ABC Family Has A New Name, I Think I Hate It

There aren’t a lot of place on TV where family programming reigns supreme. Sure there are some programs across network and cable TV that families as a whole can enjoy, but oftentimes there is kids programming and there is adult programming and very little in between. ABC Family has always marketed the in-between space, but now it looks as if the network is completely rebranding. Starting in January of 2016, ABC Family will become Freeform.

That’s right, the network is rebranding to call itself Freeform, a new hip network that is “breaking free” from the old moniker. While ABC Family’s audience has frequently skewed to a teen demographic thanks to shows like Pretty Little Liars, Switched at Birth and the recently cancelled Chasing Life, it’s also been known as the family friendly channel, with tamer fare than primetime network TV. Now, it looks as if Freeform will be teen, teen, teen focused all the time.

I know this because the network released a brand new video celebrating the new name of the network:

I also know this because THR talked to the network president, Tom Ascheim, and ascertained that the name will hopefully appeal more to those in the 14-34 demographic (hey millennials). He calls the brand change “an evolution.” No families needed.

Look, it can be extremely tough to put together a new brand name and cater to a different demographic. USA is trying it right now with no name change and has seen various results. Clearly, ABC Family didn’t like the direction it was heading or wanted to try something new, which is why shows with older protagonists like Melissa & Joey have quietly faded out on the network to make room for programs executive produced by Jennifer Lopez or with bold premises like Stitchers. But really, ABC seems as if it would be a better network to associate with than some random name like Freeform—what does it even mean?--and honestly I have about as visceral of a dislike for the name as I had when I heard The Walking Dead spinoff would literally be called Fear The Walking Dead. It takes talent to be this uncreative.

It’s clear that I’m not a fan of the name Freeform, but presumably, ABC Family is hoping to bring fresh new viewership to the network with the name change, and maybe it’s not as silly as it sounds when I repeat it in my head.

Alright ABC Family fans! What do you think about the name Freeform? Will you remember to tune in for Pretty Little Liars once the name changes?

This poll is no longer available.

Jessica Rawden
Managing Editor

Jessica Rawden is Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. She’s been kicking out news stories since 2007 and joined the full-time staff in 2014. She oversees news content, hiring and training for the site, and her areas of expertise include theme parks, rom-coms, Hallmark (particularly Christmas movie season), reality TV, celebrity interviews and primetime. She loves a good animated movie. Jessica has a Masters in Library Science degree from Indiana University, and used to be found behind a reference desk most definitely not shushing people. She now uses those skills in researching and tracking down information in very different ways.