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August 29, 2014

ABC Family Finally Coming to Canada -- as ABC Spark

by Denette Wilford, posted Oct 26th 2011 4:30PM
The world of television is a fickle one. Where procedurals and medical dramas once reigned supreme, they have since been taken over by reality shows and talent competitions. There is one exception, though. A genre that doesn't ever seem to fall by the wayside is the teen drama. From 'Beverly Hills, 90210' to 'Gossip Girl' to 'Pretty Little Liars,' soaps targeting teenagers (and let's face it, some adults, too) will never leave television.

In its seven years, ABC Family has been a growing network in the U.S. (available in more than 98 million homes), and Canadians have been fortunate enough to see some of the channel's hits -- 'PLL,' 'Greek,' 'The Secret Life of an American Teenager' -- on MuchMusic, which is owned by Bell Media.

But thanks to a deal between Disney/ABC Television Group and Corus Entertainment, Canadians who have been hankering for 'Melissa & Joey,' 'Make It or Break It,' 'Switched at Birth,' 'The Lying Game' and the upcoming 'Jane By Design' can rest easy, because those shows are finally coming north of the border, to a channel called ABC Spark.

Can we get an amen?!

ABC Spark is a 24-hour channel and will feature many of the ABC Family hits.

"We're thrilled to join Corus in bringing our successful series and resonant millennial brand to Canada," said Michael Riley, president, ABC Family, in a release. "We're confident that Canadian viewers will respond passionately to shows like 'Switched at Birth,' 'The Lying Game' and 'Secret Life of the American Teenager' in this new branded environment, just as viewers have in the U.S. and around the world."

ABC Spark will aim to grab "young adult millennial viewers." In other words, the same demographic as ABC Family in the U.S. -- the 15-34 group which make up 1.7-plus billion consumers worldwide. Canada comprises roughly 10 million of that, so in a nutshell, it's a win-win for both ABC and Corus, who are teaming up for the first time in a licensing deal of this magnitude.

Corus Entertainment already owns some of the nation's most notable specialty stations, including Treehouse, YTV, W Network, Teletoon, Nickelodeon and OWN, and also owns paid stations The Movie Network, Movie Central and HBO Canada.

ABC Spark will launch in Spring 2012, though what happens to 'PLL' and 'Secret Life' as Bell shows remains to be seen.

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