Freeform Comedy 'Asian Descent' in Works From 'Fresh off the Boat' Team

Melvin Mar and Jake Kasdan to executive produce the series from writer Cindy Fang

Since its inception in the ’70s, the network now known as Freeform has been bought and sold several times, and been re-named even more. With the exception of “The 700 Club,” the network today bears little resemblance to its earliest days.

Freeform

  • CBN Satellite Service (1977)
    The network now known as Freeform got its start in 1977 as part of televangelist Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network, airing a mix of religious programming, family-friendly syndicated TV shows and classic westerns.

    CBN Family Channel

  • “The 700 Club” (1966)
    CBN’s flagship talk show, “The 700 Club,” helped launch the network among Robertson’s followers, and continues to air to this day. Even as the network has changed ownership, “The 700 Club” has remained a constant presence, a stipulation of the channel’s sale.

    Freeform

  • 25 Days of Christmas (1996)
    In 1996, The Family Channel, as the network was then named, launched its 25 Days of Christmas programming block. Famous for its holiday-themed original movies, the tradition continues to this day.

    Fox Family

  • Fox Family Channel (1998)
    The channel sold to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation in 1998, becoming Fox Family. Programming included reruns of family-friendly series and animated kids shows like “Bobby’s World” and “Eek! The Cat.”

    Fox Family

  • “S Club 7 in Miami” (1999)
    During the Fox Family era, the channel also made a name for itself airing syndicated programming from other English-speaking countries, including “S Club 7 in Miami,” a starring vehicle for the British pop group S Club 7.

    Fox Family

  • “State of Grace” (2001)
    In the way of originally programming, one of Fox Family’s most memorable successes was the period comedy “State of Grace,” which would launch the careers of future “Arrested Development” co-stars Alia Shawkat and Mae Whitman.

    Fox Family

  • ABC Family (2001)
    In 2001, the struggling Fox Family network was sold to the Walt Disney Company for $5 billion. Disney CEO Michael Eisner was roundly criticized for the deal as the channel floundered in the ratings and Disney board members began to question its steep price tag.

    ABC Family

  • “Kyle XY” (2006)
    Eventually, ABC Family found its footing with strong original programming. In order to avoid competing with sister network the Disney Channel, ABC Family began shifting its focus to a teen audience. Early successes such as “Wildfire” and “Lincoln Heights” paved the way for sci-fi drama “Kyle XY,” the network’s most popular series to date.

    ABC Family

  • “Greek” (2007)
    ABC Family soon had another hit on its hands with the college dramedy “Greek.” Several of the show’s stars would go on to become regular faces on television, including Scott Michael Foster, Jake McDorman and Johanna Braddy.

    ABC Family

  • “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” (2008)
    As ABC Family continued to grow in the late ’00s, it set viewership records with “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” starring future Golden Globe-nominee Shailene Woodley.

    ABC Family

  • “Pretty Little Liars” (2010)
    But the network finally hit it big in 2010 with the premiere of I. Marlene King’s “Pretty Little Liars.” The mystery series based on Sara Shepard’s series of novels became the network’s most popular series, averaging over 2 million viewers per episode.

    ABC Family

  • “The Fosters” (2013)
    “Pretty Little Liars” put ABC Family on the map commercially, but it was “The Fosters” and “Switched at Birth” that earned the attention of critics. Both series were hailed for their nuanced storytelling and progressive politics.

    ABC Family

  • Freeform (2016)
    In October 2015, ABC Family surprised viewers and the industry with plans to rebrand itself as “Freeform” at the height of its success. Network execs claimed the new name better represented its target audience of “becomers” and new focus on cross-platform viewership.

    Freeform

  • “Shadowhunters” (2016)
    The first series to premiere under the Freeform banner was “Shadowhunters,” based on the wildly successful YA series “The Mortal Instruments” from author Cassandra Clare. The series premiered on Jan. 12, 2016 — the day of the official rebrand and the midseason premiere of “Pretty Little Liars” — to an audience of 1.8 million, the network’s biggest premiere in 2 years. 

    Freeform

  • Launched as Christian Broadcasting Network in 1977, the network has completely transformed itself several times throughout the years

    Since its inception in the ’70s, the network now known as Freeform has been bought and sold several times, and been re-named even more. With the exception of “The 700 Club,” the network today bears little resemblance to its earliest days.

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