Why Ed O’Neill originally passed on ‘Modern Family’

Seven seasons and more than 20 Emmys later, Modern Family — a mockumentary about an unconventional extended brood — is arguably the most popular sitcom on TV.

And Ed O’Neill, who plays grumbling patriarch with a heart of gold Jay Pritchett, is glad he didn’t go with his gut instinct when first presented with the part.

O’Neill, 70, took a “courtesy meeting” with the creators but passed because he didn’t want to do another half-hour comedy after starring on Married … with Children for 11 seasons, he said Wednesday on The Jenny McCarthy Show.

“A year later they sent me the script, and I thought, ‘Damn. I gotta do this,'” he said.

ABC had already cast Craig T. Nelson, but that deal fell through and O’Neill took the job, even though his agent warned him he wouldn’t be paid as much as he’d asked. (Nelson ended up playing a different dad on NBC’s Parenthood.)

“I said, ‘We’ll get even later. This is a hit show. This is a can’t miss show,'” O’Neill said.

The Jenny McCarthy Show airs live weekdays from 10 am to 12 pm ET on SiriusXM Stars (Ch. 109).

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