The Middle (Photo: ABC)

ABC’s no longer stuck in The Middle. Entertainment Weekly has gotten exclusive word that the upcoming season will be the sitcom’s last. It doesn’t sound like this was a snap decision—executive producer Eileen Heisler tells the publication that she and fellow EP DeAnn Heline ”sat down with the cast at the end of last year. It was important to have a year to say goodbye. We want to be able to tell all the stories.” The Patricia Heaton-led family comedy is bowing out after a solid run: Nine seasons is nothing to sneeze at these days, even if the series never broke out in the same manner as Modern Family, which debuted around the same time as The Middle.

The new season hasn’t premiered yet, but Heline says they already know how the show will end: “We started having an idea a couple of years ago and honed it more in the last year.” The Middle premieres October 3 on ABC.