5:00pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
Freeform Goes 'Bold' With "Forward"-Looking Branding
Two years after rebranding from ABC Family, Freeform is getting a bit of a makeover.
Network president Tom Ascheim on Thursday announced at the first-ever Freeform Summit in Los Angeles that his Disney-owned younger-skewing cable network was introducing a new logo and mindset, complete with a new tagline.
"At Freeform, we’re purposefully and passionately moving our brand forward by defying expectations and dismantling conventions; busting stereotypes of theme, cast and culture in service to a more inclusive world on and off screen,” said the exec, who recently extended his contract with the network.
A clip promoting Freeform's latest evolution suggested that the network features programming that is "sweet," "funny," "scary" and "desperate" and that what holds all of those characteristics together is the fact that they're all "forward"-looking. Meaning programming like The Bold Type, Famous in Love, Siren and more forward (as in the direction, attitude and honesty). The network's first post-rebranding tagline is "A little forward." (Check out the new logo and tagline, plus the clip promoting Freeform's new approach, below.)
When Ascheim oversaw the rebranding to Freeform, he stressed that the network was looking to target "becomers," a group of viewers in the 18-34 demographic who are experiencing a series of firsts (like love and jobs). The new tagline is a way of honing in on what has worked for Freeform in the past two years: forward-looking fare like critical favorite magazine drama The Bold Type and Grown-ish.
To that end, Freeform announced development of scripted drama Augs, produced by Scott Stewart (Dark Skies) and Anonymous Content. The project is set in the near future when society is divided into two classes — the privileged "augs" who can afford technological-biological enhancements that provide an always-connected augmented reality view of the world; and "norms," the disenfranchised rest who have become a nearly invisible underclass. Set in the moneyed, suburban enclave of Cambio Point, Augs follows Gennifer Wells, an ambitious and popular aug girl who falls in love with Bodhi Bright, the mysterious new guy in town. The only problem is he's a norm, causing her friends and family to turn against her.
Augs joins newly announced development including an immigration-themed reboot of Party of Five and genre drama Cleopatra.
Since rebranding, Freeform has said farewell to network-defining hit Pretty Little Liars (though it is developing a spinoff that is considered a slam dunk to go to series); announced the final season of GLAAD Award-winning drama The Fosters (with a spinoff also in the works); launched and handed out a two-season renewal for The Bold Type; picked up Bella Thorne vehicle Famous in Love for a sophomore run; and rescued the Black-ish spinoff Grown-ish after ABC passed on the offshoot. Up next are comedy Alone Together (renewed ahead of its debut), mermaid drama Siren and Marvel's Cloak and Dagger. (Freeform's slate also includes genre plays Beyond and Shadowhunters.) The network this year changed how it rolls out original scripted fare, shifting to four nights a week with blockbuster movies serving as lead-ins as part of a play to expand the audience for pricey dramas and comedies.
The cabler also used Thursday's event to announce a premiere date and debut the trailer for Cloak and Dagger (Thursday, June 7, at 8 p.m. ET/PT) and set the returns for The Bold Type (Tuesday, June 12, at 8 p.m.) and Famous in Love (Wednesday, April 4, at 8 p.m.).
Watch the Cloak and Dagger trailer, below.