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Nathan Lane talks ‘Modern Family’ spinoff, ‘Dash of Pepper’

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Nathan Lane sure knows how to spice things up. The Tony-nominated actor (“Nance”) talked to reporters at the Summer Television Critics Association panel on Tuesday, and he dropped a hint about his hopes for a “Modern Family” spinoff, according to Deadline.

“It’s a tribute to those writers,” he said of the Emmy-winning show that hosts his recurring guest stint as flamboyant event planner Pepper Saltzman. “I have just to go and play with them a couple times a year. And stuff like an Emmy nomination is always icing on the cake.”

The six-time Emmy nominee hopes to beat out competitors Jimmy Fallon and Louie C.K. for this year’s outstanding guest star award, but he also has a wish for a spinoff for his quirky character.

“[This season] I found out what [Pepper Saltzman] did for a living. Nobody else ever told me – he was an event planner,” Lane dished. “And gave him a partner, Renaldo. So that’s been a wonderful thing. And where it goes, I don’t know. I don’t know if I will ever see that spinoff, A Dash of Pepperbut at least he’s got a living, got a husband. I think we could do something!”

While there’s been no official word on a Saltzman spinoff, one of the show’s other recurring characters – egotistical real estate agent Gil Thorpe – could be the subject of a new sitcom. Last fall, Deadline reported that ABC was eyeing a potential spinoff starring Rob Riggle’s loud-mouthed character, who’s described as Southern California’s most successful real estate agent and rival of Phil Dunphy (Ty Burrell).

But Gil Thorpe is a bit player compared to Pepper Saltzman, who had an extended stint on the show this season for the wedding-themed episodes for Mitchell and Cameron (Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet). In fact, he stole the show in the Season 5 finale in May, when the wedding planning didn’t go quite as planned.

In 2011, Flavorwire named Pepper Saltzman on a list of Minor TV Characters Who Deserve Their Own Spin-Off, while Entertainment Weekly actually coined the name "A Dash of Pepper” for a proposed Pepper series.

This isn’t the first time Lane has talked about a spinoff for his character. In an interview last year with Gold Derby, he said, "The story of Pepper, I haven't really built anything around that other than he obviously is very rich. He's got a lot of money. He lives very well. I'm sure there's a spinoff somewhere on Pepper."

“Modern Family” returns this fall on ABC.


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