Family Channel (shortened as Family) is a channel that airs family programming. Specifically, it's a Canadian channel that previously aired series 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 American 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 known for airing several series acquired from ABC Family's sister networks: 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-oriented 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 sister networks. Owing to this, and the Disney Channel Live-Action Universe tween-coms that had come to dominate the schedule by the early 2010s, Family Channel was unofficially nicknamed "Disney Channel Canada", much to the irritation of Canadians who disliked Disney Channel's direction at the time just as much as a vocal portion of American viewers did.
Outside of that, Family has produced several original series 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 that 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). Most programming aired in the '80s and '90s tended to be co-produced in some manner with HBO. As both were commercial-free, pay-TV services, they would logically cooperate on producing series that both could air without having to edit anything, rather than rerun series from other networks. note
Ultimately, in 2015, Family Channel would remove 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 briefly 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 (known as ABC Spark), would acquire the rights to programming from Disney Channel and its sister networks and, eventually, relaunch said sister 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 demolished by Bell Media, Family and its sister networks were sold to their current owners at DHX Media in 2013.
Family Channel's spinoffs include:
- Family Jr. - A multiplex channel 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-skewed programming, along with some exclusive series 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 (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 United States)
- 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 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 loss of Disney Channel programming rights, Family began airing more older-skewed series 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. Back then, their alternate slogan was "...With the magic of Disney."
- Network Decay: The invasion of Disney Channel tween-coms 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-skewed, cookie-cutter, laugh-track exploiting quality of tween-coms, 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 series like Austin & Ally and Dog with a Blog before DHX Media took over.
- As Disney XD in the United States would 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 series in the United States were either acquired or produced by other channels (such as YTV and Teletoon).
- In 2018, Family began airing series that DHX Media produced for their main rivals; Supernoobs, Inspector Gadget (2015), and Johnny Test, all of which were produced for Teletoon. New episodes of Supernoobs and Inspector Gadget are premiering on Family Channel, not with Teletoon. The issue is, Teletoon is still airing reruns of these series. In addition to Cartoon Network Canada, there were three networks airing reruns of Johnny Test.