ABC Family Boss on Freeform Name: 'Wholesome' Perception Didn't 'Truly' Represent Us (Watch Video)

When ABC Family becomes Freeform on Jan. 12, rest assured that your favorite shows will still be DVR’d accordingly — and you won’t have to do a thing.

“DVRs are smarter than [humans] are, and they will find their way to the right show,” network president Tom Ascheim assured reporters Saturday at the Television Critics Association winter press tour in Pasadena. “They will find Pretty Little Liars and Shadowhunters independent of a channel [name]. Fear not.”

As previously reported, the network’s new moniker “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,” Ascheim said, “all the firsts that exists between who they are and who they want to become.”

Recounting the impetus for the name change, Ascheim said that while ABC Family indexes extremely well among those who watch it, those who do not tune into the channel are very likely dissuaded by perceptions. “We’re delighted to be [perceived as] family friendly and wholesome,” he said, “but that’s not truly representative of who we are.”

Freeform as a possible name famously “kicked booty” in focus groups, though Ascheim told TVLine that those polled were more asked about it as a name for a TV network, and not necessarily as a replacement for ABC Family. “We didn’t want to prejudice [focus groups] by asking, ‘Is this a good name for ABC Family?'”

Freeform also released a minute-long promo for the new brand. Watch it above, then hit the comments with your lingering thoughts on the switch-up.

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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27 Comments
  1. shaun says:

    Not a good name either way,lol

  2. Mike says:

    Reportedly they chose this name out of 1200 entires. What were the other 1,999. I still think its a stupid name.

  3. Brandon says:

    The name still totally sucks. I’ve only heard negative things in the media, online, and among people in person. Surely there was a better option!

    • James says:

      Given how other recent rebrands fared, from Style Network to Esquire (granted Esquire is a preexisting brand), Biography to FYI, and TV Guide Network to Pop, I’m pretty sure people will get over it it.

  4. Jewels says:

    Who cares about a name if the programming is good?

    • johnhelvete says:

      I agree for the most part. It is not like the ABC Family brand was CBS, Netflix or HBO. I would not ask my co workers did you watch the new ABC Family show, and now I would be embarrassed to ask my co workers did you see the new Freefrom show.

    • John NYC says:

      True. I give shows a try when the cast is appealing and or the storyline sounds promising. I pretty much never consider (or remember once my TiVo is programmed) what show is on what network.

  5. Amelia says:

    I seriously dislike the new name.

  6. AnnieM says:

    They look like they cloned the CW, circa 2005. ::shrug:: I don’t think the name ABC Freeform is so bad. It’s not great, either, but still better than some: I.e.: Spike, Cloo, SyFy…I HATE cutsie-poo spelling. :-P

    • Jennae says:

      The Syfy at least served a purpose. There’s a million people talking about Sci-Fi on the internet, but a lot of that is books and movies and genre talk. It used to be very difficult to filter out relevant network information from all the chatter. The new name is annoyingly spelled, sure, but it made finding information about what exactly was going on with the Battlestar universe so much easier that I never cared in the slightest.

  7. Pamela says:

    The new name is weird but I agree that some of the content of their shows didn’t belong with the ABC family name.

  8. Dennis says:

    I think this is perfect and I like it. There really hasn’t been a teen-oriented network since The WB ended…and that network really knew how to colorfully advertise to teens and young adults. I like FreeForm!

  9. Timothy Adams says:

    I don’t care what they do so long as they get rid of Pat Robertson.

  10. Ian says:

    FreeForm…. lol, Lol, LOL!!!!!!!

    Just how high were they when this one got the tick!!!!!

  11. Annie says:

    Somewhere I’m sure the execs at SyFy are glad there’s someone else to take their distinction as worst network name change.
    .
    And that’s just bad research not to do a focus group asking if people thought it was a good name change for ABC Family. That’s a massive correlative piece of data. Context makes a huge difference.
    .
    My god this name change is stupid. But like when they renamed the SkyDome, everyone still going to call it ABC Family.

  12. David says:

    Give it 6 months and the “family” concept will disappear and we will see such crap like ABC tries to shove down our throats on Tuesday nights at 10.

    We need a Family oriented network, like Disney intended when the Disney Family moniker started and changed to ABC Family.