EXCLUSIVE: Maddie and Bill’s precautious daughter will look a little different in the upcoming third season of Sweet Magnolias. Ella Grace Helton (Chosen Family) has joined the popular Netflix family drama, whose third season premieres July 20, in a recasting.
Helton will take over the role of Katie Townsend, daughter of divorced parents Maddie Townsend (Joanna Garcia Swisher) and Bill Townsend (Chris Klein). Helton replaces Bianca Berry Tarantino, who had to exit ahead of the third season due to scheduling conflicts. The role of Katie has been recurring; Tarantino will next be seen in the Apple TV+ limited series Lady In the Lake.
Based on Sherryl Woods’ popular series of novels, Sweet Magnolias follows lifelong best friends Maddie (Garcia Swisher), Dana Sue (Brooke Elliott) and Helen (Heather Headley) as they juggle relationships, family and careers in the charming small town of Serenity, SC.
Like her siblings Ty and Kyle, Katie had been struggling with her parents’ divorce in the first two seasons. Season 2 ended with several cliffhangers. Ronnie and Dana Sue reunited, but mystery-woman Kathy might mean trouble for Dana Sue in the upcoming season. The season also ended with the death of Miss Frances (Cindy Karr) and Maddie, with Helen and Dana Sue in mourning over her passing.
Helton made her acting debut at the age of 6 in the role of Emily Ryan in ABC/Sony TV’s sitcom United We Fall. The same year, she made her feature film debut opposite Adam Sandler in Hubie Halloween, Netflix’s most streamed film of 2020 in the U.S. She can next be seen starring opposite Heather Graham and John Brotherton in the recently wrapped romantic dramedy Chosen Family. Helton is repped by Schuller Talent, East Coast Talent Agency and Paradigm Talent Agency.