James "Jimmy" Chance is a clueless 24-year-old who impregnates a serial killer during a one-night-stand. Earning custody of his daughter after the mother is sentenced to death and electrocuted, Jimmy relies on his eccentric but well-intentioned family for support in raising the child.
Lucas Neff as James "Jimmy" Chance, Hope's father. He is a 24-year-old who is clueless about raising a child and everything else. Before having Hope, he met and had a one night stand with Lucy Carlyle, resulting in her pregnancy and the birth of Hope. He did not know about Hope until seven months later when Lucy contacted him. He also did not know that Lucy was a serial killer until the morning after their one night stand. Jimmy is harmless and kindhearted. When he was a teenager he went through a phase where he dressed like a goth. Jimmy is a fan of The Lord of the Rings and often does an impression of Gollum, which his family finds irritating. In the third season, he and Sabrina get married.
Martha Plimpton as Virginia Chance. Hope's grandmother, Jimmy's mother, and Burt's wife. Virginia conceived Jimmy when she was fifteen (he was born on prom night). Her mother wanted to be a swinger and left her when she was two years old, leaving her to be raised by her grandmother, Maw Maw, who told Virginia that her mother had died when she'd fallen and accidentally hit her head on a duck lawn ornament. Virginia works as a housecleaner.
Kelly Heyer as teenage Virginia.
Garret Dillahunt as Burt Chance. Hope's grandfather, Jimmy's father, and Virginia's husband. Burt conceived Jimmy with Virginia when he was seventeen. He has a lawn care/pool cleaning business with Jimmy as his assistant.
Cameron Moulene and Corey Eid as teenage Burt.
Shannon Woodward as Sabrina Collins. She works at the nearby grocery market despite coming from a rich family. She spends most of her time drawing on cantaloupes and mixing up the cereals and soup cans. In the first season, she immediately catches Jimmy's attention, but has a boyfriend who is studying finance in New York. In the second season, she and Jimmy grow from close friends to a relationship. In the third season, she and Jimmy get married. She is extremely nearsighted but usually wears contact lenses.
Sasha May as 6-year-old Sabrina.
Baylie and Rylie Cregut as Hope Chance (born Princess Beyonce Carlyle), Jimmy and Lucy's daughter, Virginia and Burt's granddaughter and Maw Maw's great-great-granddaughter. Hope was conceived in Jimmy's van when he went out to get bubblegum ice cream and met a distressed Lucy Carlyle with whom he had a one night stand. Hope is shown to be very intelligent, which she gets from her mother, as she was able to do the shape sorter when she was two while Jimmy wasn't able to do it even when he was four and pass a GED test by randomly filling in the dots. At one point she scared her family by showing violent tendencies which made them think she was going to become a serial killer like Lucy but they realized Lucy was a serial killer because she suppressed her anger and let it out drastically by killing and if they let Hope release her anger normally she'd be just fine.
Molly Morgen Lamont as 13-year-old Hope.
Gregg Binkley as Barney Hughes (Recurring season 1, starring season 2-4), the manager at the store where Jimmy and Sabrina work. He used to be overweight but had gastric bypass surgery. Barney also has a large collection of dolls within his home.
Cloris Leachman as Barbara June "Maw Maw" Thompson (Recurring season 1, starring season 2-4), Virginia's 84-year-old grandmother, Jimmy's great-grandmother, and Hope's great-great-grandmother, who owns the house where the Chances all live. Maw Maw appears to have dementia, and has only short-lived moments of lucidity in which she can be very helpful or very angry about the entire family living in her house. Her moments of lucidity are random, and each member of the household has revolving "dibs" on a task they would like her to accomplish during these times. A "Special Guest Star" in the first season, in subsequent seasons her billing read, "And Introducing Cloris Leachman as Maw Maw," joking about Leachman's decades-long career in comedy. Leachman also played the character of Norma June, Maw Maw's 104-year-old mother, in the third-season finale, "Mother's Day."
Actress Olesya Rulin was originally cast as Sabrina, the love interest for Jimmy, and Kate Micucci was added to the cast as Jimmy's cousin. The pilot was filmed in December 2009. In March 2010, Fox decided to recast two roles from the pilot. Shannon Woodward replaced Rulin as Sabrina, Jimmy's love interest. Also recast was the role of Jimmy's cousin, changing from Micucci to male actor Skyler Stone as Mike. With this, Micucci's role changed from Jimmy's cousin to become Shelley, the cousin of his love interest Sabrina.
Fox green-lit the pilot to series with an order in mid-May 2010 for a fall premiere in its 2010–11 television schedule.
On January 10, 2011, Fox renewed Raising Hope for a second season. On April 9, 2012, Raising Hope was renewed for a third season. On March 4, 2013, Raising Hope was renewed for a fourth season.
On March 10, 2014, Fox announced the cancellation of the show after four seasons.
Raising Hope has received positive reviews from critics. The show's first season received an average score of 75 out of 100 on Metacritic, meaning it received "generally favorable reviews." Metacritic also reports that 78% of its users gave the show's first season favorable reviews as well.
Tom Gilatto of People Weekly called the show the best new sitcom of the season, favorably comparing it to Malcolm in the Middle. Mary McNamara of the Los Angeles Times was lukewarm towards the show, stating that "Raising Hope is funny, sweet, occasionally provocative, and occasionally over-the-top in a regrettable way." James Poniewozik of Time Magazine was upbeat, stating that "Neff is amiably charming, Dillahunt and Plimpton give their characters a realism that belies the pilot's often-contemptuous jokes, and maybe 20% of the first episode shows a sweet-heartedness that rises above the easy white-trash humor." While not all of the reviews were positive, they were mostly positive by the end of the first season. Much of the show's praise went to the performances of Martha Plimpton and Garret Dillahunt.
The second season of Raising Hope premiered on September 20, 2011 on Fox, moving to 9:30pm from its original 8:00pm time slot, due to the acquisition of New Girl. The second season received similar positive reviews to the first, with Matt Roush of TV Guide calling it "A treat for anyone who loves a good call-back to classic sitcoms."
The show is rated PG for Parental Guidance in Australia and PG in New Zealand for coarse language and sexual references.
In Canada, the first season aired on the Global Television Network at the same time as Fox in the United States. In 2011, City bought rights from the Global Television Network, and began broadcasting the show. On the morning show that City airs, Breakfast Television, they announced on May 29, 2011 that the series will start airing at 8:00 pm on Tuesdays instead of 9:30pm on Tuesdays due to other Fox series Glee moving to Thursdays at 9:00pm. This started on September 18, 2012.
In Bulgaria, the first season aired on Sub on November 27, 2012. The Bulgarian title is Да отгледаш Хоуп (Raising Hope).
In Finland, the first season aired on Sub on January 10, 2013. The Finnish title is Isän Tyttö (Dad's Girl).