The network – which is mainly carried on the digital subchannels of ViacomCBS' owned-and-operated stations as well as television stations owned by other broadcasting companies, and is transmitted in the 480i widescreen format – features a broad mix of topical lifestyle programming (including cooking, home renovation, home, and interior design, do it yourself, pet care and travel series) aimed mainly at women between the ages of 25 and 54 years old.
On June 17, 2019, CBS Television Distribution announced plans to launch Dabl that September, formatting the network around "informative, project-based, feel-good content" consisting of archived lifestyle programming anchored by content from the libraries of lifestyle expert Martha Stewart and chef Emeril Lagasse.
Steve LoCascio, chief operating officer and chief financial officer of CBS Global Distribution Group, revealed to Variety upon the announcement that CBS Television Distribution had been discussing launching a lifestyle program in first-run syndication for years prior to the development of the network and noted that Dabl's format was specifically chosen because of the advertising sales favorability of the genre.
At the time of the announcement, Create (operated by a consortium led by American Public Television) – which serves as Dabl's main competitor – was the only national digital multicast service to center around lifestyle programming.
However, no such service had existed on commercial broadcast television: six months earlier in January 2019, Ion Media had converted Ion Life (which was subsequently renamed Ion Plus in early July) from a lifestyle service to a drama-focused entertainment format to complement its parent network Ion Television and better utilize the primary channel affiliations it gained in certain markets through spectrum incentive auction-related channel sharing agreements (mainly involving the Trinity Broadcasting Network); Disney–ABC Television Group had rolled back the distribution of its Live Well Network exclusively to sister network ABC's owned-and-operated stations in April 2015.
The network is the first CBS-owned property that has its operations built and operated using cloud computing and is transmitting through CBS's media operations platform, which utilizes both automation and cloud-enabled technology. CBS-owned affiliates began receiving a rolling feed of network promotional spots on September 8, 2019; Dabl launched on September 9 at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time, with the 2005 premiere episode of The Martha Stewart Show as the network's initial telecast.
The network relies upon a mix of lifestyle programming from the libraries of various programming distributors. For the network's initial schedule, CBS acquired the rights to series hosted by Martha Stewart (consisting of the weekly-turned-daily conventional lifestyle series Martha Stewart Living and her later daily talk show effort. The Martha Stewart Show) and various Food Network series hosted by Emeril Lagasse (initially consisting of his first series, Essence of Emeril) to serve as Dabl's headlining programs.
It subsequently acquired the rights to programs hosted by dog training expert Cesar Millan (initially consisting only of Cesar 911), as well as other lifestyle experts whose programs were not initially included on its schedule (including chef Jamie Oliver and home improvement expert Bob Vila).
The network also acquired the rights to several series from A+E Networks (including Find & Design, Flip This House and Sell This House) as well as two series already available in conventional first-run syndication, Doctor and The Diva (a vehicle for former American Idol contestant Kimberly Locke and physician and medical expert Steve Salvatore that made its syndication debut on the day of the network's launch) and the Canadian talk show CityLine (under an agreement with the program's U.S. distributor, PPI Releasing).