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United States

Launch date

January 12, 2016


Burbank, California

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In a December 3, 2014 article in Variety, reports suggested that ABC Family executives were proposing a reboot of the network that would occur in 2015 at the earliest, which included a renaming of the channel, a redesigned graphics package (replacing the one in use since 2006), or an expansion of programming that appeals more toward a millennials-skewing audience – as opposed to families or teenagers – among the options.[1] During the channel's 2015–16 upfront presentation on April 14, 2015, ABC Family executives announced that it would establish a focus on teenagers and young adults between the ages of 14 and 34 – a group representatives termed "becomers", instead of the standard "millennials".[2]

On October 6, 2015, Disney–ABC Television Group announced that ABC Family would change its name to Freeform on January 1, 2016, with the rebrand – which kicked off with an extensive branding campaign launched on that date of the announcement and will encompass the network's popular "13 Nights of Halloween" and "25 Days of Christmas" blocks – coinciding with the winter premieres of the network's new and existing original series. Public assumption was that such a name change would be negotiably impossible due to an alleged stipulation enforced by CBN in sale agreements since the initial acquisition by International Family Entertainment that the channel contain the word "Family" in the name permanently, regardless as to who owns the network (as proven by the failed relaunch as XYZ); in the name change announcement, network president Tom Ascheim never made reference to the "Family" brand clause supposedly contained within the sale agreement, leaving it unclear as to whether or not the clause actually existed.[3]

The name change – which was chosen among 3,000 proposals, with some initial consideration of retaining the "ABC" name – was necessitated due to audience testing sampling regular viewers of the channel and those who watched ABC Family on an infrequent basis, which revealed that although regular viewers understood the network's youth-skewing concept, non-viewers perceived the channel as being more family-oriented. The channel plans to double the amount of original programming on its schedule through 2020; however, despite firmly focusing on its specified target audience, Freeform will also continue to carry much of the existing programming under the ABC Family brand including family-oriented series and feature films, the 25 Days of Christmas and 13 Days of Halloween blocks, and its weekday airings of The 700 Club.


  1. Brian Steinberg. "Disney’s ABC Family Cable Network Mulling Reboot". Penske Media Corporation, December 3, 2014. Revised, January 18, 2015.
  2. Lesley Goldbery. "ABC Family Plots Big Scripted Music Push as Focus Shifts to "Becomers"" . Prometheus Global Media, April 14, 2015. Revised, October 6, 2015.
  3. Lesley Goldberg. "ABC Family Changing Its Name to Freeform". Prometheus Global Media, October 6, 2015.