ABC Family Announces All-ASL Episode of 'Switched at Birth' to Air Monday March 4

Categories: Network TV Press Releases

Written By

January 11th, 2013

via press release:





Burbank, CA (January 11, 2013) – ABC Family’s award-winning original series, “Switched at Birth,” will produce an episode told entirely in American Sign Language (ASL), a first for a scripted series on mainstream television, which will premiere Monday, March 4 at 8:00PM ET/PT.


The special episode will be told from the perspective of the series’ multiple deaf characters – with open captions for hearing viewers – in a storyline that puts the audience in the middle of a student uprising in which the very essence of their deaf identity is at stake. Now in its second season, “Switched at Birth” is the first mainstream television series to have multiple deaf and hard-of-hearing series regulars and scenes shot entirely in ASL.


"I've been wanting to do an all-ASL episode since the series began, and the storyline we've been focusing on this season gave us the perfect opportunity. It's an exciting, visual, empowering story of kids who are different fighting back, and it allows our audience to experience the world as our deaf characters do. We've been building to this for 39 episodes and we're all thrilled to be the first to try this," said series creator and Executive Producer Lizzy Weiss.


“Switched at Birth” is executive-produced by Lizzy Weiss (“Blue Crush”), Paul Stupin (“Make It or Break It”), Becky Hartman Edwards (“Parenthood”) and John Ziffren (“Melissa & Joey,” “Make It or Break It”). The series stars Katie Leclerc as Daphne Vasquez; Vanessa Marano (“Gilmore Girls”) as Bay Kennish; Constance Marie (“George Lopez”) as Regina Vasquez; D.W. Moffett (“Friday Night Lights”) as John Kennish; Lea Thompson (“Back to the Future,” “Caroline in the City”) as Kathryn Kennish; Lucas Grabeel (“High School Musical”) as Toby Kennish; Sean Berdy as Emmett Bledsoe; and Gilles Marini (“Brothers and Sisters”) as Angelo Sorrento with guest star Marlee Matlin (“The West Wing”).


Part of the Disney/ABC Television Group, ABC Family is distributed in over 97 million homes. ABC Family features programming reflecting today’s families, entertaining and connecting with adults through relatable programming about today’s relationships – told with a mix of diversity, passion, humor and heart. ABC Family’s programming is a combination of network defining original series and original movies, quality acquired series and blockbuster theatricals. Emmy® Award-winning provides a variety of interactive entertainment and community features, from rich, fan-centric programming – including blogs, viewing parties, webisodes, full episodes of the network’s hit programming, along with sneak peek exclusive previews and behind-the-scenes clips. ABC Family is also the destination for annual Holiday events with “13 Nights of Halloween” and “25 Days of Christmas.” ABC Family. A New Kind of Family.

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  • Stephanie

    I love this series and I can’t wait to see this episode! I think this is a wonderful additional to ABC Family and I look forward to it every Monday night!

  • Alex

    I think it’s going to be the spring finale. Looking forword to it, either way! :D

  • Ally

    “a storyline that puts the audience in The Middle”?! WTF

  • Shiafa

    I can’t wait I have been waiting for them to do an all ASL episode !!! :D I love this show and I know alot of what they are saying without the caption on… I have been taking ASL at school for my foreign language

  • Mela

    That is awesome! I really hope hearing viewers and even hard of hearing viewers will learn a lot from this and how awesome will it be to have ASL on primetime TV like never before!


    This is groundbreaking and I’m proud of ABC Family for the promotion and success of this incredible series.

  • terpmama

    As an ASL interpreter it’s nice to see a show that actually deals with Deaf/HOH culture and experience accurately. There’s little sugar coating of the deaf/Deaf experience. I enjoy watching the show and at times wish I could turn off the open caption so that I can get some receptive ASL practice! Well done folks!

  • Hope

    I am HOH. I love this show! It is one of my favorites. Thank you for making an ASL episode.

  • Nikki W

    I am really excited about this news! Can’t wait for the episode to air. :)

  • John West

    Why open caption it? Some of us would like to watch it without the words at the bottom. Keep it closed captioned and if people need the caption, they can learn to work their tv.

  • Deaf

    “Open captions for hearing viewers”? There are 98% of deaf and hard of hearing people who don’t know sign language and would not understand it without captions. Alo, there are some hearing peopke who know sign language such as interpreters, ASL students, children and siblings of deaf people, etc.

    Can you just say “open captions” without indicating for whom? Thanks!

  • ProudGal

    What do you mean Ally when you added what you typed: “a storyline that puts the audience in The Middle”?! WTF, what does WTF?

  • Christina

    This is awesome!

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