|Blue version of the Family logo|
|Launched||September 1, 1988|
|Owned by||Astral Media
(The Family Channel, Inc.)
(Sale following acquisition of Astral Media by Bell Media pending)
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)
(also available in Jamaica and Bahamas)
|Headquarters||Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Formerly called||Family Channel (1988-1999)|
|Sister channel(s)||Disney Junior
The Movie Network
|Bell TV||556 Family (east; SD)
557 Family (west; SD)
1642 Family (east; HD)
|Shaw Direct||Classic lineup:
540 Family (east; SD)
541 Family (west; SD)
170 Family (east; SD)
171 Family (west; SD)
|Available on most Canadian cable systems||Check local listings, channels may vary|
|Bell Aliant TV||258 Family (east; SD) 503 Family (east; HD)|
|Bell Fibe TV||556 Family (east; SD)
557 Family (west; SD)
1556 Family (east; HD)
|MTS||153 Family (east; SD)
154 Family (west; SD)
|Optik TV||76 Family (west; SD)
86 Family (east; SD)
681 Family (east; HD)
|SaskTel||130 Family (east; SD)|
Family Channel (also referred to as simply Family) is a Canadian English language Category A premium television channel that is mainly marketed to children and teenagers between 2 and 15 years of age. It is owned by Astral Media, and headquartered in the Brookfield Place office complex, near the Financial District of Downtown Toronto.
Programming featured on the channel consists primarily of Canadian-produced original series, current and archived original programming imported mainly from Disney Channel in the United States and some theatrically released feature films. The channel operates two timeshifted feeds: East (Eastern Time) and West (Pacific Time).
Family was licensed as a pay TV service by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) on December 1, 1987 as a joint venture between Allarcom Pay Television Limited (later acquired by Western International Communications) and First Choice Canadian Communications Corporation (by then a division of Astral Communications), with both companies owning a 50% stake in the service. It was launched as Family Channel on September 1, 1988. On October 1, 1999, the channel was rebranded Family. In 2000, Corus Entertainment acquired Western International Communications' stake in the service and subsequently sold it to Astral in 2001.
Family was originally offered by cable companies as a stand-alone channel; however, beginning in October 1997, most cable and satellite providers started offering the channel as part of a package with that year's wave of new specialty channels. While Family initially continued its "pay" format, including broadcasts of older Disney movies which would be repeated several times a month, it soon changed its programming practices such that it now operates as a de facto specialty channel, much like similarly themed channels such as YTV. However, in line with CRTC regulations for premium channels, no commercials are shown, aside from promotions for other Family programs and Family-sponsored contests aired between shows. Some advertisers work around this rule by co-sponsoring contests which are then promoted on the channel.
In February 2007, Family began airing short programs from Disney Channel, such as Disney's Really Short Report, Meet the Family, and the returning feature Movie Surfers, alongside their own interstitials, such as music videos ("FamJam"), contest promotions, and movie interviews from corporate sister The Movie Network. Family became the last English-language children's network in Canada to switch to a 24/7 broadcast schedule, finally eliminating its off-air hours on July 1, 2007. On January 11, 2011, Family debuted an updated logo and on-air identity to coincide with the launch of its new high-definition feed.
On March 4, 2013, following the Competition Bureau's approval of Bell Media's takeover of Astral, Bell announced that it would put Family and five other channels (Disney Junior English and French, Disney XD, MusiMax and MusiquePlus) up for sale, in an attempt to relieve CRTC concerns regarding the takeover by selling Astral properties that would have put Bell over the CRTC's ownership limits for English-language cable channels (the original takeover attempt that included the aformentioned channels up for sale, was rejected in 2012 as it would have given Bell a 42% share of the Canadian English-language television market). Bell filed a new application for the proposed takeover with the CRTC on March 6, 2013.
Relationship with the Family Channel (U.S.)/ABC Family 
The existence of ABC Family, a United States cable channel that itself was long known as The Family Channel, has occasionally led to the presumption that the two channels are affiliated. The two channels have co-commissioned some programming in the past and both currently have a significant connection to The Walt Disney Company (Family primarily acquires its foreign programming from Disney Channel and Disney XD, while Disney purchased ABC Family from News Corporation in 2000). However, the two channels developed separately in each country, and as such, neither channel can be considered an international version of the other, especially given that ABC Family is advertiser-supported unlike Family. Allarcom and First Choice had first proposed using the "Family Channel" name in 1987. The American channel which was initially controlled by televangelist Pat Robertson, was originally known as the CBN Satellite Service and later as CBN Cable Network, before adopting the "CBN Family Channel" name in August 1988 (one month before Canada's Family Channel signed on), and eventually dropping the CBN reference two years later in September 1990.
Despite the current dual relationships with Disney, most of ABC Family's recent original series have aired in Canada on channels other than Family (such as MuchMusic), as Family's schedule is already filled with Disney Channel programming, Canadian-produced shows and other programs focused on children and preteens. Most recently, Disney announced a separate partnership with Corus Entertainment to launch a channel in Canada based on and featuring programming from ABC Family, which debuted on March 23, 2012 (and is named ABC Spark to avoid any confusion with Astral's service). Nevertheless, some American cable providers have used Family's former "Paint and Sun" logo to represent the U.S. channel on program guides, and occasionally the reverse has occurred with ABC Family's Robertson-era logo as The Family Channel (whose "Family" script is similar to the pre-1998 logo of the Canadian channel) appearing in some Canadian listings.
Family's development was in fact more similar to that of Disney Channel; besides common programming and past co-commissioning of original programming, both were launched as premium channels prior to pay television providers offering them as basic channels, and neither channel accepts traditional advertising (Disney Channel does not accept traditional advertising outside of PBS-style underwriter sponsorships, and breaks within programs consist largely of promotions of its own programming, and Disney Channel-produced featurettes advertising Disney films and consumer products). Due to Disney Channel's longtime programming agreement with Family, Family is often thought of as a de facto Canadian version of Disney Channel.
Family produces its own original programming, in addition to airing many series and original movies from the U.S. cable network Disney Channel and airing reruns of a now-defunct series from Australia's Network Ten (The Elephant Princess). In the past, two now-defunct flagship series from the U.S. channel Nickelodeon (Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide and Zoey 101) debuted and ran exclusively on Family and since ended, but were recently put on reruns until early 2012. Though the majority of Family's international programming comes from Disney Channel, some Nickelodeon live-action series ran on the channel in the past, this was even as YTV strengthened its programming ties with Nickelodeon during the 2000s; Nickelodeon's programming has now largely migrated to YTV (and its sister channel Nickelodeon). In April 2012, Pair of Kings was the last Disney XD series to move completely to Family's Canadian sister channel of the same name.
Family broadcasts episodes of its programming in order by the program's production code number, instead of the order of their original broadcast run on American and other foreign channels; many times this places episodes out of order storyline-wise, as many shows film episodes out of order. The network also utilizes an "off-the-clock" schedule for programming airing between 1 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. ET, with series airing during that period running in timeslots of 23-27 minutes, usually concurrent with the program's original runtime without commercials or promos included, as such promo breaks on Family between programs are generally of limited length during the overnight and morning hours.
Family also offers promotions of video games and movies released theatrically and on DVD via interstitial segments under the name Blast. The only program on the channel to have ever taken breaks during the show was Dance Fever, which aired on Family in 2003.
Original programming 
The majority of foreign programming is sourced from Disney Channel however, Family also commissions its own original programming. Some of their most popular shows include Life With Derek, The Latest Buzz, Overruled!, Wingin' It and Naturally, Sadie. Originally though, Majority Rules aired on Teletoon. Past and present original programs include:
The channel also airs films, which are run uninterrupted and typically air on weekends (with two films each on Friday and Sunday evenings, three films on Saturday evenings, and an additional movie on early Saturday and Sunday afternoons). Films aired in these timeslots consist of either made-for-TV films produced by Disney Channel or older theatrically released feature films (from studios such as Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group and Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group). As it is licensed as a premium service, all films aired on Family are given parental advisories by either the Canadian motion picture rating system or the Canadian TV Classification System (the latter also applies to series airing on the channel), prior to the start of the feature. Films aired on Family consist of G, PG and some 14A-rated movies, no films with rated 14+ and above for non-theatrically released films or 18A and above for theatrically released films are broadcast on the channel.
While Family broadcasts original movies produced by Disney Channel, up until 2010, Family had not produced or distributed their own original made-for-TV movies. However, due to the popularity of its original series Life with Derek, Family commissioned its first original movie Vacation with Derek, a movie based on the series which began production in the summer of 2009; the movie aired in June 2010 on Family. In addition, Family has also been involved in one other made-for-TV film co-production, the 2010 film 16 Wishes, which was co-produced in association with Disney Channel and Marvista Entertainment.
Some of the network's movies also air in a Pop Up Video-style version (similar to the special versions of select original movies produced by and broadcast on Disney Channel in the United States), with behind-the-scenes trivia overlayed onto the image, such as Vacation with Derek: What's What Edition.
Programming blocks 
- Disney Junior on Family - On May 6, 2011, Playhouse Disney rebranded and became "Disney Junior on Family". It airs shows specially designed for preschoolers every weekday morning from 4:30 to 7 a.m. ET, and 8:45 a.m. to 11 a.m. ET, and weekend mornings from 4:30 to 8 a.m. ET. With the exception of a new show, Jake and the Never Land Pirates, the block's program schedule remain the same. As of April 2011, shows that aired on the block are Franny's Feet, Handy Manny, Harry and His Bucket Full of Dinosaurs, Henry's World, Imagination Movers, Jake and the Never Land Pirates, Jungle Junction, Katie and Orbie, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, The Secret World of Benjamin Bear and Strawberry Shortcake.
- Jetix - Family began its own Jetix block on September 10, 2006, replaced the "Power Box" block. The original Canadian Jetix block included Get Ed, Oban Star Racers, Yin Yang Yo!, Pucca, Power Rangers: Mystic Force, Power Rangers: Jungle Fury, and Power Rangers: Operation Overdrive. Jetix aired from 6:03 a.m. EST through 7:45 a.m. EST on weekend mornings. Jetix ended on August 1, 2009. The Canadian version of Disney XD launched on June 1, 2011.
- Power Box - Until 2006, Family showed an early morning programming block of Japanese-themed fighting shows including W.I.T.C.H., Power Rangers: Dino Thunder, Oban Star Racers, and S.R.M.T.H.F.G. that started at 6 a.m. EST. In 2006, "Power Box" programming was dropped and replaced with Jetix.
- Mad Dash - Mad Dash aired mainly Disney animated shows for kids and pre-teens every weekday afternoon from 11:49 a.m. EST until 5:03 p.m. EST. Notable shows that aired are: Pucca, The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, Wizards of Waverly Place, Cory in the House, Fish Hooks, Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide, Phineas and Ferb, Recess, and The Replacements. "Mad Dash" was cancelled in early March 2010.
- Non Stop - It aired mostly live-action sitcoms every weekday evening & all weekend long. Notable shows that aired are: The Suite Life on Deck, Hannah Montana, Sonny With a Chance, Wizards of Waverly Place, Zeke and Luther, Aaron Stone, Jonas, and Overruled!, as well as reruns of The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, Cory in the House, Life with Derek, and The Latest Buzz. "Non Stop" ended on January 11, 2011 with no replacement.
- Non Stop Weekends - Every Saturday and Sunday, Family ran a series of "Non Stop" programming until 9:00 p.m. EST. The block was ended on January 9, 2011, not being replaced.
- Family Nights - EAiring every Monday through Thursday from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. EST it featured The Suite Life on Deck, Hannah Montana and other series. Family Nights stopped airing on June 25, 2010.
- Surprise Stack Attack! - On October 13, 2011, Family began airing 'stacks' of surprise programming. In TV programming guides, it is displayed as "To Be Announced". Surprise Stack Attack! occurs every Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m. ET/PT. It was ended on May 31, 2012.
Related services 
Family HD 
Family OnDemand 
Family OnDemand is a video on demand service featuring programming from Family, available to subscribers of the network. The service features original series produced by Family, as well as original programming supplied by Disney Channel, which provides the vast majority of the American program content on the linear Family channel.
Disney Junior 
A Canadian version of Disney Junior was launched as a multiplex of Family originally known as Playhouse Disney Channel on November 30, 2007, a 24/7 commercial-free channel carrying programs aimed at preschool-aged children. Unlike Family, Disney Junior has only one national feed operating from the Eastern Time Zone. For satellite, it is exclusively carried on Bell TV.
The channel was re-launched under the new Disney Junior brand on May 6, 2011.
Because Family is licensed as a premium service which allows for the addition of multiplex channels that are consistent with the network's licence, no additional licence was required to launch the service. Existing subscribers of Family are automatically eligible to receive Disney Junior free of charge, subject to carriage by their television service provider; however, it is not available on a standalone basis. The use of Family's existing licence also allows the service to compete with the preschooler-aimed specialty channel, Treehouse, despite the format protection guidelines for specialty channels. This is so, because Family's nature of service is to broadcast programming targeted toward "youth to age 17", in which case, a preschool audience would qualify.
A French language version of Disney Junior (then known as Playhouse Disney Télé) launched on July 5, 2010. It was rebranded as Disney Junior on May 6, 2011 to coincide with the rebranding of the English channel. However, unlike the English version of Disney Junior, the French version is a category 2 service using its own licence.
Disney Junior On Demand 
Disney Junior On Demand is a video on demand (VOD) service featuring programming from Disney Junior, available to subscribers of Family and Disney Junior. Disney Junior launched its own VOD channel on May 6, 2011. 
Radio Disney 
International distribution 
Outside of Canada, Family is seen on some cable systems in the Caribbean:
- Jamaica - distributed on Flow Cable systems.
- Bahamas - distributed on Cable Bahamas systems.
See also 
- "Pay & Specialty Services 2007-2011 Financial Summaries". Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. 2012-05-16. Retrieved February 22, 2013.
- "Decision CRTC 87-905". CRTC.
- "Astral Kids Media Sales Site: Family Channel - Client Solutions - Promotional Opportunities". Retrieved 2011-08-17.
- "Family Channel turns on new look". Playbackonline.ca. 2011-01-11.
- BCE takeover of Astral OK’d by Competition Bureau, The Montreal Gazette (via The Canadian Press), March 4, 2013.
- Astral and Bell Comment on New Acquisition Application to CRTC, Broadcaster Magazine, March 6, 2013.
- New Millennial Focused Channel, ABC Spark, to Launch in Canada, The Futon Critic. Accessed 2011-10-26.
- "Astral Kids Media Sales Site: Family Channel - Client Solutions - Entertainment Interstitials - Blast". Retrieved 2011-08-17.
- Bertrand, Ginger (July 12, 2012). "Principal photography starts on THE NEXT STEP a new tween drama from Temple Street Productions for Family Channel". Astral. Retrieved January 6, 2013.
- "Ashley Legatt's blog - 6 Aug 2010". Retrieved 2011-07-02. "'Vacation With Derek' will be ... in a pop-up version, that means you will get to see all of the behind the scenes facts and trivia from filming."
- Playhouse Disney splashes out for Canuck launch, KidScreen, 2007-11-01
- DISNEY JUNIOR LAUNCHES MAY 6 WITH NEW PROGRAMS AND A NOD TO CLASSIC DISNEY CHARACTERS AND MAGIC, CNW, 2011-03-03
- Broadcasting Decision CRTC 2002-386, CRTC, 2002-11-28
- Disney Junior On Demand
- Radio Disney brings more music to Family.ca
- Flow Cable channel lineup
- Cable Bahamas channel lineup[dead link]