The popular and critically-acclaimed comedy Modern Family and the long-running hospital drama Grey’s Anatomy were two of six ABC shows to receive early renewal for a new season. What other shows made the cut? Read on to find out.

Alongside Modern Family – which earned a 2010 Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series and is nominated for a 2011 Golden Globe for Best Comedy – ABC opted to renew the two other shows in its Wednesday comedy block: The Middle and Cougar Town.

I caught several episodes of The Middle this past year and really enjoyed the show’s style of comedy (solid and only slightly quirky family humor) as well as its talented cast (featuring Everybody Loves Raymond veteran Patricia Heaton and Scrubs veteran Neil Flynn).

As for Cougar Town, I have not watched (nor do I plan on watching) the show, so I’m not sure if the early renewal is a good thing or bad thing. From what I’ve heard, mainly from Screen Rant’s own Anthony Ocasio, Cougar Town isn’t worth the effort. Then again, the show does have a loyal audience, a legitimate star in Courteney Cox, and a great showrunner in Bill Lawrence (Scrubs), so it must have something going for it. In any case, even if Cougar Town is the weak link, it makes sense for ABC to leave its Wednesday comedy block in place, since the shows seem to be working well together.

On the drama side, in addition to its perennial award-winner Grey’s Anatomy, ABC gave early renewals to Grey’s spin-off Private Practice and the Nathan Fillion crime show Castle. Grey’s and Private Practice are endlessly appealing to their fanbases, so there’s not much to say there. However, there is something exciting about seeing Castle getting another renewal.

In fall 2009, we wrote with amazement and delight that Castle was actually getting a second season. Now, the show is in its third season and has been renewed for a fourth. That’s a huge turnaround for its likable and fanboy-friendly star Nathan Fillion, whose success in TV has never extended past one or two seasons. Factor in the Castle-Beckett romance potentially heating up, and it’s a good time to be Nathan Fillion.

The only show that raised eyebrows for not getting an early renewal was the long-running drama Desperate Housewives, which is in its seventh season. While it’s still extremely likely that Desperate Housewives will get picked up, Deadline reports some reasons why the show may be on its last legs.

The veteran dramedy has posted the biggest declines for an ABC scripted series, down 20%, from last season, but it still ranks as ABC’s second highest-rated hourlong series behind Grey’s. Complicating issues is the fact that the stars of the series have not signed on for next season (negotiations with them are underway). Also, creator Marc Cherry has indicated that he intends to step back as showrunner of the show after the end of this season to focus on his new project for ABC, which is in consideration for a pilot pickup.

Did any of your favorite ABC shows get early renewals? Let us know in the comments.

Source: ABC