Retired NFL quarterback Peyton Manning joined the cast of Modern Family on Wednesday night. The former Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos quarterback has made numerous television appearances since his retirement last year, however, this is the first time he’s guest-starred in a role in which he wasn’t playing himself.
According to Entertainment Weekly, Manning made a one-off appearance in the show’s latest episode “Do It Yourself” on Wednesday night, playing Coach Gary, a sports tutor hired by Gloria (Sofia Vergara) to teach her son Joe (Jeremy Maguire) how to throw a ball. However, it turns out Coach Gary is also pretty handy around the house, offering to help Gloria with fixing drawers and cleaning out gutters. Of course, having another man around the house leaves Jay (Ed O’Neill) feeling emasculated.
— Modern Family (@ModernFam) February 15, 2017
But as it turns out, according to the Indy Channel, Gary is just trying to impress Jay, looking for a mentor for his new business. The episode ended with a commercial for Coach Gary’s new business selling gazebos and sheds, leaving the possibility for Manning’s character to make another appearance in the future open. However, given the surprise nature of Manning’s appearance in the ABC sitcom, the network hasn’t confirmed whether or not the footballer will make an appearance in multiple episodes of the show.
Elsewhere on Modern Family, Phil (Ty Burrel) talks Jay into investing in a new property development that he’s long been planning, whilst Claire (Julie Bowen) and Haley (Sarah Hyland) take part in a culinary tutorial with a celebrity chef, played by Victor Garber, only to find Claire isn’t as good of a cook as she thought. Meanwhile, Cam (Eric Stonestreet) and Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson) try to teach Lily the value of hard work, after she uses an app to hire a cleaner to tidy her room.
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Modern Family is currently in its eighth season on ABC, making it one of the network’s longest-running comedies. The series, which first premiered in 2009 stars Ed O’Neill, Sofía Vergara, Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet, Sarah Hyland, Ariel Winter, Nolan Gould, Rico Rodriguez, Aubrey Anderson-Emmons, and Jeremy Maguire as a large extended family and follows them throughout their suburban lives in Los Angeles. Modern Family was acclaimed by critics throughout its first season, but reception has been more mixed in subsequent seasons.
Following a recent dip in ratings and failure to pick up any major awards, star Eric Stonestreet sparked speculation last year that the show could be coming to an end. According to People, Stonestreet hinted that the show could have just one season left in it, saying “All of the cast, we’re now sort of in the twilight of the show.”
— JustJared.com (@JustJared) December 12, 2016
Stonestreet didn’t confirm exactly when the show will be coming to an end but admitted that there wasn’t a lengthy future for the show going forward. That’s no surprise, however, considering most successful network sitcoms run for between six and eight seasons, with very few exceeding that limit. What’s more, most members of Modern Family’s cast, especially the younger members, are moving onto other projects, including movie releases, with Ariel Winter set to star in the upcoming Smurfs: The Lost Village.
Modern Family continues on ABC with “Heavy is the Head” on February 22. ABC is likely to confirm soon what the future holds for one of their longest-running comedies.
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