Yes, Pat Robertson’s Christian talk show The 700 Club will continue to air even when ABC Family becomes known as Freeform. “The 700 Club will continue to air on Freeform,” the network said in a statement. “It was part of a longstanding agreement that was made when Disney first acquired the network.” As a result, TV Insider went into the history of the deal: The network originally began as the Christian Broadcasting Network in 1977, which aired Robertson’s show. There was a series of name-changes and deals throughout the years, with Disney/ABC buying the network in 2001, but throughout it all, the main stipulation was that The 700 Club would remain on air with a good time slot.
According to an unnamed source, the network tried to buy out Robertson, but the price quoted was “astronomical.” The 700 Club is valuable property for Robertson: CBN’s most recent tax audit shows its airtime is worth $42.4 million annually. “We thought we could negotiate it and give him a lot of money. But that was never [Robertson’s] intention,” an unnamed source told TV Insider. “The language is ironclad. I don’t know what it would take at this point to get rid of it.”
The network and The 700 Club seem to be content with ignoring one another. Freeform/ABC Family continues its forays into edgier programming, which includes the much-beloved show The Fosters, about an interracial lesbian couple that adopts at-risk youths, and Pretty Little Liars, a show about beautiful but meddlesome sleuths. The ABC Family website doesn’t even link to The 700 Club on its schedule. But The 700 Club will remain as long as the Robertsons want. Chris Roslan, a spokesperson for CBN, said, “The 700 Club will continue to air now and in perpetuity on the network, no matter what the name.”