ABC Family changing name to Freeform in January

Jeff Pfeiffer

It makes sense that ABC Family is changing its name to the more general name Freeform starting in January 2016, as the network has tended to veer away from what some may consider to be “family” programming for a while now (one of the only holdovers from the channel’s earliest incarnation as an arm of Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network is The 700 Club, which still airs in the wee hours on ABC Family).

freeform

ABC Family president Tom Ascheim confirmed today that the rebrand builds on the channel’s existing strategy of “super serving ‘Becomers.'” I’m not sure if “Becomers” is a common term in the industry, or if it’s just something ABC Family came up with (frankly, it kind of sounds like a horror movie title — “This summer, look out for The Becomers!” — and even more horrifying is that ABC Family says this group is “69 million strong in the US.”), but ABC Family considers that to be “a life stage that spans people who are 14-34. The name, look, feel and attitude of the network will capture the nature of the Becomer audience and the modern way this audience generates and consumers media,” per the ABC Family release.

The release also says that the new network will remain committed to the original series and programming stunts that have become popular on ABC Family. Pretty Little LiarsThe FostersYoung and Hungry and Baby Daddy will all return in early 2016 for their winter premieres, alongside new original series Shadowhunters and Recovery Road. Freeform will also continue the programming trajectory announced in April, and will double the network’s original programming over the next four years.

I, for one, welcome our new Becomer overlords.