ABC Family Changing Name to Freeform — Do You Love It or Hate It?

One of TV’s most recognizable families is undergoing a name change.

ABC Family will become Freeform starting in 2016, network president Tom Ascheim announced on Tuesday.

The network added that it will double its amount of “original programing over the next four years. New series pick-ups and series returns will also be announced” later in October.

Despite the moniker swap, the network’s current lineup — including Pretty Little Liars, The Fosters, Young and Hungry and Baby Daddy “will all return in early 2016 for their winter premieres alongside the world premieres of new original series Shadowhunters and Recovery Road,” the network added.

“Freeform evokes the spirit and adventure of our audience,” said Ascheim, in a release. “Freeform will deliver new, exciting original content as well as all the favorite shows our viewers already love on ABC Family.”

The rebranding, Ascheim told TV Insider, was prompted by research that found people unfamiliar with the network considered it more “family-friendly” and “wholesome” than other attributes. The name was chosen after being tested with a focus group of 1,200 viewers, he added.

The network’s release also noted that the “Freeform” name “builds on ABC Family’s existing strategy of super serving ‘Becomers’ – a life stage that spans people who are 14-34” — who are “navigating the wonderful, fun, exciting, and scary time in life when you experience the most firsts – first car, first apartment, first job, first love, first heartbreak – all the firsts that exists between who they are and who they want to become.”

The news was accompanied by a video (embedded above) that streamed on social-media platforms for the network’s hit series, such as Pretty Little Liars and The Fosters.

What do you think of ABC Family becoming Freeform? Does the name speak to your inner Becomer? Sound off below!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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379 Comments
  1. Shaun says:

    terrible,prepare for yoga freeform!

  2. I don’t like it. I don’t even understand it.

  3. teeveenerd says:

    WTF

  4. smartysenior says:

    Perfect since they don’t do family shows, the name has been a joke. Now they can do all the sexy teen stuff they do anyway without false advertising.

  5. Lesley says:

    hate it.

    • SO says:

      Me too. Why do they think they have to change it anyway? If they think people are going to watch more due to the attention it will get, they are mistaken. People like what they like, period!

    • Sabrina says:

      I hate that companies think they have to revolve around society to keep their reputation. They’re millions of people that grew up watching Abc Family and are use to that name. They change their tv shows and their movies.

  6. Grace says:

    I don’t watch ABC Family, but I think changing the name is a stupid idea.

  7. Wordsmith says:

    They needed a new name to match their programming, which is clearly not “family” oriented, but “Freeform” feels unfortunately bland and vague.

  8. Dawn says:

    As long as they don’t change their Harry Potter marathon weekends, then I don’t care what they call it! LOL

  9. Mr. Tran K says:

    Hate it 100% and a weird network name.

  10. Awful name.I was hoping the announcement today was Fosters,Switched renewed

  11. Jennifer says:

    I’ve always loved the idea of a network with Family in the title airing a show like the Fosters. It’s been one step in debunking the conservative notion of family values and that LGBT stories aren’t appropriate family viewing. Now, it feels like they’re trying to distance themselves from that and it’s a shame. Very disappointing.

  12. Billiam says:

    How are they able to do this? I thought they legally couldn’t take family out of their name because of the contract they signed when they bought the channel from Pat Robertson in the late 90s? Or that is what they’ve been saying all these years about their current reasoning for the name.

    • Emor says:

      My understanding is this…They can change the name and they can finally free themselves from the hate monger Pat Robertson, BUT what it means is that they have to sign ALL NEW carriage agreements with all the cable companies. But what i’ve read is that they made a deal with the devil so he keeps his show and they can rename the network and no new carriage agrements are needed.

      • NJMark says:

        Hatemonger?

        • Some crazy Pat quotes for you:
          The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.
          The Islamic people, the Arabs, were the ones who captured Africans, put them in slavery, and sent them to America as slaves. Why would the people in America want to embrace the religion of slavers.
          You’ve got a couple of same-sex guys kissing, do you “like” that? Well, that makes me want to throw up. To me, I would punch “vomit” not “like”, but they don’t give you that option on Facebook.
          Presbyterians are the spirit of the Antichrist.

          • Lucifer says:

            Pat is a lunatic, but feminism is basically a hate group. Don’t bother giving me the definition, I judge political and social movements on it’s actions.

          • Jules says:

            Last I heard this was still America and each of us is still entitled to his or her beliefs and opinions, even Pat Robinson.

          • mkmfrommnandwi says:

            what the…TigerNightmare what does your comment have to do with whether you like FreeForm or not. You are NOT even on the same topic as the others. Are you OK?

    • Mark says:

      I had the same question. I recall reading an article shortly after ABC bought the channel that talked about how they had planned on renaming the channel to “XYZ” but couldn’t because the purchase contract said “Family” had to be in the name.

  13. It depends if it stays family friendly or goes not so friendly for families.

  14. Sarah_ says:

    If there are changing there shows and putting more non-family tv shows it makes sense to change the name..but freeform is kinda of a weird choice.

  15. We should hear something soon about Switched,Fosters renewals/cancellations right?Fosters might wait a bit til some of 3b air but if Switched is supposed to return in Jan,they have to know soon.

  16. Brian says:

    Terrible name.

  17. Ari says:

    How are they getting away with this? I thought the ownership agreements when they bought from Fox Family (and previously the Family Channel) required “Family” always be a part of the name? I remember Disney was pissed when they realized that because it was going to be branded XYZ at the time.

  18. CMG says:

    Dumb name. That’s not the story.

    The real story here is that, according to all reputable sources, the network was bound by a covenant put in place by CBN that stated that “Family” must exist in the station name for perpetuity, no matter how many hands the station passed through. (The story goes that ABC, when they originally purchased the network, intended to rename it to “The XYZ.” Due to poor research prior to purchase, they discovered *after* they bought the network from FOX about the covenant, and thus were forced to keep the ABC Family name.)

    The covenant also reportedly ensured that The 700 Club would also be provided airtime on the network for perpetuity. One wonders if they’ll finally drop that program in conjunction with this move.

    • Michelle says:

      Which then makes me wonder how they are able to change the name now. And I read they went through something like 3000 names before they picked Freeform. How atrocious were the other 2999?

      • TVHawk says:

        They wanted it to be abcalodeon but apparently there is some other channel out there with a similar name and programming.

  19. Eh. For me, this is basically Evian changing their name to O-Water or Spring Drink or Unflavored Flavor. Don’t use it so I don’t care what they call it. The one and only ABC Family show I cared about was The Middle Man and that show is tragically long gone.

  20. iHeart says:

    does this mean they’re going to drop 700 club?

  21. Magali says:

    I understand the need to change the name because they simply don’t do many family oriented shows anymore but Freeform is a weird choice.

  22. Rob says:

    This video reminded me of the pitch that Judy Greer’s character in 13 Going on 30 gave at the end of the movie to change Poise Magazine into heroine chic. That’s not a good thing.

  23. Wendy says:

    Sounds like a feminine hygiene product. What a stupid and awful name.

  24. LilAngel says:

    I’m in their targeted demo (apparently) but I don’t get the new name…

  25. Mike B. says:

    good choice to get rid of the “family”, but otherwise… even “syfy” makes more sense than freeform… and putting a hashtag in front of it doesn’t make it seem any cooler… I hope they at least opt for “FF” as a shortform on the screen… freeform sounds like wrestling if anything

  26. Angel says:

    I understand a change, but that is bad. I struggle to believe that Disney, with all its money and resources, couldn’t come up with anything better. They will have to spend a mint on marketing, just so people understand.

  27. Rn says:

    Awful. Even ABC Selfie or ABC You or ABC U would be better…

  28. Babybop says:

    As long as they keep their comedies, I suppose I don’t really care. I’m just afraid their rebranding may lead to them cutting their cute sitcoms (Young and Hungry, Baby Daddy, Kevin at Work) and increasing the amount of “reality” shows they have (Monica the Medium, whatever that weird job one is called).

  29. Are they finally dropping the god awful Pat Robertson programming? (see what I did there) Because if so, I’m all for it.

  30. Maybe they’re gonna show us some kuh-rayzee jazz.

  31. rehabber says:

    I don’t go to a channel because of its name, as long as they have shows I want to watch, I don’t care what they call themselves.

  32. Tess says:

    Try “FreeFall”…as in ratings.

    • Anna says:

      They’re doing fine with ratings right not, and it would be pretty freaking stupid for someone to stop watching a network because of a silly name change.

  33. robandco says:

    I get that they need a name change, but to quote Lily Aldrin from HIMYM: What the damn hell? This is not a name for a TV channel. That’s just bad. Very bad. At least they have some good programming.

  34. Ray says:

    Testing 1, 2…posts not showing up again?

  35. Bob Backus says:

    ” “builds on ABC Family’s existing strategy of super serving ‘Becomers’ ” Please do tell, I’m anxiously awaiting, what network doesn’t do that? You can barely find a show on TV that doesn’t appeal to the “becomers’. Why? Easy, because they haven’t been watching TV for decades and won’t call you on repeating story lines from 20, 30 or so years ago. That way you can actually say “Last Man Standing” is “original” (because you haven’t seen it done in the 80’s on fledgling FOX) or the Grinder as “original” because you haven’t seen the other shows where someone pretends successfully to be a lawyer. PS the name isn’t dumb etc it’s just plain silly, but it is time they change it since the network’s been FOXFamily, CBSfamily or whatever, the name’s changed several times.

  36. valerie@golfgroupltd.com says:

    Just “ABC Free” would be better.

  37. Amanda says:

    I understand the reasoning behind the name change and even how they explain it – makes sense. But the name itself is awful – it doesn’t sound like a TV Channel – its awkward.

  38. Barbara says:

    I don’t get it. It is so not a network name. The network that really needs re-branding is A&E – they haven’t been Arts & Entertainment for ages.

    • lrdslvrhnd says:

      American Movie Classics was, at one point, airing current British TV shows. And also Catwoman & Predator 2.
      .
      MTV hasn’t been about Music Television in *years*.
      .
      SciFi rebranded itself when they realized there was more wrestling and reality crap than science fiction, and Syfy is almost as stupid a name as Freeform.
      .
      Independent Film Channel keeps showing blockbuster studio films – they had a few Star Treks last weekend.

  39. Ashley says:

    I like the style of the video but Idk about the name. Leaning towards hate it, but chose the option to ask me again later.

  40. N says:

    Might as well be the new ‘UP’ channel

  41. What’s wrong with “family oriented”. That’s why I watch it.

  42. Ed Del Pilar Soto, Sergeant Major Army, Retired says:

    What happened? Does the word “family” offends the liberal weenies?

    • Eran says:

      Not as much as bad English does.

    • Angela says:

      Er…liberals don’t have a problem with the word “family”, actually. But whatever.
      Anywho, not wild about this name change-it seems kind of vague.

    • Amanda says:

      No it was some of the programming that offended people. The Becoming Us or whatever that reality show was called about the transgendered family offended some because they didn’t want it on a “Family” channel and that’s when the buzz started that they were thinking of taking the “Family” out of the name…..

    • Heh says:

      Your mom needs you out of the basement to change your sheets.

    • mkmfrommnandwi says:

      Ed Del Pllar Soto, Sergeant Major Army Thank You for your service and I agree with your question does the word “family” offend the liberals

  43. Andrew says:

    I’ve never watched this channel, but this is even worse than Sci-Fi switching to SyFy several years ago.

    They should keep ABC in the name, but add something next to it. Freeform just sounds too long for a network name.

  44. Bring back "The Lying Game" says:

    I have found the resent newly created promos for existing shows to be hilarious – showing the cast members pretending NOT to pose in unnatural ways all the while exuding an image of “I don’t care” and “I like to do stupid things at the spur of the moment” while taking a selfie.

    Unfortunately, the new promo for Freeform continues down this path of self-absorption.

  45. Eric says:

    Why not ABC Adult. That would get them more viewers.

  46. Jared says:

    That new name is HORRIBLE. Free form sounds like a brand of orthopedic shoe..lol

  47. BillyJoe RayBob says:

    It they can drop that awful 700 Club then by all means change the name! Unfortunately, I think that gospel drivel is staying…

  48. Poodleshark says:

    “Freeform” sounds to close like “Freefall”. Perhaps a bit of foreshadowing .

    • Lerbert says:

      That made me laugh! I thought it sounded like one of those play spaces where you pay to do art projects with your kids.

  49. dacaria says:

    I hate the new name, but then again much of ABC Family’s shows haven’t been family oriented in forever anyway, so what one more change?

  50. dacaria says:

    I hate the new name, but then again much of ABC Family’s shows haven’t been family oriented in forever anyway, so what’s one more change?