Next Gen 2010: Hollywood's Young Guns
It's all about family for Luegenbiehl, who has helped turn ABC's Wednesday night lineup into a beachhead for domestically minded sitcoms including Cougar Town, The Middle and breakout hit Modern Family, which became the network's first show to win a comedy series Emmy in 22 years. "Family comedies weren't on the air, so we had always looked at that as an opportunity," she says. "Then last year everything came together." Her family encouraged her to fly from her native Indiana to check out Pomona College in Claremont, Calif. There she pursued her passion for radio, hosting an independent music program and a call-in talk show for the college station, KSPC. But radio jobs were hard to come by, so she went to work as a page at NBC, then at NBC Studios. "Some of the writers and directors that I met are people I still know and work with today," she says. They include Jonathan Groff, showrunner for Happy Endings, which is set for a midseason debut along with the new Matthew Perry sitcom Mr. Sunshine. "We feel [they] broaden that definition of family, which I think is going to be our bigger goal," says Luegenbiehl, who came to ABC in summer 2006. "Your friends are your family. Your workplace is your family."
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