The Middleman: TV Show Creator Not Giving Up Hope, Promises Answers

The MiddlemanThough ABC Family has cancelled The Middleman after a single season on the air, the adventures aren’t over just yet.

The Middleman follows a straight-shooter hero (Matt Keeslar), his newbie assistant Wendy (Natalie Morales), and their fantastic adventures together. Other characters are played by Brit Morgan, Mary Pat Gleason, Jake Smollett, Brendan Hines, Drew Tyler Bell and Sean Davis.

Based on a comic book from Javier Grillo-Marxuach and Les McClaine, the TV show aired from June 16th to September 1st, 2008 on ABC Family. As creative as the series content is, the ratings weren’t all that fantastic. Due to costs, a planned 13th episode wasn’t shot and some of the money was funneled into episode 12.

With mediocre ratings, it was suspected that the series wouldn’t be coming back for season two. Last month, ABC Family made it official and announced that the series had indeed been cancelled. Though many viewers are understandably upset with the network, Grillo-Marxuach has found it hard to share the sentiment.

On his blog, he wrote, “Why would I hate an organization that believed in my vision, put their own money and production company behind it, gave me a level of creative latitude the likes of which I have not seen in fifteen years in the business, provided me the opportunity to put to air twelve of the most highly idiosyncratic hours of television ever — even when the show’s lack of commercial success would have easily justified their yanking the series from their air at episode six — and furnished my first opportunity to run a series?”

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He also applauds the network’s going the extra mile to release the series through Shout! Factory, who he calls “a DVD producer whose reputation for quality product insures that we will have the best possible chance at a lasting artistic legacy.” The four-disc DVD release of Middleman is coming on July 28th and Grillo-Marxuach promises that it will be worth the wait. In addition to all 12 episodes, it’ll include commentaries from the cast and crew, much of the special content created for the Web, and “a lot of other surprises.”

Being released around the same time will be a special graphic novel that will serve as the TV show’s series finale. It’s based on the script that would have been the show’s 13th episode and the characters will look like the actors from the show, rather than the comic book versions. McClaine, the series’ original artist, will provide the layouts.

What can viewers expect to see in the graphic novel? Well, the Middleman and Lacey’s long-unconsummated romance will evolve. The identity of the Middleman’s “other woman” will be revealed, as will his real name. Some of the characters you’ll see include Roxy Wasserman, the underworld desk clerk, and manservant Neville.

We won’t however be seeing Lacey’s unseen Mom and we also won’t be learning what happened to her Dad who disappeared under mysterious circumstances. For the latter mystery, Grillo-Marxuach encourages fans to check out the last two pages of the original graphic novel that inspired the TV show.

For the actual plot of “The Doomsday Armageddon Apocalypse,” Grillo-Marxuach teases that it will have parallels to what we saw in episode 12, “The Palindrome Reversal Palindrome,” about the characters in a bleak, parallel universe.

So is this truly the end of the Middleman TV show? Grillo-Marxuach prefers not to think of the series as cancelled but merely in hibernation. He says, “If the DVD sells well, maybe there will be an opening to bring the characters back in some form or another… history has shown that this is a possibility (as in Serenity and Family Guy — you know, hope springs eternal).”

In July, Grillo-Marxuach and others will be attending Comic-Con in San Diego to promote and discuss the DVD and graphic novel releases. The show might be finished for now but the Middleman story isn’t done just yet.

Canceled and renewed TV show

20 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. carole says

    My son and I watched this show every week together and were really upset to find out it wouldn’t be renewed. This has been a horrible year for great shows being canceled and I’m starting to think the networks don’t back their own shows enough to let people know they’re out there. Blood ties was one of the best shows I ever came across and I never even knew it was on the air until the end of the first season only to find out it wasn’t being renewed for season 2. How the heck does HBO keep True Blood on? They keep it on by advertising the crap out of it. All I saw for months before the show came on the air were ads in magazines and tv so you couldn’t miss the fact it was airing a new vampire show. Blood ties was 100% better than the over the top junk shown on True Blood and it only took me one episode to realize I couldn’t watch more of the HBO show. Middleman in it’s genre was the best of it’s type and I never stopped laughing while watching it. My son and I put a night aside to have dinner and watch the show (which we miss) so now with all the good shows off the air we go to Dave and Busters. Thanks networks for backing all the wrong shows and dropping all the great ones! You need to get better ad agents so they can give these new shows the push they need to get them noticed and then they might get better viewer support.

  2. Kimberly Lewis says

    So when television finally gets a clean hero the show gets canceled, but Fox has the idiot idea to keep bringing back that raunchy violent SOG Jack Bauer on 24?

    Why does this say so much about the standards of American television?

  3. Julia says


    Will Sci Fi Channel pick it up maybe???

    And I can’t find a t-shirt anywhere!

  4. Tim W says

    My wife and I loved this show. The show was funny and witty and we were very much hoping it would return this summer. The entire cast was great. Maybe, they can make a movie as when the TV show Firefly was cancelled and the movie Serenity was released three years later.

  5. Michael says

    I’ve been waiting and waiting for the show to return… This is worse than when The Jetsons was cancelled! The Middleman was the best show on T.V. The acting was great; the writing was excellent; the stories were interesting; the cast could actually act.

  6. SarahStoffolano says

    I loved this show so much! I just wrote down the date and it circled it so many times, you can’t see much of july 27th or 29th. This is the FIRST and so far ONLY show that I have actually bothered sending in a comment about how much I loved the show and its originality. When my mom asked me to describe what makes it awesome, I couldn’t think of the right words and finally had to say because it makes me speechless. I actually bought a show when I missed it and my DVR didn’t tape it.

  7. Stacy B says

    The Middleman was an awesome show it’s ashame that ABC cancelled it. That show funny every time I watched it I couldn’t stop laughing, especially with Matt as the Middleman he was the best.

  8. says

    Same as ussual, create a great show. Release it to the public and then cancel it. When is ABC gonna get it’s #### out of it’s ### and start polling the people that watch the shows? I myself and my two daughters loved the shows origonality and kept looking for it to return. But should have guessed, same old thing from ABC. The same people that persicuted Ellen, and Andrew Dice Clay. Shame on them for trying to control what we watch.

  9. Katie says

    As a correction, the main character’s name is Wendy Watson. Lacey is her roommate, who does not work for the Middle Organization.
    I watched this show this spring on syndication in Turkey and am really bummed there won’t be any more. It was fun while it lasted!

  10. Victoria B says

    I absolutely love middleman.. i can’t believe they canceled it, i didn’t even know it was until the end of last month, I’ve been waiting for it to start again. I hope that some one else will decide to pick it up and let the adventures and romance between Lacey and the middleman continue..

  11. John H says

    I watched the show initially because Matt was the star, but I ended up loving the content. It really was my kind of humor, although that can be the kiss of death for a show because I thought the “San Pedro Beach Bums,” was inspired comedy and it lasted about as long. The Middlman was really well done all the way around and deserved a far better fate than it got. I don’t think ABC Family’s audience was the right target audience for the show, though. I’d love to see Sci-Fi pick up the show for reruns. It might inspire them to order new ones. Probably the best spot would have been on the CW, paired with Reaper.

  12. Skittle Jones says

    A wonderful, funny, & creative series. I had to watch it on streaming video because I don’t want to hook up my free cable. I’m sure there were great ratings on-line. It would do good on the standard ABC. The Middleman is better than anything on their line-up now . . . boring detective shows,, hospital junk, sleepy situation comedies, and most reality shows. Well ABC does excell with Americas Funniest Home Videos, Jimmy Kimmel, and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition I do admit. The Middleman is hilarious, fresh, clever, and I’d hate to see it go. It’s like a show from the golden age of tee-vee Gilligans Island, I dream of genie, the Munsters . . . Ooooo Saturday or Sunday morning. . Do we need a hour of That’s so Raven? Look at how Hanna Montana went . . . pretty good (although I’ve never seen it), I’d get up early to watch The Middleman.

  13. says

    Can’t believe this show was cancelled. It was remarkable and my family & I loved it. Hope it comes back – perhaps on Sci-Fi channel. The actors are great, funny, writing is good, droll, I laughed until I cried some eps, and IT WAS CLEAN!!!

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