ABC Family renews 'Melissa & Joey' and 'Baby Daddy,' adds 3 dramas

ABC Family has picked up comedies "Melissa & Joey" and "Baby Daddy" for additional seasons. The network also announced Monday that it's expanding its brood, greenlighting three new drama pilots.

"Melissa & Joey," featuring '90s teen stars Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence, will return for a fourth season, helping the "Odd Couple"-esque comedy reach its 100th episode. "Baby Daddy," which follows a 20-something trying to raise a kid with the help of his family and friends, will also return for a fourth season.

Though not ratings powerhouses on a grand scale, both series have been solid performers for ABC Family.  Their winter premieres this year hit a nearly 1-1/2-year high. "Melissa & Joey" brought in 1.4 million viewers in its 8 p.m. Wednesday slot; "Baby Daddy" brought in 1.3 million total viewers with its airing.

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The network, looking to boost its comedy presence, previously announced it was greenlighting the comedy pilot "Work Mom" and picking up two comedy series from Tori Spelling ("Mystery Girls") and Ashley Tisdale ("Young & Hungry").

But ABC Family isn't giving a cold shoulder to its bread and butter. Its new drama slate will take viewers into the worlds of tennis, addiction and ... Saudi Arabia.

"Unstrung" follows brother-and-sister tennis stars and the high-stakes world of professional tennis. This being ABC Family, a "major family secret threatens to turn their lives, and their hard-earned family 'brand,' upside down," according to the network.

Familiar with adaptations of young adult novels, the network gives viewers "Recovery Road," based on the novel by Blake Nelson. The story focuses on a teenager girl dealing with addiction. When she's not an everyday high school student, she moonlights as a member of a rehab facility. The pilot was written by Bert V. Royal (“Easy A”) and Karen DiConcetto (“Ruby & The Rockits”). 

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Then comes "Alice in Arabia," which centers on yet another teenage gal, a rebellious one. After a tragedy comes down on her parents, Alice is kidnapped by her extended family who are Saudi Arabian. The fish-out-of-water drama finds Alice intrigued by her new surroundings, while also trying to return home. The pilot was written by Brooke Eikmeier, whose past projects aren't quite available on IMDb. Eikmeier previously served in the US Army as a Cryptologic Linguist in the Arabic language, trained to support NSA missions in the Middle East. She left service in September 2013 as a rank E-4 Specialist.

“These three powerful new dramas are a great fit with ABC Family’s brand of original programming known for diverse stories that challenge as well as entertain our viewers,” read a statement from Tom Ascheim, president of ABC Family. “We’re also delighted to produce more episodes of ‘Melissa & Joey’ and ‘Baby Daddy,’ two series that together have helped ABC Family establish a strong comedy block that continues to make our audience laugh out loud.”


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