ABC Family gets a new name


The team polled cable viewers and found ABC Family fans had several positive associations with the channel, but target-demo viewers who did not watch the network were put off by the name. In particular, the word “Family,” which they associated with “family friendly” and “wholesome,” Ascheim said.

“That’s the nub of why we’re changing our name,” Ascheim said. “Like any growing business, we want to keep our core customers satisfied, but also add new ones – and they had a cliched sense of who we are. The word ‘Family’ sounds overly loud to their ears and that makes it a barrier to them coming into our ecosystem.”

All your trashy tween dramas will be on Freeform!

Huh. As I recall, the “family” moniker was a contractual requirement from when they purchased the channel from, I want to say, Pat Robertson?

So, either thats expired or they’re breaching it I guess.

“Family” hasn’t fit that channel for a while, but I suppose “ABC Cultural Pollution” wasn’t snappy enough.

I remember in an earlier incarnation, where they showed Freaks and Geeks reruns on the Fox Family channel. It was borderline inappropriate since it depicted families that weren’t unanimously happy and saccharine. And before that, wasn’t it just the plain Family Channel, which was tied to human midden Pat Robertson?

Correct. It was started as Pat Robertson’s CBN Satellite part of his Christian Broadcasting Network in '77. It was changed to CBN Cable in '81. It was then rebranded to CBN Family in '88 and finally, the Family Channel in '90.

In 1997, Murdoch bought it and changed it to Fox Family. A couple of the major stipulations of the sale included the fact that the 700 Club had to be aired twice a day and that “family” had to part of the name. When Disney/ABC bought it from Fox, the deal with the naming was still enforced, although 700 Club airings could be reduced to once per weekday.

The naming part of the contract is apparently ending with the year. ABC has been fairly open about the fact that the “family” in the name costs them some viewers.

Yea, the term Family only fits programming on that channel if you add dysfunctional before it.