ABC Family has a long and storied past starting with their origins as CBN in 1977, a Christian programming network owned by Pat Robertson. The first big change came in 1981 when CBN changed their format to include reruns of wholesome 1950s and 60s series along with the religious shows. In 1988 came the first name change to emanate the wholesome image that the channel was providing. They were now known as CBN Family Channel, but by 1990 the success of the channel pushed the profits to a point where CBN would no longer qualify as a non-profit organization and the name was again changed, this time dropping the CBN and creating The Family Channel.
In 1997 the channel would be sold to FOX Broadcasting and would be renamed to FOX Family. Still attracting an unwanted target audience of older viewers, FOX Family would add a block of cartoons to the lineup. In 1999 FOX would create a spin off of two gender bias channels known as Girlz Channel and Boyz Channel, which would be pulled a year later cause of the gender distinctions. FOX Family would make a coup by snagging Major League Baseball and adding it to the line up in the late1990s. They would alternate with their sister station FX, and in 2001 would also included the early round of playoff games. Part of FOX's deal with CBN was to air The 700 Club, a CBN staple, twice a week. But ratings would continually slide, partly with the chasing away of older viewers.
Disagreements would cause FOX to sell the channel once again on July 2001, this time to ABC. The stations name would be changed to ABC Family, the name currently known as. ABC also received the FOX Kids Network, which remained as Jetix action banner. This would later be moved to Toon Disney. ABC Family remains airing the 700 Club along with movies and 1990's sitcoms, teenage shows and a few dramas. The sale also saw MLB move to ESPN, including the playoffs. ABC Family also has holiday themed marathons which include The 13 Nights of Halloween, and The 25 Days of Christmas.
Also Known As
CBN Satellite Service (1977–1984)
CBN Cable (1984–1988)
The CBN Family Channel (1988–1990)
The Family Channel (1990–1998)
Fox Family (1998–2001