ABC Family Renews ‘Melissa & Joey,’ ‘Baby Daddy,’ ‘Switched at Birth;’ More ‘Bunheads’ on Order

ABC Family, the Millennial-skewing network, continues its forward momentum as it greenlights additional seasons of its hit series. The network has ordered a third season of “Melissa & Joey,” a second season for both “Baby Daddy” and “Switched at Birth,” and has given a back-order pick-up to “Bunheads,” Michael Riley, President of ABC Family, has announced. The original dramas will premiere in Winter, with the hit comedies returning in Spring 2013.

After launching a successful Wednesday night comedy block with “Melissa & Joey” and “Baby Daddy,” cable TV’s #1 telecasts in their half-hours across the network’s core Adults 18-34, Adults 18-49 and Millennial demos, ABC Family has ordered a third season of “Melissa & Joey” and a second season of “Baby Daddy.” Already established as a destination for hit dramas, the network will also produce a second season of the award-winning hit series “Switched at Birth,” and ordered additional episodes of the critically-acclaimed series “Bunheads.” These pick-ups join the previously announced “Beverly Hills Nannies” reunion special that will air on September 4.

“Two years ago we embarked on a bold strategy to grow the breadth and scope of original programming and create a Wednesday night summer comedy destination,” said Riley. “The new series have resonated with our viewers, and the combination of drama, comedy and reality brings great depth to our lineup. Our stable of strong series continues to grow, and I’m thrilled with the strength of our schedule.”

Kate Juergens, executive vice president, Original Series Programming and Development, ABC Family, continued: “I’m so pleased to add more ‘Baby Daddy’ and ‘Bunheads’ to our lineup, and to have already put a ‘Beverly Hills Nannies’ reunion special into production. So many returning originals spotlight how well our programming resonates with our audience. It also furthers our promise to continue to deliver programming that is engaging, optimistic and relatable.”

“Baby Daddy,” which launched as the network’s #1 comedy series in ABC Family history, is pacing as the #1 new cable comedy this summer in Women 18-34 and Females 12-34, and launch to date is the network’s #1 comedy ever and cable TV’s #2 comedy in Prime in the core demos. Providing a solid launch pad for “Baby Daddy,” “Melissa & Joey” is delivering its best season on record, ranking as cable TV’s #1 series in the half-hour across key measure 18-34, 18-49 and 12-34 demos. Newcomer “Bunheads” is a key player on Monday nights, standing as cable TV’s #2 series on Mondays at 9 o’clock in Women 18-34 and Females 12-34.

“Baby Daddy”
“Baby Daddy” follows Ben (Bilodeau), a young man in his early 20s living the life of a bachelor as a bartender in New York City with his buddy, Tucker (Mowry), and his brother, Danny (Theler), a professional hockey player. Their lives are turned upside down when they come home one day to find a baby girl left on the doorstep by an ex-girlfriend of Ben’s. After much deliberation, Ben decides to raise the baby with the help of his friends and his protective and sometimes over-bearing mother, Bonnie (Peterman), and his close female friend, Riley (Kane), who has had a secret crush on him since childhood. Riley is hopeful that Ben will finally take notice, but she doesn’t realize that Ben’s brother, Danny, is harboring a secret crush on her.

The series stars Jean-Luc Bilodeau (“Kyle XY”), Derek Theler (“90210″), Tahj Mowry (“The Game”), with Melissa Peterman (“Reba”) and Chelsea Kane (“Dancing with the Stars,” “Jonas LA”). “Baby Daddy” is created and executive-produced by Dan Berendsen (“The Nine Lives of Chloe King,” “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch” and “Hannah Montana: The Movie”). “Baby Daddy” is a multi-camera comedy that shoots in front of a live studio audience in Los Angeles.

“Bunheads”
Executive-produced by Amy Sherman-Palladino (“Gilmore Girls”) and headlined by Tony Award(r)-winning actor Sutton Foster, “Bunheads” is the tale of a Las Vegas showgirl who impulsively marries a man, moves to his sleepy coastal town, and takes an uneasy role at her new mother-in-law’s dance school.

Michelle Simms (Foster) had a promising career as a classically trained professional dancer, but was drawn to the lights of Las Vegas. Now, with a dead-end job as a 30-something showgirl, she’s found the excitement of Sin City has lost its appeal, and her persistent suitor, Hubbell Flowers, is gaining it. With promises of a cushy life in his coastal town of Paradise, CA, Hubbell convinces Michelle to marry him and move away. Once in Paradise, Michelle discovers that Hubbell forgot to mention that he lives with his mother, the strong-headed, imperious Fanny Flowers, who is not pleased that Hubbell has run off and married a stranger.

A former dancer herself, Fanny runs the local dance studio, which Michelle comes upon and ends up bonding with some of Fanny’s dance students — sweet “Boo,” who would give anything to be a “bunhead” but struggles against her body type; rebellious Sasha, who possesses the classic ballet dancer’s body and talent but — distracted by family issues at home — doesn’t seem to have her heart in dancing; shapely Ginny, who is not yet comfortable in her own skin; and fun-loving Melanie, who is ready for whatever life throws at her. Michelle’s budding relationship with these girls helps her adapt to small town living and her uneasy role as a new daughter-in-law.

The series stars Sutton Foster (“Flight of the Concords”) as Michelle Simms, Kaitlyn Jenkins as Bettina “Boo” Jordan, Julia Goldani Telles as Sasha Torres, Bailey Buntain as Ginny Thompson and Emma Dumont as Melanie Segal, with guest star Kelly Bishop (“Gilmore Girls”) as Fanny Flowers.

“Melissa & Joey”
In the hit ABC Family original comedy series “Melissa & Joey,” Mel (Melissa Joan Hart) is the former wild child of a political family who is now a successful councilwoman in Toledo. Thanks to a financial scheme gone horribly wrong, Mel’s sister ends up in prison and sends her brother-in-law on the run from the law, leaving Mel as the legal guardian for her teenaged niece, Lennox, and nephew Ryder. Spread too thin to manage by herself, Melissa gets help in the unlikely form of Joe (Joey Lawrence) who, desperate for a job, agrees to move in and becomes the family’s “manny.” Together Mel, Joe, Lennox and Ryder form an unlikely family as they navigate the comedic twists and turns of life.

“Melissa & Joey” is a half-hour multi-cam comedy executive-produced by Bob Young & David Kendall, Paula Hart, Melissa Joan Hart, Joey Lawrence and John Ziffren. Melissa Joan Hart (“Sabrina, the Teenage Witch”), Joey Lawrence (“Blossom”), Taylor Spreitler (“Days of Our Lives”) and Nick Robinson star.

“Switched at Birth”
In “Switched at Birth,” two families are forever altered when they discover their daughters were switched at birth. Life hasn’t been easy for hard-working, single mom Regina Vasquez, but along with her mother, Adriana, Regina has provided her 16-year-old daughter, Daphne — a typical teenager who just happens to be deaf — with a loving and secure home. Although she attends a school for the deaf and hard-of-hearing with best friend Emmett, Daphne’s hearing loss does not prevent her from leading a full life. In sharp contrast to the Vasquezes, Kathryn, a stay-at-home mom, and John Kennish, a retired professional athlete, lead a seemingly perfect life with their two children, Bay and Toby. But when the Kennishes learn the hospital made a grievous error and that Bay is not their biological child, their entire world is turned upside down. Regina, Kathryn and John must learn to co-exist as parents and to blend two families into one for the sake of their daughters, despite overwhelming socio-economic, ethnic and cultural differences.

“Switched at Birth” recently received a Television Critics Association Award for Outstanding Achievement in Youth Programming and an Imagen Award for Best Primetime Program, and has been honored with AFTRA’s (American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) American Scene Crystal Award(r), the Producers Guild of America George Sunga Award and a Gracie Award.

“Switched at Birth” is executive-produced by Lizzy Weiss (“Blue Crush”), Paul Stupin (“Make It or Break It”), Becky Hartman Edwards (“Parenthood”) and John Ziffren (“Melissa & Joey,” “Make It or Break It”). The series also stars Katie Leclerc as Daphne Vasquez; Vanessa Marano (“Gilmore Girls”) as Bay Kennish; Constance Marie (“George Lopez”) as Regina Vasquez; D.W. Moffett (“Friday Night Lights”) as John Kennish; Lea Thompson (“Back to the Future,” “Caroline in the City”) as Kathryn Kennish; Lucas Grabeel (“High School Musical”) as Toby Kennish; and Sean Berdy as Emmett Bledsoe, along with guest stars Gilles Marini (“Dancing with the Stars”) and Marlee Matlin (“The West Wing”).

“Switched at Birth” will return with all new episodes on Monday, September 3 at 8:00 p.m. In advance of the premiere, Hyperion will release a Switched at Birth book (available at online retailers on
August 28), divulging the contents of a memoir authored by the character Kathryn Kennish (played by Lea Thompson) in the series.

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