The headline guest star on “The Middle” this fall is Ray Romano, who’s reuniting with his “Everybody Loves Raymond” co-star Patricia Heaton. But he’s far from the only one.
Romano appears in Wednesday’s (Sept. 21) hour-long season premiere, which flashes back to Frankie (Heaton) and Mike’s (Neil Flynn) honeymoon. Romano plays Nicky, a friend of Mike’s who “crashes the party,” as Heaton puts it.
“It’s a very different format that we’re working in on ‘The Middle,'” Heaton tells Zap2it about working opposite her former TV husband again. “We have no audience like we did on ‘Raymond,’ and we have no rehearsal time like we did on ‘Raymond.’ And Ray looks a hundred years older. I don’t know what he was doing on [his TNT series] ‘Men of a Certain Age,’ but clearly he was burning the candle at both ends. Or maybe he’s just not going to the right doctors — I gave him a few phone numbers before he left.”
Kidding aside, Heaton says she had a great time with Romano, even if it was a little surreal: “I expected Rod Serling to come out and announce our show,” she jokes.
On Overstreet’s role as Brick’s (Atticus Shaffer) new teacher: “Brick and his teachers always have a contentious relationship, and this season is no different. We have Chord … playing his very ambitious, young fourth-grade teacher. This season Mike gets to duke it out with him.”
On Shannon, who’s playing Frankie’s sister Janet: “I’ve only talked about Janet on the phone in previous episodes, and now we’re getting to meet her. We actors love having these things happen because it helps us find out more about our characters. I’m now going to be able to find out what my growing up was like and what my sister was like, why we have an antagonistic relationship. I’m really excited about that.”
Hit play on the video for more on the season, including Sue’s (Eden Sher) first foray into high school and Heaton’s memories of Frances Bay, who played Aunt Ginny on the show and died last week at 92.
“The Middle” premieres at 8 p.m. ET Wednesday on ABC.