There will be no Frankie in Season 6 of Workin’ Moms. Juno Rinaldi, who has played the role of real estate agent Frankie Coyne for five seasons, made the announcement on Instagram Thursday morning.
“To my dear cast, crew, friends, families and fans of the show. I have made the hard decision not to return to Workin’ Moms this season,” she wrote.
“As an artist I felt like it was time to pursue other creative opportunities as an actor and different opportunities in other mediums within the business (specifically, writing and producing). Frankie was a role of a lifetime. Deep gratitude goes out to @reitcatou for taking a chance on a nobody like me. I had 5 glorious seasons with truly incredible people and now I am so excited to see where Workin’ Moms goes next , I know it’s going to be fantastic!
All my love. Juno.”
Rinaldi’s post was quickly answered by her Workin’ Moms co-star, show co-creator, director and executive producer Catherine Reitman, who wrote:
“Telling these stories without Frankie this season was hard. Your spirit will be missed more than you know. But I speak for many when I say, we can’t wait to see what’s on the horizon for you ❤️ Sending you all the good stuff and more #teamfrankieforlife”
Earlier this summer, CBC announced that Season 6 of Workin’ Moms would return in the winter.
But changes are afoot for the ladies when Workin’ Moms returns to CBC on Tuesday night.
Like many programs, COVID-19 impacted production on the primetime comedy both creatively and physically. Production on the show, which is usually filmed indoors, was in many instances moved outside. And, the pandemic worked its way into the Carlson’s plans: upon arriving in Cochrane, Alberta, Anne, Lionel and the girls were forced to sequester for safety. Upon things opening up intown, Anne found herself a true stranger in a strange land and unable—so far—to cope with the upheaval.
We spoke to Workin’ Moms’ co-creator, executive producer, writer, star and director Catherine Reitman and actor Dani Kind about the upcoming 10-episode season.
Catherine, did the fact you had to work around the safety issues change anything from a writing standpoint or even a filming standpoint? Were there major changes that you had to make to the fifth season because of the pandemic? Catherine Reitman: Huge. Yeah, I mean, look, we’re a summer show that goes into tiny, little real apartments. We’ve never been a real studio show. We’ve really been a location-based show. I think why Toronto loves the show, in particular, is because we’re in real buildings in Toronto. We’re in tiny apartments. We’re like an indie movie where we’re we’ve got two camera teams going up and down narrow stairwells with stairs that are about to give way.
We’ve shot in several buildings that have been since torn down because they’re derelict. So we couldn’t really go into buildings that had elevators. We had to move a lot of our interiors to exteriors. We could only shoot 10-hour days. We had to make a lot of concessions as far as we had to shoot in the fall to winter and add exteriors to that, so that was more complicated than we were used to. And then, from a creative standpoint, we were trying to figure out how much we were actually going to deal with COVID-19. The idea of a season of characters in masks and being six feet apart didn’t really interest me. And it’s not even that didn’t interest me. I mean, it’s our life, right?
I wanted the fans of the show to be able to come back and laugh at what we used to deem real problems. And I think that’s what our goal was this season, to put it in the rear view mirror. Deal with it quickly and get out.
Dani, what were your thoughts on having the pandemic impact the Carlson’s and their move out to Cochrane? Dani Kind: The impact was helpful as an actor because she’s going through so much with the move already, leaving her best friend and that main relationship in her life, leaving the circle of her job, leaving a house that she loves, and then going with Lionel to this new place, but also having the pandemic hit the moment they move in just squashed everything. I found it really helpful, and also I loved that we acknowledged it, that it was happening. We didn’t just gloss over it and pretend like it was fine. It was extremely helpful to play the anxiety of what she was already going through.
Catherine, friendship is a huge part of Workin’ Moms, and to see Kate and Anne distanced by so much is tough. How much of that friendship is going to be tested? Is that the main arc of the season, this fifth season? CR: It’s certainly one of the arcs. I know what you mean. And watching it in post, it’s funny… I think it’s Quentin Tarantino who said that you write your rough draft and then post is the last draft of the script. What worked, what didn’t work. And what was really telling to me—and to all of us—was I think we were so excited about this Anne bottle, but you do miss her friends with her. You’re so hungry for them to be together again and for Anne to get that comfort and seeing them pulled away from each other was painful. And I think it’s all too real for a lot of people.
For me personally, my friendships have taken such a back seat to my job and to my family, and to my responsibilities. To see Kate and Anne separated—this love story that we’ve been rooting for—to see them pulled away is probably a little too real for a lot of people and I don’t think I even realized that until it aired. And so challenging that is, of course, one of the big obstacles of the season. And then we sort of turn it on its head mid-season in a way that I don’t think anyone’s going to see coming.
As funny as Workin’ Moms can be, it can be very, very serious. Dani, there is an incredible scene in the season premiere where Anne isn’t saying anything, she’s just overcome with emotion. How do you feel about this storyline that has been written for Anne? DK: I think that’s one of the greatest gifts I get being on this show is that I can be and I can play her grounded and I can play the relationships more than the comedies. I don’t think that that’s mainly my strength in the show per se.
I think playing the real is and also lends itself to Anne. That’s who she is. She’s a straight shooter. But watching a straight shooter fall is where she lives. And every season that I get the scripts and I get to see those moments in all the different ways that have unraveled in the five seasons, that’s the most exciting part for me playing her.
How Anne copes with the move to Cochrane is interesting. CR: One of our writers was from Cochrane, specifically, and there was a group of women. This writer doesn’t have children, but a lot of her sister’s friends were in what they called the Pretty Committee. We turned it into the Cutie Committee on our show. We sort of showed the Alicia version in the Toronto Mommy and Me group and going to Cochrane and seeing how that’s changed because there are different mom gangs anywhere you are, right? And in this particular mom gang, they had to adjust from the sort of big city, high-pressure career lifestyles to a much slower lifestyle. And the way they chose to deal with it is by sedating themselves.
I know a lot of women my age who are opioid addicts. They’re taking pills to sedate themselves to just let those hours go by a little more quickly. And it’s an international problem truly, but seeing a character like Anne, who is a psychiatrist and is sharp and really smart and really understands the nature of the human mind, to see her slowly accept that and fall into that slippery slope makes us as an audience terrified.
And so watching her not only say goodbye to her friendships and the world we know in Toronto, but also maybe turn off the lights a little bit. That was something that was really fun to explore.
Principal photography has begun on the fifth season of CBC’s bold and irreverent original comedy WORKIN’ MOMS (10×30), produced by Wolf + Rabbit Entertainment. The series is created by Catherine Reitman (Black-ish, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia), who serves as showrunner and executive producer and stars as Kate Foster. WORKIN’ MOMS looks at the polarizing and unexpected realities of the lives of a group of friends—all working moms—and their partners, as they’ve adjusted to life as parents. They might not be able to have it all, but they’re sure as hell going to try. Production will continue in and around Toronto through late November for a winter 2021 premiere on CBC and the free CBC Gem streaming service.
Season five of WORKIN’ MOMS continues to explore careers, motherhood and the delicate balance of having it all. Kate is inspired by a formidable new client, but could it cost her everything she’s worked for? Anne leaves Kate and her old life behind, as she, Lionel and the family move to Calgary. While Frankie easily steps into a leadership role at work, she struggles to find a connection with baby Solomon at home. Meanwhile, Jenny realizes her relationship with MCP could have more strings attached than she thought. The women embark on new chapters of their lives, while striving to maintain their friendships, careers, and parenting goals.
Returning cast include Dani Kind as Anne; Juno Rinaldi as Frankie; Jessalyn Wanlim as Jenny; Philip Sternberg as Nathan; Ryan Belleville as Lionel; Olunike Adeliyi as Giselle; Sarah McVie as Val; Katherine Barrell as Alicia; Sadie Munroe as Alice; Alex Mallari Jr. as MCP; Mimi Kuzyk as Eleanor; and Peter Keleghan as Richard, among other fan favourites. Joining the ensemble cast this season is Enuka Okuma (Impulse, Caught, Rookie Blue) as razor-sharp publishing executive Sloane Mitchell.
Earlier this month, Catherine Reitman was recognized by the Alliance for Women in Media with two Gracie Awards for WORKIN’ MOMS —one for Best Lead Actress, Comedy and one for Best Direction, Comedy. The Gracies® are named after media pioneer Gracie Allen, who embodied the character of the awards, and recognize exemplary programming created by, for and about women in radio, television, and interactive media.
WORKIN’ MOMS is executive produced by Catherine Reitman, Philip Sternberg and Jonathan A. Walker. Directors for the season are Mars Horodyski (Murdoch Mysteries, This Hour Has 22 Minutes) and Aleysa Young (New Eden, Baroness von Sketch Show). The series is written by Reitman, Jessie Gabe (Frankie Drake Mysteries, Mr. D) who is also co-executive producer this season, Karen Moore (Mary Kills People, Detention Adventure) who serves as supervising producer, Daniel Gold (Workin’ Moms) and Linsey Stewart (Mr. D, The Commute). Associate producers are Karyn Nolan (Workin’ Moms, The Stork Derby) and Lisa Benedetto (Workin’ Moms). Series cinematography by Ben Lichty (TallBoyz), production design by Danielle Sahota (Workin’ Moms, TallBoyz) and costume design by Sheila Fitzpatrick (Workin’ Moms, The Padre). For CBC, Sally Catto is General Manager, Entertainment, Factual & Sports; Trish Williams is Executive Director, Scripted Content; Michelle Daly is Senior Director, Comedy, Scripted Content; and Sandra Picheca is Executive in Charge of Production.
A CBC original series, WORKIN’ MOMS is produced by Wolf + Rabbit Entertainment with the financial participation of the Canada Media Fund. The series is distributed internationally by Coldsprings Media LLC and represented by Executive Producer Tina Horwitz and her company Vanguarde Artists Management. Nominated for multiple Canadian Screen Awards and two International Emmy® Awards, the series airs in Canada on CBC and CBC Gem, and streams worldwide as a Netflix Original.
When we last left Workin’ Moms, Kate (Catherine Reitman) was on the cusp of making a major decision. Would she choose to forgive Nathan (Philip Sternberg) for his extra-marital transgressions in favour of keeping her family together, or would she choose a relationship with Mike (Victor Webster)?
We find out what Kate’s decision is within moments of Season 4’s return on Tuesday at 9:30 p.m. on CBC. And, suffice it to say, her pick makes waves. But Kate isn’t the only one who has made dramatic choices. In Tuesday’s return, “Charade,” we catch up with Anne (Dani Kind), who is doubling down on her parenting skills from Season 3, which saw her being overprotective of her daughter, Alice (Sadie Munroe), much to the chagrin of Anne’s husband, Lionel (Ryan Belleville).
We caught up with Dani Kind ahead of Workin’ Moms’ return to get her take on Season 4 and Anne’s parenting skills.
Congratulations on Season 4. When you signed on for the first season, did you ever think that there’d be a fourth?
Dani Kind: No. Just looking at old pictures of how young my kids were when the show started, and I was like, ‘Where the hell did the last few years go?’ It’s so insane. It’s amazing that anything in this industry ever gets made because it’s all so hard to make anything. But on top of it, I was thinking about us all being moms of way younger kids and I was just like, ‘How the fuck did we even show up in the morning?’
Last season Anne was very protective of Alice, jumping out of the bushes, taking her phone, etc. What was it like playing that character in the last season? Anne has evolved and we’re seeing a side of her that maybe makes some people feel a little bit uncomfortable.
DK: Totally, totally. And I don’t think she would generally be an over-protective helicopter parent, but I think because of what she was dealing with, post going through that situation with Brad, and I think that she went a little manic. The pendulum swung the other way to fiercely, fiercely protect her daughter because she was processing all of those feelings. So psychologically I was like, ‘Yes, absolutely.’ But then playing it was just the greatest thing in the world and Sadie Munroe, who plays Alice is, her and Ryan are … I couldn’t have ever asked for a better TV family then than those two. And they’re the easiest people on the planet to act with. And so when Catherine was like, ‘OK, and so now you’re going to do this fighting scene and teach her how to punch people on the dick.’ Sadie and I were both … I say it all the time, but it is like summer camp. Every time we get to do stuff like that and Ryan and Sadie are the greatest people to act with.
In Tuesday’s return, Anne is attempting to shop a book around about parenting. She still has this very strict regimen with Alice. As a parent, how do you feel about the way that Anne is parenting? Can you relate to any of this?
DK: No, I mean I don’t parent that way. I can definitely sympathize with what she’s going through because my kids aren’t teenagers yet. I’ve seen my sister go through it and I know what kind of teenager I was. And as a parent, I can sympathize with any parents just being like, ‘I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m trying my best.’ And I think that’s all Anne’s doing. She’s not maybe doing the best thing, but she’s trying her absolute best and she’s Anne so she goes 110 per cent at everything.
You already mentioned Sadie. What’s it been like working with her over the years? I mean you literally have been watching her grow up in front of your eyes over these past four seasons.
DK: I feel really lucky to work with her because of the actress she is. But also their real-life family, her parents are so incredible and she has two brothers and one of her brothers is also an actor and the way her family operates and the way that they’ve embraced me in their life and they let me spend time with her outside of set before we choose, we have lunch and stuff and they’ve just been really open arms about the whole experience.
I’m just in awe of her parents coming to set every day and the way that they treat her and it really reflects for what kind of actress she’s becoming. Watching her grow up on set has been a real honour to watch and I’m trying to watch carefully so that I can steal things to parent my boys. And that face she has is so innocent. Wait until you see her this season. She needs her own show. I’ve said it a hundred times, but she should just have her own show.
What’s going on with Anne’s journey this season? What can you say?
DK: What can I say? I mean, she has a new look this season. I wish I could talk more about where the look comes from or why she’s doing it, but she’s on her own journey with this book and she’s trying to develop this book and she has this great storyline. But then I think the storyline of her and Kate always trumps all of it. So I don’t know how much more I can say about that, but there are some struggles again this season that they have to work through together. Her and Kate.
In Season 1 of Workin’ Moms, viewers were immediately plunged into the lives of four women juggling motherhood with jobs and responsibilities. What is was like getting and being pregnant was discussed, but not a focal point of the show. It was about life after baby (or babies) had arrived.
That’s changed in Season 3 with the arrival of Bianca. Played by Tennille Read, we’re getting a crash-course in the emotions and doubts that go along with deciding to get pregnant. And, of course, we’re shown the support system Frankie (Juno Rinaldi) can supply.
“It’s a great take on motherhood and starting from the very beginning,” Read says during a recent phone chat. “The fears, the anxiety, the uncertainties, especially showing it through the eyes of a single woman. Bianca is flying solo; she isn’t partnered with anyone and she’s deciding to start a family. I think that is unique to the show and hasn’t really been explored before.” Read teases viewers will see a new side to Frankie as well, because she’s in a place of more stability and can help. (Though, it must be said, Juniper did throw a curve ball at Frankie last week.)
Read, a graduate of the George Brown Theatre School, never expected a lone Season 2 appearance would be expanded. When it was hinted Bianca might become a recurring character, she assumed that meant two more episodes. Instead, it became eight, and the opportunity not just to show growth for Frankie, but all of the main characters.
“The ‘typical sitcom’ highlights those characteristics in the character that makes them unique but doesn’t necessarily develop them and allow them to grow and become something bigger and better,” Read says. “Workin’ Moms does allow for the characters to grow.” She’s right. We’ve seen that for everyone, from Anne (Dani Kind) being over-protective of Alice (Sadie Munroe) to Kate’s (Catherine Reitman) getting into bed figuratively with a men’s group and literally with Nathan (Philip Sternberg).
And though she was a new face to the cast—Read worked with many of the crew on prior projects—she felt welcome right from the start.
“I met Dani Kind in the makeup trailer and we had a 10- to 15-minute conversation because she’s so open and lovely,” Read says. “She wanted to know more about me because we haven’t had that interaction before. It made for an easier transition for me to go from being the new kid on the block to having more investment in the show.”
Workin’ Moms airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on CBC and CBC Gem.
Head shot image courtesy of Dane Clark. Workin’ Moms image courtesy of CBC.