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    ABC Family Renews "Switched At Birth" For Third Season

    Perhaps to make up for killing Bunheads, the cabler has given the groundbreaking hearing/deaf drama a third season and ordered more episodes for The Fosters and Twisted. Plus, creator Lizzy Weiss on the news and what lies ahead.

    ABC Family

    Vanessa Marano and Katie Leclerc in ABC Family's Switched at Birth

    Given the public outcry last week over the cancellation of Bunheads, fans were automatically concerned about the fate of ABC Family's other critically beloved teen drama, Switched at Birth. But before irate Switched fans start sending Kansas City barbecue to the cable network in an act of rebellion (or start stenciling Axe Girl on the studio walls), there is some good news for a change. ABC Family has today issued a third season renewal for Switched at Birth, and has also ordered additional episodes of The Fosters and Twisted.

    No word on the episode count for the three series, though — given ABC Family's pattern in the past — it's likely that Switched at Birth will get a third season of 20 episodes while The Fosters and Twisted will each get an additional 10 episodes this season.

    Bay (Marano) and Daphne (Leclerc) in Monday's episode of Switched at Birth.

    "It's thrilling to count our two freshman series, The Fosters and Twisted among our stable of strong, must-see, must-tweet series," said Kate Juergens, Executive Vice President, Original Programming and Development and Chief Creative Officer, ABC Family, in a prepared statement. "Switched at Birth is like no other show on television and we are so proud to have it as part of our family. Adding additional seasons and episodes of our returning series spotlights how well our programming resonates with our audience."

    Likewise, the network's president, Michael Riley, had similarly warm words to say about the renewal and the back-order pick-ups for the channel's newest additions, The Fosters and Twisted. "ABC Family has always been a home for groundbreaking storytelling with iconic characters and families and we're thrilled to have The Fosters and Twisted join our line-up as breakout summer hits," said Riley. "We are very proud of the original series we continue to foster, bringing real and relatable characters to life for our viewers and know they are destined to become part of the zeitgeist alongside Switched at Birth and Pretty Little Liars."

    ABC Family

    Jace (Matt Kane) and Daphne (Leclerc) in a scene from Switched at Birth.

    Reached by phone for comment, Switched at Birth creator Lizzy Weiss was overjoyed at the prospect that the show, which has been awarded both a Peabody Award and a Television Critics Association Award, had been picked up for a third season. "We are thrilled to be picked up for a third season," Weiss told BuzzFeed. "We have a lot more stories to tell."

    As for what Season 3 will hold, Weiss said that both Daphne (Katie Leclerc) and Bay (Vanessa Marano) will take some further steps towards adulthood. "The girls will be going into their senior year in Season 3," Weiss said. "If you watch the finale, you will see that it was a summer of growing up for both of them and there are some unresolved issues for both girls, so they are going into their senior year with some weight on their shoulders and adult responsibilities ahead of them."

    "We've left them in the finale with some unresolved romance issues for both of them and Daphne will have some pretty big weight on her shoulders that she will have to deal with." That likely involves her romantic entanglement with Matt Kane's British barista Jace (who, for the sake of full disclosure here, was named after yours truly), who isn't quite the "shiny new" toy that Daphne thought him to be when they met earlier this season.

    "I like how everyone has a different interpretation of him," said Weiss. "He's, in a way, a kid himself. He's not a fully formed person and he's still trying to figure out who he is. Maybe he did those things to impress her; maybe he did those things thinking they were the best thing to do. He's made these impulsive decisions and sometimes those decisions can have repercussions for the rest of your life. Kathryn and Regina talk about this in the finale — when you're a teenager, you make stupid choices and luckily most of us don't have to live with those forever, but sometimes you do. There's something really universal about that; at that age, your brains are wired to not have a stop sign. We wanted to give Daphne a summer where she finds herself in over her head because of one bad choice and what happens when that has repercussions."

    Excited yet? The season finale of Switched at Birth is scheduled for August 19.

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