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Family Channel

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Family Channel (also referred to as simply Family) is a Canadian English language Category A premium television channel that is mainly marketed to children and teenagers between 2 and 16 years of age. It is headquartered in the Brookfield Place office complex, near the Financial District of Downtown Toronto.

Programming featured on the channel consists primarily of Canadian-produced original series, current and archived original programming imported from many channels, formally including Disney Channel in the United States and theatrically released feature films. The channel operates two timeshifted feeds: East (Eastern Time) and West (Pacific Time).

The channel is currently owned by Canadian company DHX Media following the acquisition of Family's previous parent company Astral Media by Bell Media, which was approved on condition the merged company sell certain assets, the channel, as well as former sister channels Disney Junior, a French version of Disney Junior (now defunct) and Disney XD. Family Jr., Telemagino and Family Chrgd were launched after DHX lost the Disney programming rights to Corus Entertainment.


Early history

2000px-Family Channel

Family Channel's original logo, used from 1988 to 1999. The "Channel" font was slightly different from 1997 to 1999.

Family Channel was licensed as a pay television service by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) on December 1, 1987; it was originally operated as a joint venture between Allarcom Pay Television Limited (later acquired by Western International Communications) and First Choice Canadian Communications Corporation (by then a division of Astral Communications), with both companies owning a 50% stake in the service.

In Montreal, the network launched as Family Channel on September 1, 1988. During its first decade, Family Channel's programming consisted mainly of domestic and foreign-imported live-action and animated series (with many of the imported series produced by The Walt Disney Company's television production units), feature films from the Walt Disney Pictures library, classic films from other American and Canadian film studios, and specials (mostly concerts, documentaries and animated specials).

Rebranding and change in focus

At Oshawa on October 1, 1999, the channel was rebranded as simply "Family", although "Family Channel" remains the channel's official legal name. In 2000, Corus Entertainment acquired Western International Communications' stake in the service and subsequently sold it to Astral in 2001. By this point, Family – whose programming had been targeting a broader family audience throughout its schedule, save for some programs targeted mainly at children interspersed within its daytime lineup – began to target a dual audience: kids and teenagers during the daytime, and families at night.

2000px-Family Channel Logo

Original version of current logo, used from 1999 to 2011.

Family was originally offered by cable companies as a standalone channel; however, beginning in October 1997, most cable and satellite providers moved from Greater Montreal to Greater Toronto Area and started offering the channel as part of a package with that year's wave of new specialty channels. While Family initially continued its "pay" format, including broadcasts of older Disney movies which would be repeated several times a month, it soon changed its programming practices to the point that it now operates as a de facto specialty channel, much like similarly themed channels such as YTV. However, in line with CRTC regulations for premium channels, no commercials are shown, aside from running promotions for other Family Channel programs and sponsored contests between shows (the latter being the only form of commercial advertising the network airs).

In February 2007, Family began airing short programs from Disney Channel (such as Disney's Really Short Report, Meet the Family and the Movie Surfers behind-the-scenes segments for Disney-produced films), alongside the channel's own interstitials such as music videos ("FamJam"), contest promotions, and movie interviews from corporate sister The Movie Network. On July 1, 2007, Family became the last English-language children's network in Canada to switch to a 24-hour broadcast schedule. On January 11, 2011, Family debuted an updated logo and on-air identity to coincide with the launch of its new high-definition feed.

Sale to DHX Media

On March 4, 2013, following the Competition Bureau's approval of Bell Media's acquisition of Astral Media, Bell announced that it would sell Family and five other channels Disney Junior English and French, Disney XD, MusiMax and MusiquePlus), in an attempt to relieve concerns surrounding Bell's total market share in English-language television following the merger (Bell's original proposal, which would have included the networks, was rejected by the Bureau in 2012 as it would have given Bell a 42% share of the English television market).[1] Bell filed a new application for the proposed takeover with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission on March 6, 2013;[2] the CRTC approved the merger on June 27, 2013,[3] with Family Channel and the other Astral channels that were put up for sale concurrently being placed in a blind trust held by businessman and former Montreal Canadiens president Pierre Boivin, pending their sale to a third-party.[4]

On November 28, 2013, DHX Media announced that it would acquire Family, the two Disney Junior channels, and Disney XD for $170 million. While the Halifax-based company already distributes and produces a large library of children's television series (particularly through its 2012 purchase of the Cookie Jar Group, which gave it ownership of the program libraries of Cinar and DIC Entertainment), the purchase marks DHX's first foray into broadcasting. DHX has indicated that it would leverage its resources and library to add more original, Canadian-produced programming to Family under its ownership.[5][6][7][8][9]

The acquisition of Family Channel and its sister networks by DHX was approved by the CRTC on July 24, 2014.[10][11] Under DHX ownership, the network is subject to new licensing conditions which require that at least 60% of the Canadian programming broadcast by the network on an annual basis be produced by companies other than DHX.[12] The acquisition was finalized on July 31, 2014, with Family and its sister networks becoming part of a newly formed division of the company known as DHX Television.[13]

2015-present: Loss of Disney Channel programming rights

On April 16, 2015, it was announced that Corus Entertainment had acquired Canadian rights to Disney Channel's programming library, and that it would launch a Canadian version of Disney Channel in September 2015. Corus subsequently relaunched Disney Junior and Disney XD as well. DHX's programming agreement with Disney ended in January 2016.[14]

As a result of these changes, Disney programming was phased out of Family Channel's lineup throughout the remainder of 2015, and DHX launched Family Chrgd, Family Jr., and Télémagino. Alongside new and original productions, DHX reached new output deals with AwesomenessTV, DreamWorks Animation, and Mattel in 2015 for programming based on their properties across its networks.[14][15][16][17][18][19] On June 9, 2015, it was announced that a new incarnation of the Degrassi franchise, Degrassi: Next Class, would premiere on Family in 2016. The show is produced by Epitome Pictures, whom DHX had acquired in 2014.[20][21]

Next Class premiered on January 4, 2016 as part of a new primetime block known as "F2N". The F2N block is positioned towards an older teenage audience than the "tween" audience that Family has typically targeted; DHX Television senior vice-president Joe Tedesco explained that the company had original series in development for Family in case it ever did lose its output deal with Disney, and that these decisions were based on a goal to build a "strong lineup" of programs, and was not financially motivated. Tedesco went on to explain that the F2N block was meant to create a "meaningful destination" for teens and, in the case of Degrassi—a series that has historically dealt with teen issues, encourage family viewing.[22]


Family produces its own original programming, in addition to airing third-party programming (such as reruns of the now-defunct Australian series from Network Ten, The Elephant Princess). The channel also previously broadcast some original programming from Disney Channel's U.S. sister network Disney XD; in April 2012, Pair of Kings became the last Disney XD series to move exclusively to Family's Canadian sister channel of the same name.

Family broadcasts episodes of its original and acquired programs in order by the program's production code number, instead of by their original broadcast order on American and other foreign channels; many times this creates inconsistencies storyline-wise between episodes, as many shows film episodes out of order. The network also utilizes an "off-the-clock" schedule for programs airing between 1:00 and 10:30 a.m. ET, with series airing during that period running in timeslots of 23-27 minutes, usually concurrent with the program's original runtime without commercials or promos included, as such promo breaks on Family between programs are generally of limited length during the overnight and morning hours.

Family also offers promotions of video games and movies released theatrically and on DVD via interstitial segments under the name Blast. The only program on the channel to have ever incorporated breaks during the show was Dance Fever, which aired on Family in 2003.

Original programming

  • Katie and Orbie (1994–1996, 2001–2002)
  • Mentors (1998–2002)
  • Henry's World (2002–2005)
  • Radio Free Roscoe (2003–2005)
  • The Secret World of Benjamin Bear (2003–2009)
  • King (2003–2005)
  • Franny's Feet (2004–2011)
  • Darcy's Wild Life (2004–2006)
  • Naturally, Sadie (2004–2007)
  • Life with Derek (2005–2009)
  • The Latest Buzz (2007–2010)
  • Overruled! (2009–2010)
  • Wingin' It (2010–2013)
  • Baxter (2010–2011)
  • Connor Undercover (2010–2011)
  • Stella and Sam (2011–present)
  • What's Up Warthogs! (2011–2012)
  • Really Me! (2011–2013)
  • Debra! (2011–2012)
  • Justin Time (2012- present)
  • The Next Step (2013–present)
  • Backstage (2016- present)


The channel also airs films, which are run uninterrupted and typically air on weekends (with two films each on Friday and Sunday evenings, three films on Saturday evenings, and an additional movie during the early afternoon hours each Saturday and Sunday). Films aired in these timeslots consist of either made-for-TV films produced by Disney Channel or older theatrically released feature films (from studios such as Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group and Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group). As it is licensed as a premium service, all films aired on Family are given parental advisories by either the Canadian motion picture rating system or the Canadian TV Classification System (ratings from the latter system are also applied to series airing on the channel) prior to the start of the feature. Films aired on Family consist of G, PG and some 14A-rated movies, no films with rated 14+ and above for non-theatrically released films or 18A and above for theatrically released films are broadcast on the channel.

While Family broadcasts original movies produced by Disney Channel, up until 2010, Family Channel had not produced or distributed its own original made-for-television films. Family commissioned its first original movie Vacation with Derek, a movie based on the popular Family Channel original series Life with Derek, which premiered on the channel in June 2010. In addition, Family has also been involved in one other made-for-TV film co-production, the 2010 film 16 Wishes, which was co-produced in association with Disney Channel and Marvista Entertainment.

Some of the network's movies also air in a Pop Up Video-style version (similar to the special versions of select original movies produced by and broadcast on Disney Channel in the United States), with behind-the-scenes trivia overlayed onto the film being broadcast, such as Vacation with Derek: What's What Edition.

Programming blocks


  • Family Jr. on Family – features shows targeted at children aged 3–9, that airs Monday to Friday 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. Eastern and Pacific Time. It primarily targets preschoolers as Family's usual target audience of older children and teenagers are in school at that time.
  • F2N – Launched January 4, 2016, this primetime block is aimed at an older teenage audience, anchored by Degrassi: Next Class and 8 series acquisitions from AwesomenessTV.[30][39] Also includes teen-oriented shows/movies. This teen block airs weekdays starting at 9:00 PM ET/PT.
  • Family Chrgd on Family - this two-hour block features shows targeted at children aged 6–11, that airs on Saturday mornings from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. Eastern and Pacific Time. Shows include Fangbone!, Slugterra, Sonic Boom, DreamWorks TV and The Deep.[40]


  • Jetix - Family launched its version of the Jetix block on September 10, 2006, replacing the "Power Box" block. The original Canadian Jetix block included Get Ed, Oban Star Racers, Yin Yang Yo!, Pucca, Power Rangers: Mystic Force, Power Rangers: Jungle Fury and Power Rangers: Operation Overdrive. Jetix aired from 6:03 to 7:45 a.m. ET on weekend mornings; Jetix ended on August 1, 2009.
  • Power Box - Until 2006, Family carried an early morning program block of Japanese-themed action shows including W.I.T.C.H., Power Rangers: Dino Thunder, Oban Star Racers and Super Robot Monkey Team Hyper Force Go! that started at 6 a.m. ET. In 2006, the "Power Box" block was dropped and replaced with Jetix.
  • Mad Dash - "Mad Dash" was a block that aired mainly Disney-produced live-action and animated series, and aired weekday afternoons from 11:49 a.m. to 5:03 p.m. ET. Notable shows that aired included Pucca, The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, Wizards of Waverly Place, Cory in the House, Fish Hooks, Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide, Phineas and Ferb, Recess and The Replacements. "Mad Dash" was discontinued in early March 2010.
  • Non Stop - This block aired mostly live-action sitcoms every weekday evening and throughout the weekend. Notable shows that aired on this block included The Suite Life on Deck, Hannah Montana, Sonny With a Chance, Wizards of Waverly Place, Zeke and Luther, Aaron Stone, Jonas, and Overruled!, as well as reruns of The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, Cory in the House, Life with Derek, and The Latest Buzz. "Non Stop" ended on January 11, 2011.
  • Non Stop Weekends - Family ran a block of programs under the "Non Stop" brand on Saturday and Sunday evenings until 9:00 p.m. ET. The block ended on January 9, 2011.
  • Family Nights - Airing every Monday through Thursday from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. ET, it featured The Suite Life on Deck, Hannah Montana and other series. "Family Nights" was discontinued on June 25, 2010.
  • Surprise Stack Attack! - On October 13, 2011, Family began airing 'stacks' of surprise programming. In television program listings, it was referenced as "To Be Announced" as Family Channel did not release the schedules for the block in advance. "Surprise Stack Attack!" aired on Thursdays from 5 to 7 p.m. ET/PT, ending on May 31, 2012.

Related services

Family HD

On January 11, 2011, Family launched a high definition feed called Family HD that simulcasts the East Coast standard definition feed. The channel broadcasts in the 1080i picture format.

Family OnDemand

Family OnDemand is a video on demand service featuring programming from Family Channel, available to subscribers of the channel. The service features original series produced by Family, as well as original programming supplied by Disney Channel, which provides the vast majority of the American program content on the linear Family channel.

Radio Disney

In October 2011, Family Channel began offering a live audio stream of U.S. children's music network Radio Disney through

International distribution

Outside of Canada, Family is seen on some cable systems in the Caribbean:

  • Jamaica - distributed on Flow Cable systems.
  • Bahamas - distributed on Cable Bahamas systems.

External links

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The article or pieces of the original article was at Family Channel. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Disney Wiki, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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