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Canada lights up for ABC Spark

Disney-ABC Family Television Group and Corus Entertainment have cut a deal to launch a new Canadian network based on ABC Family.

The 24-hour channel, ABC Spark, will be derived from the kids- and family-orientated US cablenet and launch across Canada on March 26 with character-driven series such as Switched at Birth, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Melissa & Joey, Make It or Break It, Jane By Design.

NATPE 2012Further programming and scheduling details will follow in coming weeks, but the channel will have the same look and feel as ABC Family, which is in about 98 million US homes and ranks among the best performing cable networks for youth-skewed and young adult audiences.

“ABC Family has found tremendous success with a programming strategy committed to high-calibre productions featuring powerful storylines, memorable characters and a combination of new and established talent,” said Corus VP and head of networks and networks and marketing Susan Schaefer. “We are confident that these shows will resonate with audiences across the country.”

It’s unclear why the ABC Family moniker wasn’t used but Astral Media already operates a cable channel called Family in Canada. Neither ABC nor Toronto-based Corus could be contacted this morning to clarify.

From Monday, January 16, Corus local nets YTV, W Network and CMT will air nested programming blocks of the channel’s exclusive shows to promote its launch. Switched at Birth, which stars Katie LeClerc, will run every Monday at 21.00, with W broadcasting it every Saturday at 12.00 from January 21. Melissa & Joey, meanwhile, will air on CMT.

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