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ABC Family

Brief History

In the early 1960’s media tycoon and former Baptist minister, Pat Robertson began acquiring television properties, marking the foundation of the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN)[1]. CBN first aired on October 1, 1961 from a small television station in Portsmouth, Virginia[2]. It was not only the first Christian television station in Virginia, but it was also the first in the nation. In 1987, Robertson announced his candidacy for president and his son Tim, took over CBN as president and chief executive. One of the first changes Tim made, was altering the name to The Family Channel. Under its new name, The Family Channel’s financial support excelled to a point that it created a tax issue for the nonprofit nature of the Christian Broadcasting Network. As a result, in 1989, a new company, International Family Entertainment was created and acquired The Family Channel from the Christian Broadcasting Network for $250 million. During the early 1990’s Tim Robertson acquired MTM studios and revamped its production and programming team. During this time The Family Channel’s ratings and popularity soared, catching the eye of founder, chairman, and chief executive of News Corporation, Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch partnered with the production company, Saban Entertainment and bought International Family for about $1.8 billion. The purchase of International Family also included the Family Channel and led to yet another name change, making it the Fox Family Channel. However, this new ownership didn’t last long as plummeting ratings and questionable management led to its final sale. On October of 2001, the chairman and chief executive officer of Walt Disney, Michael D. Eisner solidified the deal, purchasing Fox Family Worldwide, Inc. for $5.2 billion. Shortly after, on November 10, 2001 the network was finally renamed to its current title of ABC Family. Under its current ownership by Disney, ABC Family operates as a sister channel for broadcaster ABC and seems to be doing very well with more than 80 million subscribers in the United States.  


  1. "About CBN: Mission and History of CBN." - The Christian Broadcasting Network. 2010. Web. 04 Oct. 2010. <>.
  2. "About CBN: Mission and History of CBN." - The Christian Broadcasting Network. 2010. Web. 04 Oct. 2010. <>.