'Baby Daddy' Boss Talks Parenthood Trend, 'Bittersweet' Pickup
Creator Dan Berendsen talks to THR about his new ABC Family comedy and looks back on canceled drama "Nine Lives of Chloe King."
From the supernatural to .. single fatherhood?
For Baby Daddy creator Dan Berendsen, that's exactly where he finds himself. After ABC Family canceled cult favorite The Nine Lives of Chloe King, which was developed after Baby Daddy, the news was bittersweet for Berendsen -- who has carved out a niche for himself in the young adult space.
"Baby Daddy had been conceived before Chloe and we had a long conversation about it with ABC Family," Berendsen shares with The Hollywood Reporter. "We came up with the development of the show three years ago and for one reason or another it didn't end up going forward [at that time]. When they decided not to go forward with Chloe, it was a very bittersweet day. It was the same day they called me to say they were picking up Baby Daddy."
As Berendsen recalls, that moment was something he will never forget. As he remembers it, his comedy project still had no official title.
"It was very much a 'wow' moment," he says. "It was literally just called The Dan Berendsen Project and when they called saying, 'We're picking up Baby Daddy!' I said, 'That's great! I don't know who or what the show is or who wrote it, but good for you people.' "
Because the network sat on the project for roughly three years, jokes had to be modified but much of the premise stayed the same.
"We certainly updated the jokes as things changed over the course of the years," Berendsen says. "What ended up changing was when members of the cast were added, then the show really came to life."
One big change was the recasting of the lead character Ben, which was originally played by Cameron Deane Stewart before Kyle XY alum Jean-Luc Bilodeau stepped in.
"I don't think anybody ever goes into a pilot thinking you'll recast but when you look at the whole [thing], how people are gelling or not gelling and what elements are missing, that's when you to recast," Berendsen says. "Jean-Luc brings the sexiness and the flirtiness that we need along with the vulnerability. At the end of the day, this is a show about a guy who really loves his baby and you see the guys really get on board with this."
As the series progresses, the episodes will focus on Ben's journey as a new parent as well as a love triangle established early in the first episode between Ben, his brother Danny (Derek Theler) and Riley (Chelsea Kane), Berendsen says.
Though it was developed years ago, Baby Daddy is following in a long line of projects centered on parenthood, pregnancies and babies.
"When we started this, it didn't seem to be part of a trend, but now that we're going on the air we fall right in the middle of that," Berendsen observes, "which I believe only helps us."
Baby Daddy premieres Wednesday at 8:30 p.m.
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