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As a result, a few televangelists began to produce stripped programs to air on the network each weekday.

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On January 8 of that year, CBN spun off The CBN Family Channel to International Family Entertainment Inc.(a newly formed company founded by Pat Robertson's eldest son and CBN Family network president, Timothy Robertson, and operated as a joint venture between the Robertson family and John C.On August 1, 1981, the channel was relaunched as the CBN Cable Network.At that time of the name change, it was concurrently repositioned as an advertiser-supported "family-friendly" entertainment network, although the channel continued to offer religious programs that occupied about a third of its daily schedule.The American cable and satellite television network Freeform was originally launched as the CBN Satellite Service on April 29, 1977, and has gone through several different owners (as well as six different name changes) during its history.

This article details the network's existence from its founding by the Christian Broadcasting Network on April 29, 1977 to its current ownership under The Walt Disney Company, which renamed ABC Family as Freeform on January 12, 2016.As a stipulation of the sale to International Family Entertainment, the channel was required to continue to carry The 700 Club (a stipulation that Pat Robertson also imposed when the channel was sold to Fox Family Worldwide in 1997 and then to The Walt Disney Company) (now known as Disney Enterprises, Inc.) (in 2001).This time-buy clause (which also mandates that the program air at suitable time slots that would allow it to attract decent viewership) was the only requirement that Robertson included in sales terms for the network to its subsequent owners.The network was founded by Pat Robertson as the CBN Satellite Service, an arm of his television ministry, the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN).When the channel launched on April 29, 1977, it became the first basic cable channel to be transmitted via satellite from its launch and, effectively, the first national basic cable-originated network (TBS – which began transmitting via satellite in December 1976 – originated as a feed of broadcast television station WTCG (later WTBS and now WPCH-TV) in Atlanta, Georgia; the national version of the channel did not exist until 1981, when the Turner Broadcasting System launched a separate feed of WTBS for distribution to cable systems outside the Atlanta market containing national advertisements).That year, International Family Entertainment and Flextech jointly launched an international version of The Family Channel in the United Kingdom; on February 3, 1997, that channel eventually relaunched as the game show-dedicated network Challenge (an outgrowth of "Family Challenge Weekend", a weekend game show block that debuted on The Family Channel U. in October 1996), following IFE's sale of its 61% controlling interest to Flextech in April 1996.