Launched in December 1996, HBO Family features movies and series aimed at children, as well as feature films intended for a broader family audience. It airs a block of series aimed at preschoolers, "Jam", each morning from 6:00 to 11:00 a.m. and weekday afternoons from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific Time; films and family-oriented original specials fill out the remainder of the channel's daily schedule. All films broadcast on HBO Family are rated G, PG or PG-13 (or the equivalent TV-G, TV-PG or TV-14); R-rated films and TV-MA rated programs are not broadcast on the channel. children's programs formerly ran on the main HBO channel in the form of a daily morning block, with specials airing during the late afternoon/early evening hours; these programs migrated entirely to HBO Family by the early 2000s.
HBO Family is HBO's third (and only successful) venture at a family-oriented pay service: two similarly formatted standalone mini-pay services that were launched by the network, Take 2 in 1979 and Festival in 1987, both ceased operations after short existences. Despite being a premium service, cable providers have occasionally used HBO Family to temporarily replace television stations that were dropped due to carriage disputes with providers such as during Hearst Television's 2012 dispute with Time Warner Cable that resulted in TWC's associated Bright House Networks system substituting independent station WMOR-TV with the channel in Tampa, Florida, and a dispute between Cox Communications and LIN TV in which HBO Family temporarily replaced Fox affiliate WVBT from Cox's Hampton Roads, Virginia system from January to February 2000