Freeform’s “Baby Daddy” Hits the Big 100

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On May 22 Freeform’s hit series Baby Daddy will reach a milestone – the telecast of its 100th episode!  That achievement is not lost on the cast and crew, who celebrated with cake and champagne at the end of taping that show back on Feb. 13.  For Chelsea Kane (pictured at top with co-stars Jean-Luc Bilodeau, left, and Derek Theler) reaching the 100 mark is something she’s proud of, and she realizes in the volatile landscape of television it’s quite an accomplishment.

(Editor's Note: This column was originally published on March 11.)

“It’s such an elite club to be a part of,” Kane said when I recently spoke with her. “Growing up in an entertainment family, where your parents are in the business, you’re constantly reminded that the other shoe can always drop. [Her father was a director of documentaries and commercials and her mother was his production partner.] They’re always telling me not only was I lucky to have a pilot that was picked up and get one or two seasons, but to hit 100 episodes?

“I was very aware the whole time of how lucky we are,” she continued. “I can’t believe that it’s been five years. “We’ve been lucky to have had a lot of the same crew season after season, which is so rare. Many people have been with us since episode one, have had kids, gotten married and left other shows to come back and work with us.”It doesn’t feel like that much time has passed. To think we’ve had 100 table-reads!  Where did the time go?” (Pictured below, left to right: Series stars Tahj Mowry, Bilodeau, Kane, Melissa Peterman and Theler.)

As Chelsea reflected on filming the series pilot, she was reminded her of just how far she’d come with her craft. “Those pilot rehearsals were kind of a struggle for me,” she recalled. “It was my first time doing a multi-cam show and I wasn’t sure if I could do it. But the night we brought in the audience, something just clicked. I remember looking at the other cast members and saying, ‘Whoa, is something special happening here?’

“When I first started the show, in the first episode, I had to pick up baby Emma -- that was the first time I’d ever held a baby,” she added laughing. “If you look back at the first season I’m absolutely horrified while holding her. There was no maternal instinct kicking in for me at all. But as the babies got older, and a little sturdier, all of a sudden I could kind of feel my ovaries kicking into gear -- but nothing too crazy.”

At the end of season five, Chelsea’s character Riley was pregnant with Danny’s baby, resulting in the actress donning a prosthetic baby belly for season six, something she relished.

“I kept joking it was an 11-week pregnancy,” she laughed. “What a dream! And it was the first time I’ve ever taken full advantage of the craft services table or had a big dinner before the show. I was like, ‘I will have a second slice of pie!’ I didn’t have to suck in my gut. The belly made for a lot of fun comedy moments for me too, things like labor pains, hormones raging.

“I know that some of [the prosthetics] are hollow, but I said I want the belly weighted,” she continued. “I wanted to know it was there all the time and to struggle. Derek Theler, who plays my husband Danny on the show, is 6’5”, so we wanted it known that this would be a giant 13-pound baby. My last prosthetic belly was one for twins, weighing about 15 pounds. Everything was a struggle; it slowed down my walking and my usual stance and it got a little painful by the end of the day.”

Chelsea was also pleased that this season she got to deal with a real topical issue -- pregnancy in the workplace. “Riley tries to hide her pregnancy at work as she’s afraid of it effecting her chances of any promotion knowing she’d have to take maternity leave,” she explained. “She’s also worried about being a good mom as Danny is the perfect husband and perfect dad, so he has high expectations while she’s worried she’s gonna screw up this kid.”

For Chelsea, having six seasons of Baby Daddy to her credit is the realization of a childhood dream. She’s eager for that seventh and hopes for an announcement soon, yet in the meantime she’s happy with what she and the show have achieved. “This is been the most incredible experience,” she said. “It’s what I pictured moving to Hollywood; the studio lot experience, saying hello to everyone every morning and working on a soundstage.

“We used shoot next to Hot in Cleveland, so for someone who wanted to be a woman in comedy just watching Betty White or Valerie Bertinelli walking to work in the morning was so empowering,” she revealed. “I love comedy and have been thinking about that a lot lately, especially after Mary Tyler Moore’s passing. Those people are my heroes and I’m happy more multi-cam shows are being picked up as I’d hate for that genre to fade away. I want to stay in comedy!”

Baby Daddy is telecast Mondays at 8:30 p.m. on Freeform.

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