Pasadena, Calif. • The stars of “Modern Family” are mulling offers and considering what they’ll do after they film the sitcom’s final episode, but Ty Burrell knows exactly what’s next for him.
“I’m moving to Salt Lake City!” said the man who has played Phil Dunphy for 11 seasons, winning a pair of Emmys along the way. (The finale of the series, which airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on ABC/Ch.4, is scheduled for April 8.)
It’s not like he’ll be a newbie in Utah. Burrell and his wife, Holly, have split their time between L.A. and Salt Lake City since 2008. But with “Modern Family” ending, “we’re going to move up to Salt Lake full time once our kids finish school” for the year, Burrell said.
He’ll be trading one “Modern Family” for another. Burrell grew up in Oregon, but much of his extended family has moved to Utah, where many of them are involved in the family business — they own Bar X and the Beer Bar in Salt Lake City, and The Eating Establishment in Park City.
“Apparently, nothing brings family like free drinks,” Burrell told The Salt Lake Tribune.
He said he plans to get more involved in the business. The group is still negotiating to buy the Cotton Bottom Inn in Holladay. “We’re working on that right now,” Burrell said.
And Utah already feels like home for the Burrells and their extended family — both Holly’s relatives, who are longtime residents, and Ty’s, who have moved to the state in recent years.
“My wife is from Utah,” Burrell said. “But we’ve had several people on my side of the family move there. Our Christmases are now full of both sides of our family in Utah. So it’s a weird, unexpected twist that we ended up in Salt Lake. But we love it.”
He’s not planning to quit show business, but he is planning to take “a sabbatical” after “Modern Family” ends. “I think that’s just my personality. For better or worse, I’m not an incredibly ambitious person.”
He’ll spend some time getting over the end of the long-running sitcom, which turned out to be a dream job.
“This show does kind of ruin you” for other gigs, he said. “The people, the quality of the material, the hours, frankly. Everything about it. It’s going to make it hard to follow this job.”
He said he needs to get back to not knowing what his next role will be. “Honestly, I’ve had to cope with stability,” Burrell said of the past 11 years.
Before he landed his “Modern Family” as often goofy dad Phil, “I was so used to auditioning somewhere in the neighborhood of a hundred times a year and getting maybe one — operating on a 1 percent success level. And that becomes your default setting. I mean, you’re on your toes all the time. And, in a weird way, it was a lovely way to live because you’re so present — even though it sucks.”
During the long run of “Modern Family,” he discovered that “stability presents its own challenges.” He said that when the show became an out-of-the-gate hit, he “really put my feet up in a way” and was not as “present” in his own life.
“I don’t know that I was my most present as a husband even, or a father for a couple of years there where you just sort of say, ‘Oh my gosh, I don’t have to go out and be on my toes completely all the time.’ It’s been a healthy process trying to learn how to be present even though the external forces of your life aren’t making you feel that way.”
He’s open to new acting roles, but he wants to spends some time “surveying the landscape” to “make sure that it’s something I really love and it’s something that is worth being away from my family for, because that usually is the case.”
“And I’m hoping that somehow, somebody wants me to still work. And that may be a rude awakening, too.”
Well, that seems unlikely.