ABC announces Joey Lawrence (ABC Family’s “Melissa & Joey”) and Charissa Thompson (ESPN’s “SportsNation”) as hosts of the new diving competition series, “Splash,” where ten celebrity contestants will face their fears as they flip, twist and spin into the depths of the pool below, premiering TUESDAY, MARCH 19 (8:00-9:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.
“Splash” marks the first time ten celebrities will train and compete in regulation platform and springboard diving at dizzying heights in front of a weekly poolside audience. After training with professional divers and being mentored by the world’s most decorated and medaled diving legend, Greg Louganis, their dives will be critiqued by two judges, London Olympic U.S. Gold medalist David Boudia and Australian Olympic athlete and USA Dive Team director Steve Foley.
Joey Lawrence is one of the most sought after actors in the entertainment business today. With a career spanning over 25 years in film, television and music, Lawrence has been in the public eye since he was six. He rose to pop-culture fame as a teenager on the ’90s hit television series “Blossom,” where his character, Joey Russo, stole the hearts of teenage girls around the globe and helped aid in a flannel-grunge fashion craze. Today Lawrence can be seen starring on the hit ABC Family series “Melissa & Joey,” with Melissa Joan Hart. After successful first and second seasons, which appealed to over 2 million viewers, Season 3 is set to return this May. In addition to starring on the show, Lawrence also holds executive producer credits and directed an episode for Season 2. Aside from acting, Lawrence has also made his mark in on the business side of the industry, producing and directing projects over the years. He owns and runs a full service production company, JL VERITAS, which serves as a development slate for both scripted and non-scripted shows. The company currently produces “Melissa & Joey” for ABC Family. In addition to “Melissa & Joey,” Lawrence recently sold a script to Disney with the producers of “Wedding Crashers” entitled “Mr. Everything,” which he will co-produce and star in, and he recently sold a project to Nickelodeon.
Charissa Thompson is currently the co-host of ESPN2′s “SportsNation,” along with Marcellus Wiley. Thompson joined ESPN in September 2011 as the co-host of ESPN2′s “Numbers Never Lie” and, after frequent guest appearances on “SportsNation,” moved into the permanent co-host role in June 2012. Prior to joining ESPN, Thompson covered the NHL for Versus, from 2010-11, including the 2010 All-Star Game and Stanley Cup Finals. In 2010 she reported on the Vancouver Olympic Winter Games, FIFA World Cup, BCS National Championship Game, Super Bowl and NBA All-Star Game for Yahoo! Sports. She has also appeared on NFL Network and co-hosted programming on the Speed Network. In 2009 Thompson was a sideline reporter for ABC’s “Shaq Vs.” show. She began her career at Fox Sports Network (FSN) Los Angeles in the Human Resources department. She then became a production assistant with FSN Rocky Mountain (Denver), which led to her first on-air role covering the Colorado Rockies for the network’s “Rockies All Access” program. Thompson eventually relocated back to Los Angeles to co-host FSN’s “The Best Damn Sports Show Period.” Her responsibilities expanded to include NFL sideline reporting on Fox, along with the Big Ten Network’s game of the week. She also covered college basketball for the Big Ten Network. A native of Seattle, Thompson graduated from UC-Santa Barbara with a degree in law and society.
“Splash” is from Eyeworks USA and is based on the breakout hit and Dutch format, “Celebrity Splash.” The series is executive-produced by JD Roth, Todd A. Nelson, Brant Pinvidic and Josh Greenberg.
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” 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.
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.
ABC Family has given the production greenlight to four more pilots and ordered additional episodes of its new hit comedy series, “Melissa & Joey,” it was announced today by Michael Riley, president, ABC Family. The pilots are “Untitled Brenda Hampton Project,” “What Would Jane Do,” “The Lying Game” and “The Great State of Georgia.”
The network has also given a back-order to “Melissa & Joey,” starring Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence, bringing its first season order to a total of 30 episodes. The original comedy series currently premieres on Tuesday nights at 8:00PM ET/PT.
“The addition of these four pilots to the network’s existing order, coupled with the breakout success of ‘Melissa & Joey,’ reflects the incredible momentum of ABC Family,” said Riley. “This is the most aggressive development slate in the network’s history. It shows the network’s commitment to offering viewers a great mix of brand-defining original series.”
“We’re glad to have the opportunity to collaborate with Brenda again on this new project,” said Kate Juergens, executive vice president, Original Programming & Development, ABC Family. “In addition, we couldn’t be happier to have ‘Melissa & Joey’ return with more episodes. The chemistry between the two has again proven to be a hit with our viewers. We’re so proud of them and excited to have original comedy on ABC Family.”
“Untitled Brenda Hampton Project,” a one-hour scripted drama to be executive produced by Brenda Hampton (“The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” “7th Heaven”), is a groundbreaking and heartfelt look at the lives and families of four ethnically-diverse teenage girls at a private school in California. The pilot follows the girls and the challenges they face at home — challenges that include a parent with terminal cancer, a brother with a behavioral disorder, and a father who parents with an unwaveringly strict hand. Casting on the project is yet to be announced.
“The Great State of Georgia” is an ABC Studios’ half-hour, multi-cam comedy series about an exuberant plus-sized performer from the south and her science geek best friend who try to make headway in New York City. Pilot writers are Jennifer Weiner (author of the best-selling novels Good in Bed, and In Her Shoes (Cameron Diaz and Toni Collette starred in the feature film version by the same name) and Jeff Greenstein (“Desperate Housewives,” “Parenthood,” “Friends,” “Will & Grace”). Casting on the project is yet to be announced.
“What Would Jane Do” a one-hour scripted drama, follows 16year-old Jane, who lands a job at a hip retail company when they mistake her for an adult. Jane soon finds herself juggling life as a regular teenager in high school and as an assistant to a high powered executive in the cutthroat world of fashion…all while trying to keep her true identity a secret. Executive producer is Gavin Polone (“Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Gilmore Girls,” “My Boys”); writer is April Blair (“Lemonade Mouth,” “Major Movie Star,” “Christmas Caper”).
“The Lying Game,” a one-hour scripted drama which follows Emma, a kind-hearted foster kid who can’t catch a break. She finds out she has an identical twin sister, Sutton, who – unlike Emma – was adopted by wealthy parents and is seemingly living an ideal life. After their initial meeting, Sutton talks Emma into stepping into her life for a few days while she pursues a lead on their birth mother. Initially excited to do this favor for her sister, Emma soon learns that Sutton has gone missing and could be in trouble. Now, Emma must decide whether to come clean to Sutton’s family and risk her own safety in the hope of uncovering her twin sister’s true whereabouts, along with the truth about why they were separated in the first place. Charles Pratt, Jr. (“Ugly Betty,” “Desperate Housewives,” “All My Children,” “Melrose Place”) serves as executive producer and writer; Leslie Morgenstein (“Pretty Little Liars,” “Gossip Girl,” “The Vampire Diaries”) and Gina Girolamo will serve as executive producers. Produced by Alloy Entertainment in association with Warner Horizon Television, the series is based on the upcoming novel by Pretty Little Liars author Sara Shepard. Casting on the project is yet to be announced.
Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence Premiere in ABC Original Comedy Series ‘Melissa & Joey’ August 17
In the new ABC Family original comedy series, “Melissa & Joey,” Melissa Joan Hart portrays Mel, the grown-up former wild child of a political family who is now a local politician herself. When her sister ends up in prison and brother-in-law flees after a scandal hits, Mel must take responsibility for her teenaged niece, Lennox, and adolescent nephew, Ryder. Spread too thin to manage by herself, help comes in the unlikely form of Joe (Lawrence) who, desperate for a job, moves in and becomes the family’s “manny.” “Melissa & Joey” debuts on ABC Family on Tuesday, August 17 with back-to-back original episodes, at 8:00PM & 8:30PM ET/PT. The half-hour series will air regularly on Tuesday nights at 8:00PM ET/PT.
In the second episode, “Moving On,” both Mel and Joe experience issues in their love lives. While Joe is reluctant to move on after the break-up of his marriage, Mel attempts to start a new relationship, but finds it tough being a single woman with Joe living in her house. Meanwhile, Mel must jump into “mom” mode when Lennox has a difficult time adjusting to the new public school. Alexandra Hart Gilliams (Melissa’s real-life younger sister) guest stars as one of Lennox’s friends.
“Melissa & Joey” is a half-hour multi-cam comedy executive-produced by Bob Young & David Kendall, Paula Hart, Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence. “Melissa & Joey” is also written and created by Bob Young & David Kendall. The pilot was directed by Ted Wass. Melissa Joan Hart (“Sabrina, the Teenage Witch”), Joey Lawrence (“Blossom”), Taylor Spreitler (“Days of Our Lives”) and newcomer Nick Robinson star. Elizabeth Ho is a recurring guest star.
Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence first partnered together on the ABC Family original movie, “My Fake Fiancé,” in April 2009, which was the No. 1 TV movie of the 2008/09 season in Women 18-34 (1.0 million/3.0 rating) and the No. 1 ad-supported cable movie in Women 18-49 (1.6 million/2.4 rating).
Paul Lee, president, ABC Family, today announced the network’s summer 2010 schedule. The network’s programming slate includes three new original series, returning hits, original movies and blockbuster theatrical acquisitions. The network finished 2009 as its best year on record.
“ABC Family has truly become a factory for great Millennial storytelling,” said Lee. “We’re so proud of our three summer launches, ‘Pretty Little Liars,’ ‘Huge’ and ‘Melissa & Joey,’ and we think they’ll make the perfect complement to our returning hits ‘The Secret Life of the American Teenager’ and ‘Make It or Break’.”
“Pretty Little Liars” follows four estranged best friends who are reunited one year after their best friend and queen bee of the group, Alison, goes missing – only to discover they’re receiving messages from an anonymous “A” who knows all their secrets. The drama stars Lucy Hale (“Privileged”) as Aria, Troian Bellisario (“Navy NCIS”) as Spencer, Ashley Benson (“Eastwick”) as Hanna, Shay Mitchell as Emily and Sasha Pieterse (“Heroes”) as Alison. Also starring are Laura Leighton (“Melrose Place”), Bianca Lawson (“The Vampire Diaries”) and Ian Harding (“NCIS: Los Angeles”). Produced by Alloy Entertainment in association with Warner Horizon Television.
I. Marlene King (“If These Walls Could Talk”), Oliver Goldstick (“Lipstick Jungle,” “Desperate Housewives”), and Leslie Morgenstein and Bob Levy (“Gossip Girl,” “The Vampire Diaries”) are executive-producing. The series is based on Alloy Entertainment’s popular young adult book series written by Sara Shepard. “Pretty Little Liars” premieres on Tuesday, June 8 at 8:00PM ET/PT.
“Huge” is being developed by Winnie Holzman (“Wicked,” “My So-Called Life,” “Once & Again”) and daughter Savannah Dooley. Funny, heartbreaking and provocative, “Huge” follows the lives of seven teens and the staff at a weight-loss camp, as they look beneath the surface to discover their true selves and the truth about each other. The series stars Nikki Blonsky (“Hairspray”), Andrew Caldwell, Zander Eckhouse, Harvey Guillen, Ari Stidham, Ashley Holliday and Hayley Hasselhoff. Holzman will be executive producer on the premiere episode, and will serve as consultant for the remainder of the episodes. Dooley will serve as producer on the series. Kim Rozenfeld (“American High”), and Alloy Entertainment’s Leslie Morgenstein and Bob Levy (“Gossip Girl,” “The Vampire Diaries”), will serve as executive producers; Robin Schiff (“Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion” and ABC Family’s “10 Things I Hate About You”) will serve as a consulting producer. The series is based on the Alloy Entertainment book written by Sasha Paley. “Huge” premieres Monday, June 28 at 9:00PM ET/PT.
“Melissa & Joey,” a half-hour multi-cam comedy with Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence executive producing and starring, finds Hart portraying Mel, the grown-up former wild child of a political family who is now a local politician herself. When her sister ends up in prison and her brother-in-law flees after a scandal hits, Mel must take responsibility for her teenaged niece, Lennox, and pre-adolescent nephew, Ryder. With Mel spread too thin to manage by herself, help comes in the unlikely form of Joe (Lawrence) who, desperate for a job, moves in and becomes the family’s “manny.” David Kendall & Bob Young are executive producers and writers. Paula Hart also serves as executive producer. “Melissa & Joey” will premiere in August 2010 (Date TBA).
Lee, president, ABC Family, yesterday announced the pick-up of “Melissa & Joey.” The series has been given a 10-episode order and is scheduled to premiere in 2010.
“We love Melissa and Joey,” said Lee. “Melissa has a long history on the network, and she and Joey recently starred in the network’s original movie, ‘My Fake Fiancé,” which broke records for the network last year. They have fantastic chemistry and are just so relatable to our viewers. We knew we wanted to get them together again, and developed this comedy specifically with them in mind.”
“Melissa & Joey,” a half-hour multi-cam comedy with Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence executive producing and starring, finds Hart portraying Mel, the grown-up former wild child of a political family who is now a local politician herself. When her sister ends up in prison and brother-in-law flees after a scandal hits, Mel must take responsibility for her teenaged niece Lennox and pre-adolescent nephew Ryder. Spread too thin to manage by herself, help comes in the unlikely form of Joe (Lawrence) who, desperate for a job, moves in and becomes the family’s “manny.” David Kendall & Bob Young are executive producers and writers; Paula Hart also serves as executive producer.