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”

Last Updated: January 12, 2016 @ 3:03 PM

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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