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Chelsea Kane talks ABC Family's 'Baby Daddy': "It's lightening in a bottle."

Kane stars as Riley Perrin on "Baby Daddy" on ABC Family.
Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images

She acts, dances, and sings; therefore Chelsea Kane can be described as a triple threat in Hollywood today! The Arizona native has an impressive range on her resume that showcases the versatile sides of her talent. From her role on the CW's former drama “One Tree Hill”, to making it to the finals as a contestant on ABC's “Dancing with the Stars”, to combining it all for her part in the movie musical “Lovestruck: The Musical”, where she starred opposite Jane Seymour.
Currently, Kane can be starring on the hit ABC Family series “Baby Daddy”, which just got renewed for a fourth season. The comedy, which also stars Jean-Luc Bilodeau, Tajh Mowry, and Melissa Peterman, follows Ben, a young man in his early 20s living the bachelor dream in New York City when his life is suddenly turned upside down after coming home one day to find a baby girl left on his doorstep by an ex-girlfriend. Kane plays Riley Perrin, a lawyer and Ben’s closest female friend who helps him to raise the baby.
When speaking with Kane about “Baby Daddy”, it’s easy to see that she is having the time of her life with this role. In a recent interview, we spoke about what she most enjoys about playing Riley, the big moments ahead in the season finale, as well as how her experience with “Dancing with the Stars” led her to “Baby Daddy”!

Congrats on all the success of “Baby Daddy”! I know ABC Family just renewed it for a fourth season. That's exciting!

Chelsea- Thank you! Yes, we just got picked up for a fourth season, which is a huge blessing. I'm so grateful. I've been really lucky with all of my work where I've always really enjoyed the people that I'm around, but there is something really special about “Baby Daddy”. It's lightening in a bottle. I've never been with a group of people that have so quickly become family. We hang out all the time in the off season. I just love them. We make each other laugh everyday. So to know that we get to go back and do that for 22 more weeks is just an amazing feeling. We're so grateful for the fans who have watched it and given us the opportunity to come back!

Television is so competitive at the moment. So many shows don't make it past a few episodes or past one season, what do you think it is about “Baby Daddy” that has led it to stand out and maintain its following?

Chelsea- It is like the golden age of television. On the one hand, there are so many incredible shows out there right now. But on the other hand, I agree it is very cut throat. It's hard to watch shows get cancelled after one or two episodes. I think first of all, I have to give a huge shout-out to ABC Family, because they really stick behind their programming and they're very involved, yet at the same time there aren't too many cooks in the kitchen. We have an amazing director, Michael Lembeck, who is a television legend. He directed the pilot for “Everybody Loves Raymond” and probably every other “Friends” episode. So to have his guidance and then ABC Family kind of letting us play and trusting us, all the puzzle pieces fit into place. And plus, I think the cast- here is a group of people that make really no sense together! (Laughs) When you look at all of us together; you have Melissa Peterson, who is the funniest woman in the world and I feel so lucky to be working with her because I just idolize her. I don't know what that special thing is, that chemistry that happens. We have incredible writers that we love and they love us. So I think that's another reason why the show has done so well: these characters have really kind of become us. (Laughs) It's like what came first the chicken or the egg? We hang out with the writers on the weekends. We all stick together. So all of a sudden our voices are starting to come through on the characters. I think it's just a really special little show. Daniel Berendsen, our creator, is brilliant. I just really respect and admire every person on the cast and crew.
I remember when we were shooting the pilot, we had been rehearsing all week and for a lot of us it was our first multi-cam sit-com, which is an art form all its own. We had been rehearsing and rehearsing, and then we got in front of the live audience that Friday and it was just like something happened. There was an energy in the air and we all kind of looked at each other and were like, “Oh my god! This is working!” I just think it gets better and better every season.

What do you most enjoy about playing Riley?

Chelsea- I love that she's such a guys girl; really ballsy. I love that she always goes after what she wants. She's a lawyer, she's a hard-worker, she's a type-A personality; so I feel like I relate to her a lot in that sense. But at the same time she's all about her friends and her family and I love that she's always hanging with the guys and can hold her own with the guys. I think that makes her really fun.

Is there a favorite storyline that you have had with her? One that really stood out to you as an actress?

Chelsea- There are a bunch of really great episodes coming up. There is an episode coming up on a train where I have a complete nervous breakdown with Danny and Ben. I just love it. It's such a fun scene. I got to do a lot of physical comedy, which was exciting. The Lucille Ball type stuff. And I love that these group of friends have been together for so long that you can have a complete meltdown in front of them and they still love you. (Laughs) All their cards are on the table. Ben and I are traveling to a family reunion of mine. So it's the two of us and we're in close quarters, and of course Riley has always loved Ben. Now Ben wants Riley back and everything is just kind of a mess. It's cute to see them both stuck on the train.

What can you tell us about the upcoming season finale?

Chelsea- The finale this year is so unbelievable touching. I love it. We find out that our old house in New Jersey is getting torn down so we go back to say goodbye to it and say goodbye to the old tree house that we used to hang out in. It's a big episode because Riley has finally discovered how Danny has been feeling about her. And for the first time they have a big moment, because now Danny is in a relationship. It's a real breakthrough for all the Riley and Danny fans who have been sticking with us for so long! I sing in that episode; there is karaoke. And then we also have a really cute clip show this season. Which I used to love from the 90's when they would do them in those “Friends” episodes. There would be a couple new scenes and then a whole montage of the last couple seasons. So that will be fun to kind of see how much everybody has changed.

I know that you have played various roles in film and television, including some dramatic ones, but would you say you lean towards comedy more?

Chelsea- I love comedy, yes. Comedy for me, it's where it's at. I just enjoy it. I enjoy the timing of it. There's such a rhythm to comedy that I have fun with. You laugh all day and you're usually surrounded by other funny people. So I definitely would love to stick with comedy and learn that career-wise. But I've been really lucky to kind of jump the line and do dramatic work in the off-season. I did “One Tree Hill”, and I just shot this movie for Lifetime called LIGHTHOUSE. That was really dramatic. I'm essentially being held hostage by an obsessed man, so there's a lot of crying, which is just very opposite of “Baby Daddy”. It was a challenge but I loved it. I'm happy I get to keep both sides kind of oiled up, but I think comedy is where my heart is.

What do you look for in a character? Are there qualities you most aspire to play in a female character?

Chelsea- I love self-deprecating humor and women. I think that's also why I love Riley. And what I appreciate about playing Riley is they don't make her perfect; because no one is perfect. I think that's what I look for in a character and why I love comedy: women that can kind of make fun of themselves. I would love to do like a Cameron Diaz romantic comedy type. The Leslie Mann's of the world I'm obsessed with. I think those are the types of roles I go for: people who are funny, but the funnier quirkier sides of romantic comedies, not the perfect girl.

Tell me about your dancing. I know you were on “Dancing with the Stars” and you did very well there, and you also did “Lovestruck: The Musical” for ABC Family. A lot of past contestants of “Dancing with the Stars” told me the show changed them, how would you say that experience changed you?

Chelsea- I guess it changed me in the sense where I was suddenly really comfortable being myself all the time. I had been asked to do “Dancing with the Stars” several times and I turned it down several times, because you're totally out of control. You're going into the situation where you're learning a new skill and they're filming you while you're figuring it out. I knew how I would react to it and how I react to challenges, but I didn't know if people would hate me as a person. The reason I'm an actress is because I get to hide myself behind all of these other characters. And it's like, 'If you hate the character, I'm not going to take it personally. That was my job.' But with this to have people just say, 'We're voting for you because we like your personality and what you do or we're kicking you off because we don't think you're that great'. I was just really nervous to put myself out there, especially because I was so relatively unknown at the time. I had done Disney, but I didn't know how many young kids were watching and voting for “Dancing with the Stars” so I figured I would be gone pretty soon. So to have stayed in the competition to the finals, it was awesome! It was just so, so cool and I just really felt the love. I loved my partner and I just had the best time. I got to meet the coolest people. It definitely opened doors for me because I got Lovestruck after I did “Dancing with the Stars”. They needed a girl that could dance and they had just seen me do “Dancing”. So I did Lovestruck, which then led to “Baby Daddy”.

That's amazing! Sometimes you just have to do what scares you because you never know what is on the other side. And to have made it all the way to the finale, that's wonderful!

Chelsea- I couldn't believe it. I told Mark [Ballas] on day one, 'Please get me to week six so I can leave with my dignity. Let me get to the half way point and then I'll feel okay.' And so every week when we stayed on, we were both just hysteric. We couldn't believe it! We just had so much fun. It was fun all the way around.

What else are you passionate about? What do you think you would be doing if you weren't involved in the arts?

Chelsea- That's such a tough question for me because I've always loved this, and I've always grown up around it. My dad is a director, and so as a kid I would go visit him at work on commercials. He directed commercials. He was known for his work with animals; so visiting dad at work there would be like a chimpanzee sitting on his lap! And I was like, 'What is this and how do I get involved?' I've always been fascinated by it. I love to travel and I love the water, so I'd probably be doing something like Marine Biology or working with Marine life. I think I would somehow though still circle back to the arts in one way or another.

Because you started very young, it's always been in you.

Chelsea- Yes, it's always been life. We always had artists and crew people staying at our house. I just can't imagine not being a part of it. To be able to entertain and turn someone's day around; I just love the arts.

If you travel back in time spend a day in the life of anyone, who would it be and why?

Chelsea- I would probably choose Goldie Hawn back when she was in “Rowan & Martin's Laugh In”. I just love her. I would just love to be inside of her mind to see how it all works.

“Baby Daddy” airs Wednesdays at 8:30 PM EST on ABC Family!


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