Switched at Birth (TV series)

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Switched at Birth
Genre Family drama
Teen drama
Created by Lizzy Weiss
Starring Katie Leclerc
Vanessa Marano
Constance Marie
Lea Thompson
D. W. Moffett
Lucas Grabeel
Gilles Marini
Sean Berdy
Theme music composer John Swihart
Composer(s) John Swihart
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
American Sign Language
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 72 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s) Lizzy Weiss
Paul Stupin
John Ziffren
Becky Hartman Edwards
Producer(s) David Hartle
Shawn Wilt
Sean Reycraft
Editor(s) Peter Basinski
Jill D'Agnenica
Debby Germino
Susan Kobata
Mitchell Danton
William Marrinson
Nathan Easterling
Cinematography Frank Byers
Russ T. Alsobrook
Daryn Okada
Carlos González
Phil Parmet
Camera setup Multi-camera
Running time 45 minutes
Production company(s) Pirates' Cove Entertainment
ABC Family Original Productions
Suzy B Productions
Distributor Disney–ABC Domestic Television
Original channel ABC Family
Original run June 6, 2011 (2011-06-06) – present
External links
Official website

Switched at Birth is an American teen/family drama television series that premiered on ABC Family on June 6, 2011, at 9:00 ET/PT.[1] The one-hour scripted drama revolves around two teenagers who were switched at birth and grew up in very different environments.[2] The series' debut was the highest-rated show debut for ABC Family to date.[3] According to ABC Family, it is "the first mainstream television series to have multiple deaf and hard-of-hearing series regulars and scenes shot entirely in American Sign Language (ASL)".[4]

The series won an honorary Peabody Award in 2013, and on July 30, ABC Family ordered a third season which premiered on January 13, 2014.[5] On August 13, 2014, ABC Family renewed the series for a fourth season set to premiere in early 2015.[6]


Bay Kennish (Vanessa Marano) is a teenage girl living in the wealthy Kansas City suburb of Mission Hills, Kansas with her mother Kathryn (Lea Thompson), father John, a former Kansas City Royals baseball player (D. W. Moffett), and slightly older brother Toby (Lucas Grabeel). After discovering her blood type is AB from a school lab assignment, Bay questions why this is incompatabile with her parents, who are both type O. Family genetic testing confirms Bay is not biologically related to her parents. This in turn leads to the discovery that the hospital mistakenly switched Bay with another newborn, Daphne Vasquez (Katie Leclerc), who lives with her Puerto Rican single mother Regina (Constance Marie) and grandmother Adriana (Ivonne Coll) in the low-income neighborhood of East Riverside, Missouri. Dark-haired Bay resembles Regina, and red-haired Daphne resembles Kathryn. Daphne is also deaf, having lost her hearing as a result of contracting meningitis at age three.

Learning that Regina is struggling financially, the Kennishes propose that she move into their guest house with Daphne and Adriana, an offer she accepts. This forces the girls, along with both families, to understand their differences and embrace their similarities. The girls sometimes struggle with their identities, as Bay discovers she has inherited her artistic talent from Regina, and Daphne discovers she has inherited John's athletic skill and Kathryn's love of cooking. Both mothers learn to bond with their biological daughters, while often unintentionally angering their legal ones. John learns to relate to his new-found daughter by coaching her deaf school's basketball team and employing her in the office of one of the local chain of car washes that he owns. Bay is driven by a need to find and relate to her biological father Angelo Sorrento (Gilles Marini), who broke with Regina shortly after Daphne went deaf.

Cast and characters[edit]

Main cast and characters[edit]

The main cast of Switched at Birth
  • Daphne Paloma Vasquez (portrayed by Katie Leclerc) is the biological daughter of John and Kathryn Kennish and legal daughter of Regina Vasquez. She was born on October 22, 1995. At age three, after a battle with bacterial meningitis, Daphne loses her hearing. She has had a series of boyfriends including Liam, Wilke, Chef Jeff, Travis, Jace, and Jorge and Campbell. After some legal troubles Daphne starts working at a free clinic. Her experiences there lead her to consider premed programs, and John and Kathryn agree to help pay her college tuition and Daphne begins looking at pre-med programs.
  • Bay Kennish (portrayed by Vanessa Marano) is the biological daughter of Angelo Sorrento and Regina Vasquez and legal daughter of John and Kathryn Kennish. She was also born on October 22, 1995, at 1:22am a couple of minutes before Daphne. Bay is a passionate artist, and paints street art throughout the city. She has had a series of boyfriends including Liam, Ty, Emmett, Alex, Noah, and Tank. In the first season, she had a long-term relationship with Emmett, but ended it when she found out that Emmett cheated on her. She later resumes her relationship with Ty. Ty later lies to Bay, saying that he cheated on her, because he was afraid that she would not be able to handle it if he were killed. Bay subsequently breaks up with Ty and is later even more hurt when she finds out he lied to her. In the third season, Bay suffers a hand injury due to cutting her hand on glass. Her hand is operated on, but she is unable to paint, draw or sign for several months. Bay later resumes her relationship with Emmett and dumps her current boyfriend, Tank, after she sleeps with Emmett. Bay, heartbroken by Angelo death, wishes she could have spend more time with him. She takes it hard and started looking into Angelo family and wants to learn more about them.
  • Regina Vasquez (portrayed by Constance Marie) is Daphne's legal mother and Bay's biological mother. She is a recovering alcoholic, cleaning up her life after she realizes that she could lose Daphne. Regina and Daphne moved into the Kennish's guest house so that both families could bond and get to know each other. It comes out that Regina found out about the switch after a DNA test shows Daphne is not biologically Regina's. Regina suffers from an injury in her hand that causes her to be unable to sign, and she has to quit her job as a hair stylist so that she can rest it more. Regina marries Angelo after he faces deportation in order to keep him in the country and near his daughters. She later begins a relationship with him. Regina buys the interior design company K&D after the owner decides to sell in order to keep her job, but has to work exclusively for a man named Wes until she pays off the money he loaned her. Regina puts her life in danger when she begins a project in East Riverside, which has local opposition. Regina blames herself for Angelo's death cause as they had a huge fight before the car accident.
  • John Kennish (portrayed by D.W. Moffett) is Toby's father, Bay's legal father, and Daphne's biological father. John is a former MLB Baseball player who owns a chain of car washes. He is a state senator from the Republican Party. John is at first resentful towards Regina and does not trust her, especially after it comes out that she knew about the switch. He feels like Regina kept him from his daughter. John suffers a stress-related heart attack, during which he has a fantasy about what it would have been like had Regina come forward about the switch. He realizes that both girls were better off staying where they were. After Angelo's death, John feels guilt over denying Angelo a loan. He feels that this may have contributed to the stress that caused Angelo's brain aneurysm and subsequent death.
  • Kathryn Kennish (portrayed by Lea Thompson) is Bay's and Toby's mother and Daphne's biological mother. Before the discovery of Daphne and Bay's switch, Kathryn was a stay-at-home-mother. Since then however, she has written a book about the switch which encompasses both her and Regina's perspective, and helped with John's election campaign and his work as a Senator. Kathryn is in the process of writing her second novel. Tension between John and an unhappy Kathryn as well as John's kissing Jennice lead her to kick him out of the house. However, he soon wins her back by proving that he is capable to change and willing to admit to his faults.
  • Toby Kennish (portrayed by Lucas Grabeel) is John and Kathryn's son, Bay's legal older brother, and Daphne's biological older brother. He was the lead guitarist of Guitar Face, a band that included Wilke and eventually Emmett. Toward the end of the season, Toby meets a girl named Nikki at his church, and together with Emmett form a new band. Toby has to deal with a gambling addiction that leads to him losing money and selling his stuff, but works through it with the help of Regina. Toby and Nikki get engaged and elope in the season 2 finale, but Nikki leaves soon after to volunteer overseas with her church for six months. When she returns, she tells Toby that she would like to be involved long-term overseas and that she would like him to come with her, but he turns her down and they discuss a divorce since they cannot stay married and be in separate countries. Initially, Toby regrets the break up and wants to follow Nikki where she goes, but realizes that would not be fair to either one of them. He takes a trip to Iceland and feels renewed upon returning with new prospects.
  • Angelo Sorrento (portrayed by Gilles Marini, recurring season 1, regular season 2-3)[7] is the biological father of Bay, absent legal father of Daphne, and husband of Regina. After finding out that Daphne was not his biological child, he leaves Regina, saying that he does not want to raise another man's child. After finding out about the switch, he returns in order to meet Bay and reconnect with Daphne and Regina. Regina marries Angelo to keep in him the country and later begins a real relationship with him. Angelo sues the hospital that switched the girls and is successful, with the hospital paying him $5 million. Angelo also has another illegitimate daughter named Abby, who he tried to raise on his own before giving her up in an open adoption. Angelo is killed in season 3, episode 16 when he suffers a brain aneurysm following an argument with Regina.
  • Emmett Bledsoe (portrayed by Sean Berdy) Daphne's long-time best friend and Bay's boyfriend. Emmett is also deaf, but unlike Daphne, he does not communicate verbally with hearing people. He previously had a childhood crush on Daphne, claiming he waited for her for "eight years", but becomes interested in Bay after helping her try to find her father. Emmett and Bay also bond over their mutual love of art and start dating. Emmett later has a one night stand with Toby's current girlfriend, causing Bay to end the relationship, but Emmett still has strong feelings for Bay. He loves motorcycles, photography, art, and was the drummer for Toby and Wilke's band Guitar Face, and Toby and Nikki's band Awesome Sauce. Emmett begins an online relationship with a girl named Mandy, but later finds out that he had been cat fished. Bay later admits that she still has feelings for Emmett, and the two resume their relationship.

Recurring cast and characters[edit]

  • Oscar-winning actress and Deaf advocate Marlee Matlin portrays Melody Bledsoe, a deaf guidance counselor and substitute basketball coach at Carlton School for the Deaf; Emmett's mother, and Regina's best friend.[8][9] When Bay and Emmett begin dating, Melody disapproves, not believing deaf/hearing relationships can work due to culture differences. She strongly believes that Bay (despite being her best friend Regina's biological daughter) is a bad influence on Emmett. When Bay comes to her and confides in her her worries about Emmett and his home-life at his Dad's however, Melody finally accepts Bay and realizes that Bay genuinely cares for Emmett. In the second season she took in Travis after he was kicked out of home.
  • Ivonne Coll portrays Adriana Vasquez, Regina's mother, Daphne's legal grandmother, and Bay's biological grandmother, who lives with Regina and Daphne in the Kennish guest house. She doesn't support Regina's and Wes' idea to "redecorate" East Riverside. Adriana thinks Wes is using Regina.
  • Maiara Walsh portrays Simone Sinclair, a former friend of Bay's. She dates Toby briefly, and forms a friendship with Daphne, relationships that are later dissolved when she betrays the Kennish kids by sleeping with Emmett, Bay's then boyfriend and Daphne's best friend. In later episodes, she becomes friendly again with Toby Kennish who appears to forgive the past. She joins AA (with Regina's help). She finds out she has chlamydia and tells Emmett and Toby.
  • Blair Redford portrays Tyler "Ty" Mendoza, Daphne's close friend and Bay's ex-boyfriend. They break up shortly before he leaves for the military in episode 5. Ty and Bay get back together when he returns in the second half of season 2. In the season final of season 2, Bay and Ty break up as he made her think he cheated on her as he is heading back to the war zone again and would prefer to break her heart now then risk breaking it later.
  • Sam Page portrays Craig Tebbe, John and Kathryn's newly appointed lawyer for their case against the hospital. He is shown to be slightly interested in Kathryn, but she rebuffs his advances.
  • Anthony Natale portrays Cameron Bledsoe, Emmett's father, also deaf. He is the "irresponsible" parent compared to Melody and her overprotective parenting style. He also had an ex-girlfriend, Olivia, a bad influence on Emmett. He gets a new girlfriend, who has a cochlear implant and also gets one, with the support of Emmett (after Melody puts some sense on Emmett) and Melody. He introduces to Melody her new "date"
  • TL Forsberg portrays Olivia, Cameron's free-spirited ex-girlfriend who's later revealed to be a marijuana dealer.
  • Meeghan Holaway portrays Amanda Burke, the Kennishes' friend and lawyer, helping John to sue the hospital for medical malpractice. However, John and Kathryn fire her after discovering she's dating one of the hospital board members.
  • Jason Brooks portrays Bruce, ex‑husband of Kathryn's friend and a brief love interest of Regina, until Regina realizes he still has feelings for his ex‑wife.
  • Christopher Wiehl portrays Patrick, owner of a local art gallery who looks at Bay and Regina's work. He and Regina have a relationship, but it ends when he concludes that he couldn't date a married woman who was still in love.
  • Tania Raymonde portrays Zarra, a street artist befriended by Bay. She also uses the street name "Medusa".
  • Justin Bruening portrays Chef Jeff Reycraft, head chef at Maize Restaurant and Daphne's boss, with whom she starts a taboo love affair, which Daphne tries to end in order to keep his job and their relationship. Instead, they break up and she ends up without a job.
  • Ryan Lane portrays Travis, a deaf student at Daphne and Emmett's school who works at John's car wash and is said to have feelings for Daphne. Travis is one of John's most loyal employees and battles John's son Toby for the spot of the car wash's manager; Toby got the job. later in season 2 Travis started dating Bay's friend Mary-Beth who is hearing.
  • Max Lloyd-Jones portrays Noah, a new student at Carlton who befriends Bay. His parents are making him enroll in the pilot program because he has Meniere's disease and may go deaf. He likes Bay and they've been dating since Human/Need/Desire, only to break up after Bay learns of his kiss with Daphne.
  • Annie Ilonzeh portrays Lana, a medical student who met and had a one-night stand with Angelo, during which she becomes pregnant, and after hearing how Angelo felt he lost time with Bay, thought he would want to know he had another daughter. She gives birth to a girl, only to disappear with her later that same day.
  • Cassi Thomson portrays Nikki Papagus Kennish, a Christian singer who begins dating Toby and replaces Wilke in Guitar Face. She is also Toby's fiancée until the last episode of season 2, when the two elope at City Hall. She goes to Peru for six months to help there and ends up staying there more time than the previous 6 months.
  • Stephanie Nogueras portrays Natalie Pierce, a deaf student at Carlton who does not like the hearing students in the pilot program, especially Bay. However, after tensions come to a head at a weekend camping trip hosted by Melody, the two realize that they are indeed quite similar and become close friends.


Season Episodes Originally aired DVD release
Season premiere Season finale Vol. Date Ep#
1 30 June 6, 2011 (2011-06-06) October 22, 2012 (2012-10-22) 1 December 13, 2011[10] 10
2 21 January 7, 2013 (2013-01-07) August 19, 2013 (2013-08-19) N/A N/A N/A
3 22 January 13, 2014 (2014-01-13) December 2014 (2014-12)[11] N/A N/A N/A
4 TBA 2015 (2015)[6] N/A N/A N/A

Development and production[edit]

On August 1, 2011, ABC Family announced that they were ordering more episodes for the first season of Switched at Birth, bringing the first season to a total of 30 episodes. The series continued with a winter premiere on January 3, 2012, ending on March 20, 2012, with 12 episodes.[12][13] The series began airing the remaining 8 episodes of its first season beginning September 3, 2012.[14] On August 17, 2012 (2012-08-17), ABC Family renewed Switched at Birth for a second season;[15] it premiered on January 7, 2013 (2013-01-07).[16] After the spring finale on March 11, 2013 (2013-03-11), the second season resumed on June 10, 2013 (2013-06-10).[17] On July 30, 2013, ABC Family renewed the show for a third season to premiere on January 13, 2014.[5]

The show has an American Sign Language expert who helps make sure that the sign language used by the four fluent regulars (Katie Leclerc, Sean Berdy, Constance Marie, and Marlee Matlin) all employ a similar dialect.[18][19]

Airing on March 4, 2013, to mark the 25th anniversary of the "Deaf President Now" protests at Gallaudet University, the season 2 episode "Uprising" (which featured a similar student-led protest surrounding the closure of Carlton School for the Deaf) was produced almost entirely in sign language with few spoken lines.[20]


The show is set in the Kansas City metropolitan area, although it is filmed in Los Angeles, California. The Kennishes reside in the "old money" suburb Mission Hills, Kansas, and the Vasquezes live in East Riverside, Missouri before moving into the Kennishes' guest house. The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art and Loose Park are both located in Kansas City, Missouri.[21] Establishing shots used in several episodes feature video of downtown Kansas City, including a shot of the Liberty Memorial in the first episode. Most scenes are filmed in Santa Clarita, California.[citation needed]


One week before the premiere, ABC Family launched the online game, "Switched at Birth: Hunt for the Code". Bay, a graffiti artist, left her signature stencil image on ten different websites and users searched for the picture and accompanying code to redeem sneak peeks and enter to win $4,000.[22] Each weekday, ABCFamily.com posted two clues hinting at a site featuring the image and instructed users to scan the code with a Microsoft Tag Reader for exclusive content.[23] Additionally, each code had two letters for fans to collect and enter to win upon completion of the ten-digit code.



The show had the highest-rated premiere ever on the ABC Family network with 3.3 million viewers. When counting the repeat of the first episode later that evening, an estimated 4.9 million people saw the premiere. The first 62 episodes are available on Netflix's Watch Instantly service.

In New Zealand Switched at Birth airs on TV2 the show is also aired in Ireland on TG4 and in Australia on Fox8. In Germany comes Switched at Birth on the Free-TV-Channel Disney Channel.


Season Timeslot (ET) # Ep. Premiered Ended TV Season Viewers
(in millions)
Date Premiere
(in millions)
Date Finale
(in millions)
1 Monday 9:00PM (June 6 – August 8, 2011)
Tuesday 8:00PM (January 3 – March 20, 2012)
Monday 8:00PM (September 3 – October 22, 2012)
June 6, 2011 (2011-06-06)
3.30[24] 1.3[24]
October 22, 2012 (2012-10-22)
1.78[25] 0.8[25] 2011-2012
2 Monday 8:00PM 21
January 7, 2013 (2013-01-07)
1.70[26] 0.7[26]
August 19, 2013 (2013-08-19)
1.96[27] 0.8[27] 2013
3 22
January 13, 2014 (2014-01-13)
1.76[28] 0.7[28]
December 25, 2014 (December 25, 2014)

Awards and nominations[edit]

Awards and nominations for Switched at Birth
Year Award Category Recipient(s) Outcome
Teen Choice Award Choice Breakout Star Katie Leclerc Nominated
Sean Berdy Nominated
Choice Summer TV Show Switched at Birth Nominated
Choice Summer TV Star: Male Lucas Grabeel Nominated
Choice Summer TV Star: Female Vanessa Marano Nominated
ALMA Award Favorite TV Actress - Supporting Role Constance Marie Nominated
American Scene Award Honored Switched at Birth Won
Gracie Award Outstanding Female Actor in a Supporting Role in a Drama Series or Special Constance Marie Won
Outstanding Producer - Entertainment Lizzy Weiss Won
Television Critics Association Award Outstanding Achievement in Youth Programming Switched at Birth Won
Imagen Award Best Primetime Program Won
Best Supporting Actress/Television Constance Marie Nominated
ALMA Award Favorite TV Actress - Supporting Role Won
Teen Choice Award Choice TV Show: Drama Switched at Birth Nominated
Choice TV Actor: Drama Lucas Grabeel Nominated
Choice TV Actress: Drama Vanessa Marano Nominated
TwoCents TV Award Drama Queens Katie Leclerc Won
Peabody Award Honorary Switched at Birth Awarded
Media Access Award[29] Casting Society of America Award Deedee Bradley
(Casting Director)
RJ Mitte Diversity Award Ryan Lane Awarded
2014 TCA Awards Outstanding Achievement in Youth Programming Switched at Birth Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice TV Show: Drama Nominated
Choice TV Actor: Drama Lucas Grabeel Nominated


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  3. ^ Barney, Chuck (June 29, 2011). "Chuck Barney: 'Switched at Birth' another winner for ABC Family". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved July 16, 2011. 
  4. ^ Pennington, Gail (January 12, 2013). "TCA: 'Switched at Birth' goes deeper into deaf culture : Entertainment". Stltoday.com. Retrieved March 12, 2013. 
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  9. ^ Ng, Phillana. "Marlee Matlin Joins ABC Family's 'Switched at Birth'". The Hollywood Report. Retrieved May 12, 2011. 
  10. ^ Switched at Birth - 'Volume 1' DVD Release Announced for the ABC Family Show, TVShowsOnDVD.com
  11. ^ Bucksbaum, Sydney (July 15, 2014). "'Pretty Little Liars,' 'The Fosters,' 'Switched at Birth' and more ABC Family shows airing holiday themed episodes". Zap2it. Retrieved July 15, 2014. 
  12. ^ "ABC Family Orders More Episodes of Switched at Birth". ABC Family. August 1, 2011. Retrieved August 1, 2011. 
  13. ^ "Switched at Birth, Pretty Little Liars, The Lying Game: return." TVseriesfinale.com Retrieved 11/03/11.
  14. ^ Bibel, Sara (July 10, 2012). "'Switched at Birth' to Air Its Season Premiere Monday, September 3; Season Kicks Off With All Day Marathon". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved July 10, 2012. 
  15. ^ Kondolojy, Amanda (August 17, 2012). "ABC Family Renews 'Melissa & Joey', 'Baby Daddy', 'Switched at Birth' & Orders Additional Episodes of 'Bunheads'". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved October 23, 2012. 
  16. ^ Ausiello, Michael (September 28, 2012). "'Pretty Little Liars' Season 3b Return Date — Plus 'Bunheads' Return Date". TV Line. Retrieved October 22, 2012. 
  17. ^ "ABC Family Announces Summer Lineup Including Premieres of 'The Fosters', 'Twisted' + Return of 'Baby Daddy', Pretty Little Liars' & 'Switched at Birth'" TV by the Numbers Retrieved 03/11/2013
  18. ^ "Q & A with Constance Marie from "Switched at Birth"". modoration.com. July 14, 2011. Retrieved July 16, 2011. 
  19. ^ Yawn, Jacquelyne (July 15, 2011). "Special Interview with ABC Family "Switched At Birth" Katie Leclerc". San Diego Entertainer Magazine. Retrieved July 16, 2011. "Katie Leclerc" 
  20. ^ "ABC Family’s ‘Switched at Birth’ ASL Episode Recalls Gallaudet Protest". The Daily Beast. Retrieved December 12, 2013. 
  21. ^ ABC Family, Switched At Birth - Season 1, Episode 3
  22. ^ Anne, Beth (May 26, 2011). "Switched at Birth Scavenger Hunt". Nice Girls TV. Retrieved June 3, 2011. 
  23. ^ "Switched at Birth: Hunt for the Code". Hunt for the Code Game. ABCFamily.com. Retrieved June 3, 2011. 
  24. ^ a b "Monday Cable Ratings: ‘Pawn Stars’ Tops Night; Plus ‘WWE Raw,’ ‘Secret Life,’ NHL Stanley Cup Finals, ‘American Pickers’ & More - Ratings | TVbytheNumbers". Tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com. June 7, 2011. Retrieved September 25, 2012. 
  25. ^ a b "Monday Cable Ratings: ‘Monday Night Football’ Triumphs + Presidential Debate Ratings, ‘On The Record’, ‘Monday Night RAW’, ‘SportsCenter’ & More - Ratings | TVbytheNumbers". Tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com. October 23, 2012. Retrieved November 1, 2012. 
  26. ^ a b "Monday Cable Ratings: College Football Dominates Night + 'WWE Monday Night RAW', 'Catfish', 'Love & Hip Hop 3', 'Teen Mom II' & More". TV by the Numbers. January 9, 2013. 
  27. ^ a b "Monday Cable Ratings: NFL Preseason Wins Night + 'RAW', 'Basketball Wives', 'TI & Tiny', 'Marrying the Game' & More". TV by the Numbers. August 20, 2013. 
  28. ^ a b Amanda Kondolojy (January 14, 2014). "Monday Cable Ratings: 'Monday Night RAW' & 'Love & Hip Hop' Tie for Lead + 'Single Ladies', 'Archer' & More". TV by the Numbers. 
  29. ^ "2013 Media Access Awards". Writers Guild of America. November 1, 2013. 

External links[edit]