Why the ‘Pretty Little Liars’ Share a Network With an 85-Year-Old Televangelist

ABC Family’s name is changing to Freeform. But don’t worry, it will still air Pat Robertson’s “700 Club”

ABC Family rebrands itself as Freeform today, in the hopes that its new name will be a better fit with its edgy, younger-skewing shows like “Pretty Little Liars” and “Recovery Road,” about a young addict.

But one, weird thing will remain the same about the network: It will continue to air 85-year-old televangelist Pat Robertson’s “700 Club,” a love-in for Christian conservatives.

If that doesn’t seem on-brand with Freeform’s ideology — appealing to young “Becomers” who want honest looks at their teen and twentysomething lives — it’s not the network’s fault. It’s contractually bound to Robertson.

“Nothing about our name change affects our relationship with ‘The 700 Club,'” network preside Tom Ascheim said at a Television Critics Association panel Saturday.

Asked whether that meant that the network would carry Robertson’s show forever, Ascheim answered, “Forever’s such a long time.”

ABC Family began as part of Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network before being it was sold to Fox and then Disney.

“We don’t actually talk to them a whole lot about our programming strategy,” Ascheim said when asked if CBN has ever expressed displeasure with the network’s programming. “We update them every so often. I imagine they would have made different choices.”

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