Family Channel (Family, for short) is a channel that airs family programming. Specifically, it's a Canadian channel that previously aired shows aimed at preschoolers during the day, kids in the afternoons, and teens in the evenings, along with family-oriented movies. Until 2016, it was a premium, commercial-free service that operated similarly to other, ad-supported kids networks. As such, its direct counterpart would have been HBO Family, but it is otherwise not to be confused with any similarly-named channels outside of Canada, especially the channel formerly known as ABC Family.
However, Family is most famous for airing numerous shows acquired from ABC Family's sisters: Disney Channel, Disney Junior, and Disney XD. Family would even go so far as to replace some it's own program blocks with Disney-branded blocks. For example, the preschool-aimed Playhouse/Family Jr. block would be relaunched as Playhouse Disney on Family, while the action-oriented Power Box was replaced with a Jetix-branded block. Family would also launch Disney Channel's spinoffs, including a newly-rebranded Disney Junior, as its siblings. As Disney Channel Live-Action Universe tween-coms had came to dominate Family's schedule, Family Channel was unofficially nicknamed "Disney Channel Canada", much to the chagrin of Canadians who disliked Disney Channel's current direction just as much as American viewers did.
Outside of that, Family has produced several original shows of its own, such as Franklin, Life with Derek, and Katie and Orbie. Family has also aired a handful of series from Nickelodeon in the past, despite the American network's long-standing relationship with YTV. The Other Kingdom may very well be the first co-production between the two networks (unless you count Are You Afraid of the Dark?, which originally aired on YTV). Many of the shows they aired in the 90s (and some from the late 80s) tended to be co-produced in some fashion with HBO. As both were commercial-free pay services, they would logically cooperate on producing series that both could air without having to edit anything, rather than rerun series from other networks and somehow fill the intended commercial breaks. note
Ultimately, in 2015, Family Channel would ditch Disney Channel's programming in favor of its own. The decision to focus more on Canadian programming coincided with The Next Step solidifying its place as Family's first breakout series since Life with Derek. In addition, Family would launch its own late-night block, F2N, which would be anchored by the newly launched Degrassi: Next Class. Corus Entertainment, who already owned the Canadian version of ABC Family, would acquire the rights to programming from Disney Channel and its siblings and, eventually, relaunch those networks.
Originally owned by Allarco as a joint venture between its Superchannel (The now defunct Movie Central) and First Choice (what is now known as Crave), similarly to how HBO Canada used to operate. Family was eventually sold to Astral Media, who, at the time, was co-owner of Teletoon (alongside Corus Entertainment). After Astral was gobbled up by Bell Media, Family and its siblings were sold to their current owners at DHX Media in 2013.
Family Channel's spinoffs include:
- Family Jr. - A multiplex feed of Family that targets preschoolers almost exclusively. Family Jr. was also the name of Family's preschool block from February 2009 to December 2010. Launched on November 30, 2007 as "Playhouse Disney Channel".
- Télémagino - a French-language cable channel that also targets preschoolers. Launched on July 5, 2010 as "Playhouse Disney Télé".
- Family CHRGD - A cable channel that basically airs all of Family's boy-skewing programming, along with some exclusive shows of its own. In its early years, CHRGD also maintained a weekend morning block on Family. Launched on June 1, 2011 as the first Canadian incarnation of Disney XD.
Family has created the following series:
- Connor Undercover
- Darcy's Wild Life
- Degrassi: Next Class
- Fangbone! (Premiered on CHRGD)
- Franklin (The 1997 series; moved to Treehouse TV)
- Franny's Feet
- Gaming Show (In My Parent's Garage) (Premiered on CHRGD and was later picked up by Disney XD in the U.S)
- Hello Mrs. Cherrywinkle
- Henry's World
- Hoze Houndz
- Justin Time
- Katie and Orbie
- The Latest Buzz
- Life with Derek
- Lost & Found Music Studios
- Majority Rules! (Previously on Teletoon)
- Naturally, Sadie
- The Next Step
- Nilus the Sandman
- The Other Kingdom
- Radio Free Roscoe
- Really Me
- The Secret World of Benjamin Bear
- Slugterra (Premiered on CHRGD)
- Stella and Sam
- What's Up Warthogs!
- Wingin It
Family Channel provides the following tropes:
- Alternate Company Equivalent: HBO Family is perhaps the closest to an American counterpart Family Channel has; both Family and HBO are premium Pay-TV channels. The difference between the two is that Family is still bundled with basic cable children's channels, such as YTV, and is treated as such. While it was formally affiliated with The Movie Network (now owned by Bell Media), Family is an independent entity from Canada's other Pay-TV services.
- Darker and Edgier: With the success of The Next Step and phasing out of Disney Channel fare, Family began airing more older-skewing shows like Malcolm in the Middle and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (both of which used to air on YTV in the late 2000s). The exclamation mark was the launch of F2N and its lineup of dramas, including Gilmore Girls.
- Expy: of Disney Channel, until 2015. Before then, their alternate slogan was "...With the magic of Disney."
- Network Decay: The influx of Disney Channel sitcoms that came at the height of High School Musical's popularity would completely take over the channel's schedule during the 2000s. Just as older fans of Disney Channel despise the tweenage girl-targeting, cookie-cutter, laugh-track abusing nature of most of these shows, so too did fans of Family Channel's earlier days. While Disney XD's shows were later spun-off into their own cable channel (now Family CHRGD), Family Channel was still dominated by shows like Austin & Ally and Dog with a Blog before DHX Media took over.
- As Disney XD in the U.S would (ironically) become just as focused on animation as its predecessor, the Canadian channel would begin airing reruns of girl-targeted Disney Channel sitcoms. In fairness, most of Disney XD's animated fare in the U.S were either acquired or produced by other channels (such as YTV and Teletoon).
- In 2018, Family began airing shows that DHX produced for their main rivals; Supernoobs, Inspector Gadget (2015), and Johnny Test, all of which were produced for Teletoon.note The problem is, Teletoon is still airing reruns of these shows. In addition to Cartoon Network Canada, there are now three networks airing reruns of Johnny Test.