Freeform, formerly known as ABC Family, is a cable channel owned by Disney ABC Cable Networks. It was originally founded in 1977 as The CBN Cable Network by Evangelical minister Pat Robertson, as extension to his television ministry, over time the network started airing less and less religious programming. In 1988 to reflect, the change in format, the channel changed its name to The Family Channel. By the year 1990, CBN spun off the network, because it had grown too profitable for the ministry. In 1997, News Corporation, owners of the Fox television network and Saban Entertainment bought the network and changed the network to Fox Family Channel the next year. In 2002, ABC bought the channel and gave it the name ABC Family . It rebranded itself under its current name on January 12, 2016 using current flagship Shadowhunters as their remarketing brand.