December 13, 2016

Freeform (formerly ABC Family) on DISH Network

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ABC Family is now Freeform, available on channel 180 on DISH. Read on to learn why we like Freeform and how to get the best DISH promotion.

What is Freeform?

Is Freeform just the ABC Family channel with a different name? Is it "business as usual" or is there something different underneath the shiny new wrapper?

What is now known as Freeform has been many things to many different TV viewers. Its beginning was in faith-based/family programming, an image that slowly changed over the years as it began to appeal more and more to a teenage audience. When the channel joined Disney-ABC in 2001 and became ABC Family, the network decided to bridge the gap between the old and the new, striving to make original programming that would satisfy an even larger audience of "becomers," or young adults aged 14-35.

In 2015, ABC Family became known as Freeform.

So what exactly does that entail for someone considering adding this channel to their list of favorites?


Freeform is available on channel 180 on DISH. It is included with all DISH America's Top packages - Top 120, Top 120+, Top 200, and Top 250.


  • Becomers (Millennials aged 14-35). There is a specific sophistication to the types of movies and shows that appeal to this demographic, and Freeform is trying to capture the ever-changing nature of this age group. The programming on Freeform will find fans who are starting high school as well as young adults several years removed from college.
  • Love the Hunger Games or Twilight? Freeform is well aware of the popularity and success of these YA (young adult) series and is airing and developing a slate of shows that deal with the supernatural and/or mysteries featuring young adult protagonists.
  • Nostalgia is back in a big way. And Freeform has some offerings for fans of contemporary classics series and films. The channel is trying to be a one-stop shop for savvy television and movie fans by offering something new and something old, so to speak.


  • You like the content from ABC Family, such as The Fosters, Pretty Little Liars and Switched at Birth. These are highly popular and critically acclaimed shows, and if you were not watching them before, you should definitely take a look now.
  • Shows based on YA series are your cup of tea.
  • Fantasy and/or science fiction dramas top your list of preferred things to watch.
  • You are seeking smartly-written alternatives to mainstream entertainment choices.
  • Recent audience favorites like Bunheads, Greek, and The Mindy Project appeal to your inner Gilmore Girls fan. (PS: Gilmore Girls reruns also air here.)
  • You enjoy original movies featuring popular stars of television and film.
  • Watching seasonal entertainment blocks, especially Christmas and Halloween, is of interest to you.
  • You're looking for an alternative source to premium cable channels that air recent popular movies.
  • Series and films that feature romance, comedy and/or romantic comedy plots catch your attention.
  • You are a parent looking for family-friendly entertainment that tackles real-world issues and features relatable, knowable characters.


  • You prefer edgier content in your entertainment, especially if you are looking for R- or MA-rated material.
  • You tend to seek out content featuring protagonists aged 35 and higher
  • You prefer legal, medical or procedural style shows to soapy dramas and comedies.
  • You define "family friendly" in a way that always steers clear of subjects like LGBT issues, alcohol, sex, and drug-use with occasional curse words.


Freeform is available on all the 4 pre-packaged bundles.

  • America's Top 120: comes with 190 channels. Also includes Disney, Lifetime, FX, HGTV, and WE.

  • America's Top 120+: comes with over 190 channels. This package includes regional sports channels such as Big Ten Network, Longhorn Network, and Pac-12 Network, and SEC.

  • America's Top 200+: comes with over 240 channels. Also includes Lifetime Movie Network, FYI, Bravo, Hallmark, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, OWN, Oxygen, Animal Planet, and Discover Family.

  • America's Top 250+: comes with more than 290 channels. Also includes Starz Encore, FOX Movie Channel, MoviePlex, and Nicktoons.

To learn more about the differences between packages and pricing, check out this article.


If you like Freeform but are craving more content, or if you like what you see but could use some additional options and alternatives, there are lots of channels to explore. Here are a few:

  • Hallmark Channel is similar to Freeform in its mission to provide family-friendly entertainment. Like Freeform, it has a mix of syndicated classics as well as original content in its popular movies and series. Hallmark also programs blocks of seasonal entertainment with a big push during the Christmas holidays. Hallmark is only available on America's Top 200 and above.

  • FX has a more edgy approach and will appeal to the same demographic that enjoys the dramas and comedies on Freeform. In fact, FX is becoming the next logical source of content as viewers move towards the upper edge of the 14-35 demographic. FX is available on all DISH packages.

  • MTV, also a staple of basic cable packages, has been slowly building its programmed series over the years. With shows that tend towards horror, dark comedy and action, it provides both an overlap and an alternative to the programming offered by Freeform. MTV tends to push the envelope more than Freeform, so viewers looking for edgier but similar content will likely find themselves at home with MTV. MTV is available on all DISH packages.


Is Freeform worth your money and time? The network has done the research and is attempting to provide entertainment proven to appeal to many individuals in the 14-35 age range. Whether you like dramas, comedies or a mix of new content and nostalgia, Freeform is likely to become an often visited stop when surfing the vast ocean of available channels should you decide to add it to your list of options.

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