numbers were exchanged when they finished shooting the pilot. This was due to the performers’ uncertainty about their future together and the show’s potential for longevity.
This was, however, soon to change. Following was Stonestreet’s statement:
“One day, maybe a month after the pilot was shot… my Nokia phone… rings. […] So I’m answering, ‘Hello?’ ‘Eric’ ‘Yes?’ ‘Ed O’Neill.’ Like… (mouth open in disbelief). I worked with him for eight days but didn’t know him!”
The unexpected call surprised the star. The conversation that the two would partake in during this call would eventually change Stonestreet’s life.
How Ed O’Neill Predicting Modern Family‘s Future Changed Co-star’s Life
Stonestreet continued the story, saying the veteran actor had called to inform him that the pilot was a big success. ABC ordered thirteen episodes of the pilot episode, reportedly because focus groups found it to be well-tested.
In October 2009, the show finally received a full-season pickup. However, the cellular exchange between the two performers took place far earlier than that. This is what made Ed O’Neill’s words resonate with Eric Stonestreet.
Following is what the 77-year-old had to say, according to Stonestreet:
“I said, ‘Ed, how are you?’ and he goes, ‘Eric, the show is fantastic.’ I hadn’t seen the show yet. I didn’t see the pilot. He goes, “You’re fantastic. Eric, if this show isn’t on [for] 10 years, I don’t know what the bleep [sic] I’m doing in Hollywood.’ And I was like… Wow, oh my God.”
The actor added that this interaction became a defining moment. O’Neill’s faith in the series’ potential allowed Stonestreet to imagine his life changing and the show becoming a super-hit:
“Honestly, I told Ed for years and told so many people, like, ‘When did you know it was going to be a hit?’ And I always go back to that moment … And that’s when I started to imagine my life changing. All because of that phone call from Ed.”
Ed O’Neill was only one year off in his prediction. The show ran for eleven fruitful years. The show’s reputation as one of the greatest was solidified by its popularity, accolades, and unique ability to entertain viewers. Now might be the perfect moment to binge-watch it if you haven’t already.
Modern Family is available for streaming on Peacock.