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A decision was made to sell the venture to a third-party. and Saban had agreed to sell Fox Family Worldwide to Disney Enterprises for .9 billion in cash plus the assumption of .3 billion in debt.The sale gave Disney control of the Fox Family Channel, the Saban Entertainment library and the international Fox Kids cable networks controlled by Fox Family Worldwide, among other assets.In the wake of Fox Family's struggles, Saban offered to acquire the stake in the network held by News Corp.(which had also begun negotiations to acquire television provider Direc TV) but was unable to agree to a proper valuation.Its programming is similar to that of FX and Sundance TV, which includes contemporary off-network syndicated reruns and original series, feature films, and made-for-TV original movies.Since the network was launched in April 1977, it has undergone various changes to its programming format and naming under its four different owners; the network was founded as the CBN Satellite Service, an extension of televangelist Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network.Disney-ABC developed a programming strategy to turn ABC Family into a "broad-appeal programming network with its own identity", picking up same-season encores of ABC series such as Alias, Less Than Perfect, and Life with Bonnie; adding a weeknight sitcom block; and continuing to emphasize movies – having already reached a ten-year agreement for the cable rights to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.The network also announced plans to develop new original series, though several series that originated on the channel under the Fox Family identity were canceled (such as the 1960s-set period dramedy State of Grace), and the channel scaled back its made-for-cable movie output.
Disney-ABC chose not to move forward with the "XYZ" rebranding, allegedly due to a stipulation thought to have been put in place by Pat Robertson during the sale of the network to Fox, which allegedly mandated that the word "Family" must be contained in the name of the channel for the entirety of its existence, regardless as to who owns it.
Managed by Pat Robertson's eldest son Timothy, IFE was co-owned by the Robertsons, with a minority interest held by Liberty Media and Tele-Communications Inc. As The Family Channel, it attracted a slightly older (and religious) audience that is not sought by advertisers; only about one-third of homes with television viewers that watched the network included children or youths among its audience.