ABC Spark is a Canadian English language
specialty channel A specialty channel can be a commercial broadcasting or non-commercial television channel which consists of television programming focused on a single genre, subject or targeted television market at a specific demographic. The number of specialty c ...
owned by
Corus Entertainment Corus Entertainment Inc. (stylized as corus., and also COrUs in their previous logo) is a Canadian multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate company headquartered at the Corus Quay in Toronto Toronto is the capital city of ...
. The channel launched on March 23, 2012, replacing Dusk. ABC Spark is based on the U.S. subscription channel Freeform (previously known as ABC Family) and primarily consists of programming aimed at
teenagers Adolescence ()''Macmillan Dictionary for Students'' Macmillan, Pan Ltd. (1981), page 14, 456. Retrieved July 15, 2010. is a transitional stage of physical and psychological Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology in ...
and preteens, as well as programs aimed towards some sitcoms. The channel's name and various programs are licensed from the
ABC Family Worldwide ABC Family Worldwide is a subsidiary of Walt Disney Television that is responsible for the operations of the U.S. cable network Freeform and the Canadian cable network ABC Spark. The company was originally formed as International Family Enterta ...
Walt Disney Television Walt Disney Television is an American entertainment company that oversees television content and assets owned and operated by The Walt Disney Company The Walt Disney Company, commonly known as Disney (), is an American diversified multi ...
, a subsidiary of
The Walt Disney Company The Walt Disney Company, commonly known as Disney (), is an American diversified multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate headquartered at the Walt Disney Studios complex in Burbank, California California is a U.S. st ...
.ABC partners with Corus to launch youth network in Canada
Los Angeles Times October 26, 2011


Announcement and launch (2011–2012)

The announcement of the formation of ABC Spark occurred on October 26, 2011 as part of a program licensing agreement between Corus Entertainment and The Walt Disney Company. The use of the name "ABC ''Spark''", as opposed to "ABC ''Family''", is presumably to avoid any confusion with Family Channel, which at the time aired programming from ABC Family's sibling,
Disney Channel Disney Channel (originally called The Disney Channel from 1983 to 1997 and commonly shortened to Disney from 1997 to 2002) is an American pay television channel that serves as the flagship property of owner Disney Branded Television, a unit ...
. The channel's broadcast licence, tentatively known then as ''Harmony'', was approved by the
Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC; french: Conseil de la radiodiffusion et des télécommunications canadiennes, links=) is a public organization in Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of ...
(CRTC) in February 2012. Selected ABC Family programs that were set to air on ABC Spark began airing in special sneak preview blocks in advance of the network's launch starting on January 26, 2012 on Corus-owned sister channels YTV, W Network, and CMT. The channel was owned by Corus (51%) and
Shaw Media
Shaw Media
(49%) at launch on March 26, 2012.

Transfer of ABC Spark license; Corus' acquisition of Shaw Media's ownership interest (2013)

Shortly after the channel's launch, the CRTC published notice of a pending application to transfer the ABC Spark license to the numbered company which previously owned Dusk, which is 51% owned by Corus and 49% owned by
Shaw Media
Shaw Media
. However, on March 4, 2013, Corus Entertainment announced that it would acquire Shaw Media's 49% ownership interest in ABC Spark, in a larger transaction that would see Corus also acquire Shaw's 50% interest in Historia (TV channel), Historia and Séries+, while Corus would sell their 22.58% stake in Food Network (Canada), Food Network. In total, Shaw would receive net proceeds of approximately Canadian dollar, $95 million in cash. The sale of the portion of ABC Spark closed in April 2013.

Expanded relationship with Disney; first original series (2015–2016)

In April 2015, Corus Entertainment expanded its relationship with Disney, and Corus acquired the rights to Disney Channel's programming and related brands, which resulted in the launch of a Disney Channel (Canada), Canadian version of Disney Channel, and re-launched versions of Disney Junior (Canada), Disney Junior and Disney XD (Canada), Disney XD after DHX Media decided against renewing their agreement to broadcast the programs in Disney's programming catalogue. In October 2015, ABC Family announced plans to change its name to "Freeform" in January 2016. ABC Spark did not adopt the Freeform name, but it did adopt the on-air imaging used by the U.S. network. By the end of October 2015, ABC Spark had its first original series entitled ''Cheer Squad'', a docu-reality series which first premiered on July 5, 2016.


ABC Spark carries most of the original programs produced for Freeform in the U.S (''Pretty Little Liars: The Perfectionists'' premieres on W Network),https://www.wnetwork.com/shows/pretty-little-liars-the-perfectionists/ including its own versions of the ''31 Nights of Halloween'' and ''25 Days of Christmas'' events, which broadcast special programming during the lead-up to their respective holidays. The channel's daily programming mainly consists of acquired sitcoms and dramas, as well as syndicated programs from other Corus-owned channels.


External links

* {{Freeform Corus Entertainment networks Freeform (TV channel) English-language television stations in Canada Television channels and stations established in 2012 2012 establishments in Canada Digital cable television networks in Canada