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ABC Family sets trio of summer preems

'Liars,' 'Design' set to return with new eps

ABC Family is playing to a multigenerational aud with its dramedy “Bunheads,” exec produced by “Gilmore Girls” creator Amy Sherman-Palladino.

“Bunheads” was one of three new series touted by the cabler at its upfront luncheon Monday, held at Gotham’s Mandarin Oriental hotel.

“Bunheads,” toplined by Broadway star Sutton Foster, skews slightly older than the cabler’s typical fare, the series is an example of ABC Family’s focus on shows that lure both mothers and daughters.

“I can’t believe how many people come up to me and say, ‘Oh my God, I’m 45 and I love your shows,’ ” said Kate Juergens, ABC Family’s exec VP of original series programming and development.

The clip from “Bunheads,” which centers on a newlywed Foster leaving her life as a Vegas showgirl and taking a job at her new mother-in-law’s dance school in a sleepy coastal town, drew the most laughs from the packed banquet room during the cabler’s two minute and 17 second sizzle reel. The series will air on Mondays at 9 p.m. beginning June 11.

“These are scripted television shows, and scripted television shows are dinosaurs out there,” said Sherman-Palladino, who jokingly apologized to the kids in the audience after dropping a couple of F-bombs during the panel. “This is a place where you can tell a story.”

The panel showcased ABC Family’s strong track record of hiring femme showrunners, as it also featured Marlene King of “Pretty Little Liars,” Brenda Hampton of “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” and Lizzy Weiss of “Switched at Birth.”

Also drawing chuckles was the family comedy “Baby Daddy” from exec producer Dan Berendsen (“The Nine Lives of Chloe King”), which will air Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. beginning June 20. Jean-Luc Bilodeau stars as a father to a baby left on his doorstep by an ex-girlfriend. Chelsea Kane, Tahj Mowry, Melissa Peterman and Derek Theler co-star.

And ABC Family is taking a page from the Bravo playbook with “Beverly Hills Nannies,” an unscripted series from the production company behind “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” which will air Wednesdays at 9 p.m. beginning July 11.

Meanwhile, the cabler announced that comedy “Melissa & Joey” will debut its second season beginning May 30, while “Switched at Birth” is set to return with new original episodes in the fall.

Dramas “Pretty Little Liars” and “Jane By Design” will return with new episodes beginning June 5, airing Tuesdays at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. respectively.

(Jon Weisman contributed to this report.)

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