Today’s TV Addict Top 5: Questions with THE MIDDLE Star Patricia Heaton

Always one to champion the little guy or gal, wanted to take this opportunity to remind you that THE MIDDLE — also known as one of the small screen’s most delightful gems — returns tonight with a brand new episode. And here to preview that very episode, as well as delve a little bit more into the show is none other than series star Patricia Heaton. See for yourself, after the jump.

Reflecting on four years of THE MIDDLE are you surprised this little comedy that could has done so well for itself amidst an increasingly competitive television landscape?
Patricia Heaton: Well you know, when I first read the script, I saw great writing, great characters and great potential, but in television you never know! I don’t think a lot of fans realize that the show was done before as a pilot with a different cast [Editor’s Note: Ricki Lake played Heaton’s role in the original pilot]. But I’m really thrilled that now in our fourth season our show’s build up is very reminiscent of EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND. Slow and steady. Like with most good shows, the writers getting time to know the characters and see what the actors are bringing to the scripts has deepened our world and allowed the show’s quality writing to shine through.

What can you tell fans about tonight’s new episode?
It’s a great episode! I always love when the kids are paired up with each other and this week’s episode sees Sue and Axl paired up in the same “Life Skills” class for a project, which of course is nothing short of Axl’s worst nightmare! Dave Foley is back as Brick’s therapist at school and tries to help Brick become more social which is great. While Mike and Frankie have to navigate the tricky world of insurance companies when a tree branch lands on their car. It’s just more great tribulations and trials that the Hecks go through made all the more hilarious after passing through the filter of our writers.

Speaking of trials and tribulations, Frankie has to really struggle to make ends meet. Prior to your success on EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND, what were some of the worst jobs you had to take as a struggling actor?
I actually enjoyed making ends meet managing restaurants, waitressing, modelling shoes and working at People magazine. But the one job I couldn’t handle was telemarketing. I lasted one day doing that, selling coupon books, it was the worst thing I have ever had to do!

Now that THE MIDDLE has established its own identity, do you still find fans coming up to you and wanting to talk about Debra?
It used to be just EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND fans, yet more and more people are really starting to notice me from THE MIDDLE. People have come out of the wood work because I think the show has just grown so much and captivated people’s attention. RAYMOND is still huge all over the world mind you, but it’s very gratifying to think that THE MIDDLE is getting there. I know that THE MIDDLE is doing well across many different countries and it’s really fun to have another TV family to be apart of.

And finally, looking past tonight’s episode, what other fun things can fans expect from Frankie in future episodes?
Next week we’re shooting our Valentine’s Day episode where Frankie’s problem is a small but favorites one and one that I think most mom’s will be able to relate to. Brick asks to see his old art projects and it turns out that Frankie has lied to him, telling him that she has saved everything when of course she hasn’t. So she must scramble to find some other kid’s projects and pass them off as Bricks. It’s funny, because I’m kind of notorious when it comes to holding onto my kid’s project for a year, then inevitably “filing” them away you know where!

THE MIDDLE airs Wednesdays at 8PM on ABC (CityTV in Canada) and stars Patricia Heaton, Neil Flynn, Charlie McDermott, Eden Sher and Atticus Shaffer. Catch up with past episodes you may have missed online at

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