'Modern Family' to air episode that takes place only online

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'Modern Family' to air episode that takes place only online
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 19: Sarah Hyland is seen on the set of 'Modern Family' on September 19, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by TSM/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
MODERN FAMILY - 'Halloween 3: AwesomeLand' - Even though Halloween is Claire's holiday, she allows Phil to take over this year so instead of her usual fright-fest theme, he decides to turn the house into AwesomeLand! Gloria picks out Princess Fiona and Shrek costumes for her and Jay but Jay decides he wants to be Prince Charming complete with a full head of gorgeous hair, and with the hair comes a new sense of confidence. Elsewhere, Cameron gets overwhelmed by the day's activities and Mitchell has closing arguments for a huge case, and it doesn't help that the stenographer is dressed like a spider, WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 29 (9:00-9:31 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. Guest stars Steve Zahn ('Treme') and Andrea Anders ('Better Off Ted') return as the Dunphy's neighbors. (Photo by John Fleenor/ABC via Getty Images)
MODERN FAMILY - 'Halloween 3: AwesomeLand' - Even though Halloween is Claire's holiday, she allows Phil to take over this year so instead of her usual fright-fest theme, he decides to turn the house into AwesomeLand! Gloria picks out Princess Fiona and Shrek costumes for her and Jay but Jay decides he wants to be Prince Charming complete with a full head of gorgeous hair, and with the hair comes a new sense of confidence. Elsewhere, Cameron gets overwhelmed by the day's activities and Mitchell has closing arguments for a huge case, and it doesn't help that the stenographer is dressed like a spider, WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 29 (9:00-9:31 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. Guest stars Steve Zahn ('Treme') and Andrea Anders ('Better Off Ted') return as the Dunphy's neighbors. (Photo by John Fleenor/ABC via Getty Images)
MODERN FAMILY - 'Halloween 3: AwesomeLand' - Even though Halloween is Claire's holiday, she allows Phil to take over this year so instead of her usual fright-fest theme, he decides to turn the house into AwesomeLand! Gloria picks out Princess Fiona and Shrek costumes for her and Jay but Jay decides he wants to be Prince Charming complete with a full head of gorgeous hair, and with the hair comes a new sense of confidence. Elsewhere, Cameron gets overwhelmed by the day's activities and Mitchell has closing arguments for a huge case, and it doesn't help that the stenographer is dressed like a spider, WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 29 (9:00-9:31 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. Guest stars Steve Zahn ('Treme') and Andrea Anders ('Better Off Ted') return as the Dunphy's neighbors. (Photo by Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images)
MODERN FAMILY - 'Halloween 3: AwesomeLand' - Even though Halloween is Claire's holiday, she allows Phil to take over this year so instead of her usual fright-fest theme, he decides to turn the house into AwesomeLand! Gloria picks out Princess Fiona and Shrek costumes for her and Jay but Jay decides he wants to be Prince Charming complete with a full head of gorgeous hair, and with the hair comes a new sense of confidence. Elsewhere, Cameron gets overwhelmed by the day's activities and Mitchell has closing arguments for a huge case, and it doesn't help that the stenographer is dressed like a spider, WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 29 (9:00-9:31 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. Guest stars Steve Zahn ('Treme') and Andrea Anders ('Better Off Ted') return as the Dunphy's neighbors. (Photo by John Fleenor/ABC via Getty Images)
MODERN FAMILY - 'Halloween 3: AwesomeLand' - Even though Halloween is Claire's holiday, she allows Phil to take over this year so instead of her usual fright-fest theme, he decides to turn the house into AwesomeLand! Gloria picks out Princess Fiona and Shrek costumes for her and Jay but Jay decides he wants to be Prince Charming complete with a full head of gorgeous hair, and with the hair comes a new sense of confidence. Elsewhere, Cameron gets overwhelmed by the day's activities and Mitchell has closing arguments for a huge case, and it doesn't help that the stenographer is dressed like a spider, WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 29 (9:00-9:31 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. Guest stars Steve Zahn ('Treme') and Andrea Anders ('Better Off Ted') return as the Dunphy's neighbors. (Photo by Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images)
MODERN FAMILY - 'Halloween 3: AwesomeLand' - Even though Halloween is Claire's holiday, she allows Phil to take over this year so instead of her usual fright-fest theme, he decides to turn the house into AwesomeLand! Gloria picks out Princess Fiona and Shrek costumes for her and Jay but Jay decides he wants to be Prince Charming complete with a full head of gorgeous hair, and with the hair comes a new sense of confidence. Elsewhere, Cameron gets overwhelmed by the day's activities and Mitchell has closing arguments for a huge case, and it doesn't help that the stenographer is dressed like a spider, WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 29 (9:00-9:31 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. Guest stars Steve Zahn ('Treme') and Andrea Anders ('Better Off Ted') return as the Dunphy's neighbors. (Photo by Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images)
MODERN FAMILY - 'Halloween 3: AwesomeLand' - Even though Halloween is Claire's holiday, she allows Phil to take over this year so instead of her usual fright-fest theme, he decides to turn the house into AwesomeLand! Gloria picks out Princess Fiona and Shrek costumes for her and Jay but Jay decides he wants to be Prince Charming complete with a full head of gorgeous hair, and with the hair comes a new sense of confidence. Elsewhere, Cameron gets overwhelmed by the day's activities and Mitchell has closing arguments for a huge case, and it doesn't help that the stenographer is dressed like a spider, WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 29 (9:00-9:31 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. Guest stars Steve Zahn ('Treme') and Andrea Anders ('Better Off Ted') return as the Dunphy's neighbors. (Photo by Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images)
MODERN FAMILY - 'Marco Polo' - The Dunphys move into a cramped hotel room while their house is getting treated for mold and Phil sees this as an opportunity to spend some quality time together but Claire and the kids are less than enthused. Gloria becomes over protective when Manny starts dating an older, popular girl, and Cameron is under a lot of pressure to maintain his team's winning streak but when he realizes Mitchell may be a jinx, emotions run high, on 'Modern Family,' WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 15 (9:00-9:31 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Kelsey McNeal/ABC via Getty Images)
MODERN FAMILY - 'Marco Polo' - The Dunphys move into a cramped hotel room while their house is getting treated for mold and Phil sees this as an opportunity to spend some quality time together but Claire and the kids are less than enthused. Gloria becomes over protective when Manny starts dating an older, popular girl, and Cameron is under a lot of pressure to maintain his team's winning streak but when he realizes Mitchell may be a jinx, emotions run high, on 'Modern Family,' WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 15 (9:00-9:31 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Kelsey McNeal/ABC via Getty Images)
MODERN FAMILY - 'Marco Polo' - The Dunphys move into a cramped hotel room while their house is getting treated for mold and Phil sees this as an opportunity to spend some quality time together but Claire and the kids are less than enthused. Gloria becomes over protective when Manny starts dating an older, popular girl, and Cameron is under a lot of pressure to maintain his team's winning streak but when he realizes Mitchell may be a jinx, emotions run high, on 'Modern Family,' WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 15 (9:00-9:31 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Kelsey McNeal/ABC via Getty Images)
MODERN FAMILY - 'Marco Polo' - The Dunphys move into a cramped hotel room while their house is getting treated for mold and Phil sees this as an opportunity to spend some quality time together but Claire and the kids are less than enthused. Gloria becomes over protective when Manny starts dating an older, popular girl, and Cameron is under a lot of pressure to maintain his team's winning streak but when he realizes Mitchell may be a jinx, emotions run high, on 'Modern Family,' WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 15 (9:00-9:31 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Kelsey McNeal/ABC via Getty Images)
GOOD MORNING AMERICA - (9.22.14) Actress Kerry Washington, costume designer Lyn Paolo and VP of design Elliot Staples discuss the new 'The Scandal Collection' at The Limited; actress Sofia Vergara ('Modern Family'); actor Ioan Gruffudd ('Forever'); GMA's 'Upgrade Your Morning' series kicks off. 'Good Morning America' airs Monday-Friday (7:00a.m. - 9:00a.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Heidi Gutman/ABC via Getty Images) GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, SOFIA VERGARA
GOOD MORNING AMERICA - (9.22.14) Actress Kerry Washington, costume designer Lyn Paolo and VP of design Elliot Staples discuss the new 'The Scandal Collection' at The Limited; actress Sofia Vergara ('Modern Family'); actor Ioan Gruffudd ('Forever'); GMA's 'Upgrade Your Morning' series kicks off. 'Good Morning America' airs Monday-Friday (7:00a.m. - 9:00a.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Heidi Gutman/ABC via Getty Images) SOFIA VERGARA
GOOD MORNING AMERICA - (9.22.14) Actress Kerry Washington, costume designer Lyn Paolo and VP of design Elliot Staples discuss the new 'The Scandal Collection' at The Limited; actress Sofia Vergara ('Modern Family'); actor Ioan Gruffudd ('Forever'); GMA's 'Upgrade Your Morning' series kicks off. 'Good Morning America' airs Monday-Friday (7:00a.m. - 9:00a.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Heidi Gutman/ABC via Getty Images) SOFIA VERGARA
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 25: Actresses Sarah Hyland, Sofía Vergara, Aubrey Anderson-Emmons, Julie Bowen and Ariel Winter, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Nolan Gould, Rico Rodriguez, Eric Stonestreet and Ed O'Neill, winners of the Outstanding Comedy Series Award for 'Modern Family' pose in the press room during the 66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards held at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on August 25, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 25: 66th ANNUAL PRIMETIME EMMY AWARDS -- Pictured: (l-r) Actors Ariel Winter, Nolan Gould, Rico Rodriguez and Ed O'Neill, winners of the award for Outstanding Comedy Series for 'Modern Family', pose backstage during the 66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards held at the Nokia Theater on August 25, 2014. (Photo by Christopher Polk/NBC/NBC via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 19: (Back row L-R) Moderator Will Marfuggi of E! News, actor Ed O'Neill, creator/writer Steven Levitan, actors Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet, Sarah Hyland, (front row L-R) Executive producer Megan Ganz, actors Nolan Gould, Aubrey Anderson-Emmons and writer Abraham Higginbotham attend a 'Modern Family' Wedding episode screening at Zanuck Theater at 20th Century Fox Lot on May 19, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 19: (Back row L-R) Moderator Will Marfuggi of E! News, actor Ed O'Neill, creator/writer Steven Levitan, actors Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet, Sarah Hyland, (front row L-R) Executive producer Megan Ganz, actors Nolan Gould, Aubrey Anderson-Emmons and writer Abraham Higginbotham attend a 'Modern Family' Wedding episode screening at Zanuck Theater at 20th Century Fox Lot on May 19, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 19: Creator/writer Steven Levitan, writer Abraham Higginbotham and actors Nolan Gould, Ed O'Neill, Aubrey Anderson-Emmons, Julie Bowen, Sarah Hyland, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonetreet and Ty Burrell attend a 'Modern Family' Wedding episode screening at Zanuck Theater at 20th Century Fox Lot on May 19, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 19: Actors Ed O'Neill, Aubrey Anderson-Emmons, Julie Bowen, Sarah Hyland, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonetreet and Ty Burrell attend a 'Modern Family' Wedding episode screening at Zanuck Theater at 20th Century Fox Lot on May 19, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
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LOS ANGELES (AP) - How to keep the "modern" in "Modern Family" in its sixth season? Create an episode that plays out completely on a computer and in the realm of social media.

That's what's in store Feb. 25 on the ABC comedy's "Connection Lost," a half-hour that revolves around Claire Dunphy's (Julie Bowen) frantic effort to locate daughter Haley (Sarah Hyland) after they squabble.

Other than a few scenes shot with the MacBook Pro, the episode was captured entirely with iPhone 6s and iPads, series co-creator and executive producer Steve Levitan said.

ABC and producer Twentieth Century Fox Television announced the project Tuesday.

This isn't Apple's first starring role on "Modern Family." On the brink of the iPad's retail debut in 2010, the tablet was portrayed as a sought-after birthday gift.

Levitan said the upcoming episode involved no product-placement compensation to Apple and resulted from an epiphany he had during an online experience involving one of his college-age daughters.

"I had emails open, some websites... then my daughter showed up" on FaceTime, he recounted. "I could not only see her, but I could see me, and there was something going on behind me, my wife or somebody."

"I realized on that screen, you could tell so much about my life," Levitan said. It occurred to him that format would be fitting for "Modern Family," he told reporters after a sneak peek at the episode.

All the comedy's households represent a contemporary family in some way, he said, including that of gay couple Mitch and Cam, who are adoptive parents, and Jay and Gloria, a cross-cultural, cross-generational pair. With Claire, Phil and their children, the marker is how they communicate.

In the comedy's debut episode in 2009, the parents summoned Haley to dinner by calling out to her, Levitan recalled. Her response: "Why are you yelling, why don't you just text me?"

The in-progress "Connection Lost" looked very much like Levitan's account of his own experience, with a "Modern Family" overlay.

Claire, about to board a flight, must rely on her laptop to get in touch with her immediate and extended family - who pop up via their own computers or smartphones - for help in finding Haley.

The setup allowed for new comedy avenues, said Megan Ganz, "Modern Family" co-executive producer and the episode's co-writer with Levitan. He served as director.

When Claire is online with her brother, Mitch (Jesse Tyler Ferguson), she feigns surprise that he hasn't received her birthday gift as she searches online for a belated one to send. Nice try, he says, since he can check the date on the order when it arrives.

Other funny bits are tucked on to Claire's Facebook page or will be available through links, such as daughter Alex Dunphy's (Ariel Winter) application to Yale University.

Editor Tony Orcena and motion graphics producer John Brown also had key roles in creating the episode that required, as Brown said, each element seen on Claire's Facebook pages to be "handmade."

Levitan credits a 17-minute film, "Noah," which also plays out fully on a computer, with giving him the "proof of concept" that such an approach could sustain an audience's interest and allow for a complicated story.

He said the young Canadian filmmakers behind "Noah" were unable to accept his invitation to contribute to the "Modern Family" episode because of other work.

Apple was informed about the episode, "loved the idea" and provided iPhones for the production, Levitan said, adding that it's commonplace for most major computer companies to have ongoing relationships with TV shows.

"This came from life and it made sense," said Levitan, who cheerfully described himself as "super-geeky" about technology.

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