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Disney’s ABC Family Cable Network Mulling Reboot

ABC Family might look for new graphics, new programs and even a new name in 2015 as part of a proposed reboot that would make it more appealing to its millennial audience, according to a person with knowledge of the Walt Disney property’s plans.

A network spokeswoman declined to offer specifics on what might be up for consideration or change. “We are looking at the network to determine what needs to be rebooted to make sure it’s in line with current millennial sensibilities,”said Jori Arancio, a spokeswoman for ABC Family.

The network is known for youth-skewing series like “The Fosters,” “Pretty Little Liars” and “Melissa & Joey.” Paul Lee, president of ABC Entertainment, came to wider notice when he led ABC Family between 2004 and 2010, launching series like “Kyle XY,” “Greek” and “The Secret Life of the American Teenager.”

Since Tom Ascheim took the reins of ABC Family in late 2013, the network has undergone a restructuring of sorts, with several new executives joining its ranks. Kate Juergens, the network’s longtime chief creative officer and executive vice president of original programming, left in July, as did Lynn Stepanian, who oversaw scheduling and acquisitions. Salaam Coleman Smith joined the network in July as its executive vice president of strategy and programming. Nigel Cox-Hagan joined as head of marketing, and Karey Burke joined as executive vice president of programming and development in October.

In recent months, executives have suggested ABC Family ought to emphasize its appeal to young adults, rather than serve as a place where families with kids can watch together.

ABC Family has its roots in a network that was founded by evangelist Pat Robertson’s television ministry, and evolved into the Family Channel. Fox Kids bought the outlet in 1998 and renamed it the Fox Family Channel. Walt Disney bought the network in 2001.

 

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