Lost Media Archive

The Heck Family, Frankie, Mike, Axl, Sue, and Brick.

The Middle (stylized as the middle.) is an American sitcom about a lower middle class family living in Indiana and facing the day-to-day struggles of home life, work, and raising children. The series premiered on September 30, 2009, on the ABC network, and concluded on May 22, 2018.

The series features Frances "Frankie" Heck (Patricia Heaton), a middle class, middle-aged, Midwestern woman and her husband Mike (Neil Flynn), who reside in the small fictional town of Orson, Indiana, based on the real town of Jasper, Indiana. They are the parents of three children, Axl (Charlie McDermott), Sue (Eden Sher), and Brick (Atticus Shaffer).

The show had 2 Pilot Episodes, one made in 2006, and another one which became the first episode of the show.

The First Pilot

The series was originally developed in the 2006–07 development cycle for ABC and was to star Ricki Lake as Frankie. However, this Pilot was rejected and a second pilot was made with Patricia Heaton being cast in the leading role, and the entire Heck family — except for youngest son Brick (Atticus Shaffer) — being recast for the 2008-09 development cycle, which became the Second Pilot and the First Episode of the Show.

Differences between the first Pilot and the Show

There are a some of differences between the First Pilot and the actual show, these include:

  • The entire Heck family (except for Brick), having entirely different actors.
    • Ricki Lake as Frankie Heck
    • Lex Medlin as Mike Heck
    • Michael Mitchell as Axl Heck (Who was called Elvis in this Pilot)
    • Brenna O’Brien as Sue Sue Heck
  • The show was originally set to take place in Jasper, Indiana, though the setting was changed to the fictional Orson, Indiana, on the advice of attorneys.


Unfortunately, the First Pilot cannot be found anywhere online, nor on any of the DVDs of the Show, some info about the First Pilot however, can be found here: https://web.archive.org/web/20170909142109/http://thetvpage.com/2014/02/25/middle-meet-original-heck-family/

But apart from that, the First Pilot is completely lost.