Before FreeForm, there was Fox Family Channel. A cable network owned by Fox via Fox Family Worldwide, serving as the cable counterpart to Fox Kids Network, as well as the closest thing Fox had to a Nickelodeon, Disney Channel or Cartoon Network competitor. A lack of hit programming, and internal conflicts between Fox and Hiam Saban led to them selling the whole division in 2001 to Disney. Disney took control of Fox Family, re-tooling it as ABC Family, Fox sold what was left of their children's lineup to 4Kids, and the whole deal took Fox out of the kids entertainment business permanently. With the advent of 21st Century Fox looking to sell off all their entertainment units to Disney, I thought it might be fun to imagine how things might've played out differently. Specifically, what if Fox Family never failed? What if it could do to Kids networks, what the Fox Network did for broadcast networks, as in, establish itself as a viable "fourth" network in the market? Here's how I think Fox Family could've succeeded, and what things would be like today if that was the case. * Get Saban out of the Picture - Part of Fox Family's failure can be traced all the way back to 1996, when Fox Kids merged with Saban Entertainment. The resulting deal formed Fox Kids Worldwide, the new parent company for Fox Kids Network, Saban Entertainment, and later, Fox Family Channel, with Hiam Saban owning 50% of the whole unit. Internal conflicts with Fox and Saban led to the downfall of the company however. So if Fox Family was to succeed, there needs to be no outside forces. Fox should've bought the channel on their own, and avoid the whole Fox Kids/Saban merger altogether. A short-term partnership with Saban however, would be fine. Avoiding the merger would not only have helped Fox Family, but it also would've helped Fox Kids in the long run. * Have in-house cartoons from Twentieth Century Fox Television - I think the reason Fox Kids and Fox Family died was because TCF Television didn't produce anything for them, it was really Saban and other companies doing the work. Nickelodeon, Disney Channel, and Cartoon Network all have in-house studios that produce the bulk of their original series. So Fox Kids and Fox Family needed the same. Fox needed to make sure they had an in-house animation unit at TCF Television that their networks can feed off of. Actually, as a matter of fact, Fox does have an animation unit, they work on The Simpsons, Family Guy, Futurama, etc. get them to do some kids shows as well. * Make sure an original animated series is a smash hit - The closest thing Fox Family had to a poster child in it's short life was the Canadian series, Angela Anaconda. That's not going to cut it. Going along with #2, Make sure one of those in-house animated series is big hit. Along the lines of Rugrats, SpongeBob, Powerpuff Girls, Recess, or at the very least, Kim Possible. Something that kids and adults could enjoy, and was strong enough that it could carry the channel pretty much on its own if needed. A lack of hit programming is what led to Fox Family and eventually Fox Kids' downfall. Now that we laid out how to make Fox Family a success, let's see how this alternate reality could play out. * Fox Family starts off slow, but is able to establish itself as a viable alternative to the big three thanks to it's family focus. * Fox Family gets its first breakout cartoon hit in 2002/2003, and becomes the network's longest running show. * Fox Kids and Fox Family continue to regularly share programming and staff, with Fox Kids using the latter as a second-run outlet for their shows. * Ratings start to stagnate around 2005, possibly due to Fox splitting their resources between two kids networks. * In 2006, Fox announces that Fox Kids and Fox Family will merge to form a new kids channel. Fox Kids ceases Weekday operations December of that year. * This new channel replaces Fox Family in 2007, with Fox selling the remaining Fox Kids Saturday block to an outside producer, so that they can focus on just one kids platform. * Around the same time, a new commercial-free digital cable channel, ala Boomerang. Is created purely to archive all Fox animation. * Fox's kids channel continues to be active to this day, adapting to the rise of streaming like it's competitors are doing as well. That's how I think Fox could've salvaged its kids business. Shame too, had the whole falling out with Saban not have happened, I felt Fox could've held their own against Viacom, Turner and Disney.