Tom Ascheim, President, ABC Family, announce at its network upfront on Tuesday in New York that ABC Family was doubling-down on the life stage that has made it a leading voice in entertainment for W18-34, W18-49, F12-34 and a top five network with adults, in addition to having the most socially engaged audience. The network identified and coined the term ‘Becomers’ to describe people in this life stage. Traditionally, Becomers are in high school, college and the decade that follows and are navigating the wonderful, fun, exciting, and scary time in life when you experience the most firsts – first car, first apartment, first job, first love, first heartbreak – all the firsts that exists between who they are and who they want to become. Becomers are 69 million strong in the US, with an estimated spending power in the trillions.
“We are renewing our focus on an especially vibrant and important part of the consuming public, whom we have named ‘Becomers,’ and are committing to this life stage rather than to a generation,“ said Ascheim. Becomers are exploring and establishing who they are becoming – personally, professionally and romantically -- they live in that magical and messy place between their first kiss and their first kid. We are doubling our commitment to original programming and will serve their modern media habits with gusto by reconceiving our WATCH ABC Family app as a marriage of content and fandom that will make it a vital part of their viewing habit.”
Eleven years ago, ABC Family was ahead of the curve when it began super-serving Millennials to become their entertainment staple. Today, nearly 70% of 12-34 year-olds are Millennials but in five years, Millennials will be less than half of the target. For that reason, ABC Family is cementing itself in the Becomer life stage and will grow its reach by creating more programming with added variety, diversity and quality. Becomers live on the cutting edge of technology – they watch an average of four hours of television and somehow still find another three hours for their mobile devices. To meet their modern media habits, ABC Family is re-imagining the WATCH ABC Family app to put the network in the palm of their hands. On the younger end of these Becomers, they have never experienced content without a smart phone, streaming or social media while on the older end they have been influenced by their exposure to channels and networks. Becomers play a huge role in the businesses of advertisers and influence where people eat, the technology that is used, the places people go and how they get there.
ABC Family will reach the Becomer audience through its linear feed and an updated WATCH ABC Family app, launching this summer with a new look, feel and user experience, making it the ultimate fan destination by driving faster, deeper engagement with the programs our viewers love. Fans can connect with favorite shows, explore featured events and access a comprehensive episode guide that is curated with related content, ranging from photo galleries, behind-the-scenes video and social spotlights from Instagram, Twitter and more.
Becomers live somewhere in that messy place between their first kiss and their first kid. Somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 of Becomers are students, and not surprisingly, eight out of 10 are not married. According to network research, Becomers are universally optimistic on their winding path to adulthood, with 8 out of 10 feeling that the best is yet to come. One of the interesting things about the Becomer life stage is it remains an important memory throughout their lives. This focused brand lens will broaden the networks appeal.
To visually articulate the Becomer life stage on air, the network has moved into a graphic style that is more textured and organic, combined with a color palette of deep, varied hues. The creative philosophy of the brand is to be conversational, immersive, unpredictable, immediate, emotional and fun. ABC Family talent will be showcased in a new brand campaign that presents the stars in a more relatable and less artificial way – it is a ‘selfie’ approach rather than a ‘portrait’ approach. The look and feel aligns ABC Family’s brand essence with Becomers and captures the casual, vital and urgent way young people interact with one another. (Please open hyperlink for an example: https://youtu.be/7-dy-5NZJ64)
ABC Family also announced that it is breaking ground on a Becomer Insights Group (BIG) to provide more qualitative insight about our consumers. This Becomer Insight Group will conduct proprietary research and will join with other brand partners to become the owners and thought leaders of this intriguing and valuable audience.
Ahead of its largest rollout of original series in the network’s near 14 year history, ABC Family is the #1 ad-supported cable TV network in sales prime time based on advertising currency C3 ratings across Women 18-34 (237,000/0.7 rating), Women 18-49 (393,000/0.6 rating) and Females 12-34 (331,000/0.7 rating) and is a Top 5 ad-supported cable TV network in Adults 18-34 (#2 – 336,000/0.5 rating), Adults 18-49 (#4 – 586,000/0.5 rating) and Viewers 12-34 (#2 – 472,000/0.5 rating).
ABC Family is the only Top 10 cable TV network up season to season in Adults 18-49 (+9% – 586,000 vs. 537,000), Adults 18-34 (+4% – 336,000 vs. 324,000) and Women 18-34 (+1% – 237,000 vs. 234,000).
ABC Family has the most socially engaged audience, triumphant across multiple platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr), ranking as the #1 TV network season to date amassing over 8.5 million average engagements per show, +24% more than #2 AMC (6.9 million) and +63% more than the #1 broadcast network, The CW (5.2 million).
To maintain its position as a leader in providing original, groundbreaking content and deep fan engagement, ABC Family will double the amount of original programming it offers over the next four years. Over recent months, the network has announced the largest programing slate ever in the history of the channel. Anchored by its critically acclaimed original series that have become pop culture phenomena – “Pretty Little Liars,” “Switched At Birth,” “The Fosters,” “Chasing Life,” “Melissa and Joey,” “Baby Daddy” and “Young and Hungry” – the network will expand the amount of serialized dramas, comedies and unscripted fare it offers year round.
The strategy begins in June with new additions, including the procedural drama “Stitchers” and the unscripted reality drama “Becoming Us.“ “Pretty Little Liars” and “Stitchers” bow first on Tuesday, June 2nd, followed by “Melissa & Joey” and “Baby Daddy” on Wednesday, June 3rd. “The Fosters” and “Becoming Us” will then premiere on Monday, June 8th. Later this summer the comedy “Kevin From Work” and the reality series “Job or No Job,” “Monica the Medium,” “Startup U” and “Next Step Realty: NYC” will join the line-up.
McG at Wonderland Sound & Vision (“Charlie’s Angels,” “The O.C.,” “Supernatural,” “Chuck,” and “Kevin From Work”) will direct the first episode of “Shadowhunters” The Mortal Instruments epic saga, based on the best-selling book series by Cassandra Clare. The series will begin production in May and join the previously announced scripted drama “Recovery Road” when they premiere in early 2016.
ABC Family continues its commitment to tent-pole programming with its ever popular annual holiday events, including “25 Days of Christmas,” “Pop Up Santa,” “13 Nights of Halloween,” and “Fun Day.”
The network added two new pilots, “Gorgeous Morons” and “Beyond,” to its ambitious programming slate and is developing new projects, including “We Heart Disney,” a music spectacular featuring todays biggest pop stars singing classic Disney songs, “Hearts and Clubs” from executive producer and music icon Christina Aguilera; “You’ve Got To Work It” with executive producer Eva Longoria; based on the novel, “Famous In Love” with Bella Thorne and executive produced by I. Marlene King; ABC Signature Studios’ “Sold Out” from Irving Azoff, Andrea Abbate and Todd Holland and “I Am Maker” from World of Wonder and Maker Studios.
For complete descriptions of all the pilots, series, and development projects mentioned, please see below:
“Beyond” is a one-hour drama about a young man who wakes up from a coma after 12 years and discovers new Supernatural abilities that propel him into the middle of a dangerous conspiracy. From Imperative Entertainment and Automatik, “Beyond” is created, written and executive produced by Adam Nussdorf (“Once Upon A Time in Wonderland”). Tim Kring (“Heroes”), Zak Kadison, Justin Levy and Brian Kavanaugh-Jones will serve as Executive Producers.
From ABC Signature Studios, “Gorgeous Morons” is a half-hour multi-cam comedy that focuses on two stunningly handsome but ridiculously simple brothers – one is a model, the other a personal trainer – who find their lives rocked by their brainy new roommate, a female literature PhD whose looks are, by their standards, in desperate need of help. “Gorgeous Morons” is co-created and executive produced by Emmy® Award-nominated Lee Eisenberg & Gene Stupnitsky (“The Office,” “Bad Teacher,” “Hello Ladies,” “Trophy Wife”), alongside former “The Office” head writer Danny Chun (“Happy Endings,” “The Office,” “The Simpsons”). Chun is penning the script.
In the sixth season of the hit drama series “Pretty Little Liars”, the Liars solve the puzzle and unmask Charles, finally putting an end to the “A” game. “Pretty Little Liars” will premiere on Tuesday, June 2nd at 8:00 – 9:00 PM ET/PT.
ABC Family’s first procedural drama, “Stitchers,” follows Kirsten (Emma Ishta), a young woman recruited into a covert government agency to be ‘stitched’ into the minds of the recently deceased, using their memories to investigate murders and decipher mysteries that otherwise would have gone to the grave. Working alongside Kirsten is Cameron (Kyle Harris), a brilliant neuroscientist whose passion for the program is evident in his work. The secret program is headed by Maggie (Salli Richardson-Whitfield), a skilled veteran of covert operations, and includes Linus (Ritesh Rajan), a socially immature bioelectrical engineer and communications technician. Kirsten’s roommate, Camille (Allison Scagliotti), a gifted computer science grad student, is also recruited to use her skills to assist Kirsten in her new role as a ‘stitcher.’ Created and written by Jeffrey A. Schechter (“Overruled!”), who will executive produce alongside Jonathan Baruch and Rob Wolken, “Stitchers” stars newcomer Emma Ishta as Kirsten, Kyle Harris (“Carrie Diaries”) as Cameron, Ritesh Rajan (upcoming “Jungle Book” feature) as Linus, Salli Richardson-Whitfield (“Eureka,” “I Am Legend”) as Maggie, and Allison Scagliotti (“Warehouse 13”) as Camille. Todd Holland (“The Larry Sanders Show,” “Malcolm in the Middle”) will direct the premiere episode. ”Stitchers” will premiere on Tuesday, June 2nd at 9:00 – 10:00 PM ET/PT.
“Melissa & Joey” picks up where the first half of the season left off, with newlyweds Mel (Melissa Joan Hart) and Joe (Joey Lawrence) waiting to find out if she’s pregnant. Meanwhile, Ryder (Nick Robinson) announces he’s joining the Navy and Lennox (Taylor Spreitler) struggles with her feelings while working on a short film with her ex-boyfriend Zander (recurring guest star Sterling Knight). “Melissa & Joey” will premiere on Wednesday, June 3rd at 8:00 – 8:30 PM ET/PT.
In the summer premiere of “Baby Daddy,” Riley can’t face the mess she has made out of her relationships with Ben and Danny, so she runs home to her mom’s (Alex Kapp Horner) house in Jersey to hide from her problems. Once Ben realizes where Riley has gone, he stages a “friendervention” to get her to come home, but will Riley and Danny be able to move past their hurt feelings? Bonnie is thrilled when their next door neighbor, Evelyn, dies and plots to get the apartment listing. Once she discovers that Evelyn’s granddaughter Ashley (Lindsey Gort) is a big Danny Wheeler fan and knows all his hockey stats, Bonnie tries to trade her son for the listing, despite the fact that Danny is still dating Robyn (Christa B. Allen). Meanwhile, Tucker is determined to get his hands on the items Evelyn promised him. Eddie Cibrian (“The Playboy Club”) and country superstar Reba McEntire also guest star later this season. “Baby Daddy” will premiere on Wednesday, June 3rd at 8:30 – 9:00 PM ET/PT.
Now in its third season, the critically-acclaimed drama “The Fosters” picks up during summer, a few weeks after the cliffhanger finale left off, as the family deals with the aftermath of the terrible car accident involving Mariana, Jesus and their pregnant biological mother Ana. Now that Callie is back at the Adams Foster's home, she is feeling secure for the first time in a long time and determined to have a summer of free-spirited fun, including trying her best to get over Brandon. Meanwhile, Brandon is going to Idyllwild Music Program where he will be faced with serious competition. Jude and Connor continue to develop their relationship and what it means to be a young teen exploring new love. Stef and Lena continue to face challenges as a couple and as parents, yet are determined to fight through them together. “The Fosters” will premiere on Monday, June 8th at 8:00 – 9:00 PM ET/PT.
The groundbreaking new unscripted drama series “Becoming Us” (formerly known as “My Transparent Life”) centers on a teenager named Ben who is learning to live with his dad becoming a woman. The series will follow Ben, his family and his friends as they support one another through this unexpected journey and navigate their new world with Charlie now living as Carly. The show is a generational story of a loving family and circle of friends supporting one another through this unfamiliar situation. “Becoming Us” will premiere on Monday, June 8th at 9:00 – 10:00 PM ET/PT.
Series Premieres Coming Later This Summer
“Monica the Medium” is a fascinating look at Monica, a junior at Penn State navigating friends, family, relationships – and the fact that she’s a medium and can talk to dead people. Her uncommon vocation provides an endless supply of emotional and engaging stories, with a unique millennial perspective. The show is produced by Dave Caplan's Trooper Entertainment in association with Lionsgate TV. Caplan will serve as executive producer alongside Malachi McGlone.
“Job or No Job” is an unscripted series from the producers of “Undercover Boss” that follows one young adult per episode on his/her journey to land a first job. Each job seeker will Go On three interviews, and we will watch the intense ride to find out if he or she lands three, two, one – or zero offers. The series is produced by Studio Lambert/All3Media America. Stephen Lambert, Eli Holzman, Greg Goldman and Sara Quick serve as executive producers.
From Lincoln Square Productions, comes “Next Step Realty: NYC,” a business based docu-series following the passionate and ambitious employees of Next Step Realty. The Manhattan-based real estate firm specializes in helping recent college graduates find their apartments in New York City while navigating interpersonal and professional conflicts in the workplace. Danielle Rossen (“What Would You Do?”) serves as the executive producer.
“Kevin from Work,” a half-hour workplace comedy, centers on Kevin, a young man who declares his unrequited love for his coworker Audrey in a letter, believing he’ll never see her again after he accepts a job overseas. But when the opportunity falls through and Kevin is forced to return to his old job, how will he and Audrey continue to work together now that his feelings are no longer secret? The series is written, created and executive-produced by Barbie Adler (“How I Met Your Mother,”). Aaron Kaplan at Kapital Entertainment (“Chasing Life”) and McG at Wonderland Sound & Vision (“Charlie’s Angels”) serve as Executive Producers. The comedy stars Noah Reid (“Backpackers“) as Kevin, Paige Spara as Audrey, Matt Murray (“Rookie Blue”) as Brian, Jordan Hinson (“Eureka”) as Roxie, Punam Patel as Patti, with guest star Amy Sedaris (“Strangers with Candy”) as Julia.
“Startup U” is an unscripted, one-hour series from the producers of “House of Food” that follows a group of entrepreneurial millennials as they embark on a semester at Draper University in Silicon Valley. Led by billionaire founder and venture capitalist Tim Draper, the seven-week program teaches the fundamentals of launching a startup company under the mentorship of America’s business leaders. In the end, students pitch their ideas to a panel of hungry venture capitalists with the hope that they'll receive a life-changing investment to launch their business. To date, more than 150 Draper graduates have received funding totaling more than $15 million from mogul investors and Tim Draper himself. Brimming with innovation and determination, “Startup U” pulls back the curtain on what it takes to achieve success in the most innovative and competitive marketplace in the world. Viewers join a group of savvy millennials as they suffer through hard lessons and grab opportunities with both hands, all in the pursuit of their dreams. “Startup U” is produced by Ugly Brother Studios, a Sky Vision partner. Mike Duffy, Tim Duffy and Tim Draper serve as executive producers.
Returning Series Coming Later This Summer
“Young & Hungry” returns with more episodes with Gabi continuing to cook up drama and laughs in Josh’s kitchen and his life! Josh rolls out his biggest app yet; Elliot revels in the state of his love life; and Yolanda gets even closer to Gabi and Sofia. “Pretty Little Liars” star Keegan Allen guest stars in one episode as Tyler.
Starting moments after Leo’s surprising marriage proposal, season two of “Chasing Life” will find April trying to live life to the fullest despite of her recent relapse. From wedding dress shopping to a surprise trip, and a bachelorette party ending in jail time, April is determined to enjoy everything. Meanwhile, the rest of the Carver family must deal with the effects of April’s illness and choices as the medical bills start to mount up and questions arise about the surprising engagement.
In the fourth season of “Switched At Birth,” Bay continues to deal with the fall-out of her assault and her break-up with Emmett, and Daphne struggles to find a balance between college and a new love. The Kennish family is rocked by news of an unexpected pregnancy.
Programming Coming in Early 2016
Based on the bestselling young adult fantasy book series The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare, “Shadowhunters” follows 18-year-old Clary Fray, who finds out on her birthday that she is not who she thinks she is but rather comes from a long line of Shadowhunters – human-angel hybrids who hunt down demons. When her mother Jocelyn is kidnapped, Clary is thrown into the world of demon hunting with mysterious Shadowhunter Jace and her best friend, Simon. Now living among faeries, warlocks, vampires and werewolves, Clary begins a journey of self-discovery as she learns more about her past and what her future may hold. McG, who serves as executive producer, will also direct the first episode.
“Recovery Road,” based on the popular young adult novel by Blake Nelson, focuses on a teenage girl dealing with addiction. Maddie (Jessica Sula, UK’s “Skins”) has a reputation as a party girl who doesn’t think she has a problem, until she’s confronted one day by her school guidance counselor (Alexis Carra) and is forced to choose between expulsion and rehab. Maddie makes the difficult decision to live with other recovering addicts at a sober living facility while facing the daily pressures of her teenage life. Sebastian De Souza, Kyla Pratt, Sharon Leal, Daniel Franzese and David Witts also star.
“Hearts and Clubs” (Working title)
There are glamor, thrills and broken hearts around every corner in the alluring city of Las Vegas. Executive producer and music icon Christina Aguilera brings all that to life in an addicting new drama series “Hearts and Clubs.” The show celebrates the intersecting lives of young performers as they chase their dreams and fight off their demons in the always-unpredictable Sin City. With an incredible soundtrack, this series will capture the pulse of Las Vegas where everyone craves acceptance, yet no one ever really fits in. Along with Aguilera, the one-hour drama comes from Austin Winsberg (“Gossip Girl”), Matthew Rutler, Prospect Park and Lionsgate TV.
“Famous In Love” (Working title)
Based on the novel by Rebecca Serle, “Famous In Love” follows ordinary college student Paige as she gets her big break after auditioning for the starring role in a Hollywood blockbuster. She must now navigate her new star-studded life and undeniable chemistry with her two co-leads while uncovering the truth about what happened to a famous missing popstar. Bella Thorne (“The Duff”) will star as Paige. The pilot is executive produced by I. Marlene King (“Pretty Little Liars”) and Warner Horizon TV.
“Sold Out” (Working title)
The ensemble scripted comedy from ABC Signature Studios, “Sold Out” is about a young band hitting the road for their first-ever tour. Turns out living the dream can sometimes be a nightmare – but it’s sure funny to watch. The project will be written by Andrea Abbate and is executive produced by Irving Azoff and will be directed by Todd Holland.
“I Am Maker” (Working title)
Emmy® Award-winning producers World Of Wonder will team with Maker Studios to share an unprecedented look at what it takes to become a successful You Tube star today. Inspired by the true roots of Maker Studios, “I Am Maker” is an aspirational docu-series that follows a group of up-and-coming YouTube sensations who will live together and be mentored by the biggest Maker talent endeavoring to connect their authentic voices with a huge audience.
“You’ve Got To Work It” (Working title)
From Eva Longoria and ITV studios, this successful UK format comes to the US market. “You’ve Got To Work It” follows eight unemployed girls from diverse backgrounds who get a crash course in the working world – vying for seven job opportunities in seven very different industries. The girls will also have complete head-to-toe and emotional makeovers with the hope they change their ways, step up to the plate, and land a coveted job to kick start their career.
“We Heart Disney” (Working Title)
ABC Family presents the “We Heart Disney” music spectacular featuring some of today’s biggest pop stars singing classic Disney songs. David Foster and Nigel Lythgoe (“American Idol”) will serve as executive producers.