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<tr><th style="background:transparent; padding-right:2.0em; line-height:1.1em;">Type</th><td class="" style="line-height:1.2em; vertical-align:middle;">Broadcasttelevision network, satellite television network</td></tr><tr><th style="background:transparent; padding-right:2.0em; line-height:1.1em;">Country</th><td class="" style="line-height:1.2em; vertical-align:middle;">United States</td></tr><tr><th style="background:transparent; padding-right:2.0em; line-height:1.1em;">Availability</th><td class="" style="line-height:1.2em; vertical-align:middle;">National (but not available in all markets)</td></tr><tr><th style="background:transparent; padding-right:2.0em; line-height:1.1em;">Founded</th><td class="" style="line-height:1.2em; vertical-align:middle;">by Lowell 'Bud' Paxson</td></tr><tr><th style="background:transparent; padding-right:2.0em; line-height:1.1em;">Slogan</th><td class="" style="line-height:1.2em; vertical-align:middle;">Your Home for Popular TV Favorites</td></tr><tr><th style="background:transparent; padding-right:2.0em; line-height:1.1em;">Owner</th><td class="" style="line-height:1.2em; vertical-align:middle;">ION Media Networks</td></tr><tr><th style="background:transparent; padding-right:2.0em; line-height:1.1em;">Key people</th><td class="" style="line-height:1.2em; vertical-align:middle;">R. Brandon Burgess</td></tr><tr><th style="background:transparent; padding-right:2.0em; line-height:1.1em;">Launch date</th><td class="" style="line-height:1.2em; vertical-align:middle;">August 31, 1998 (as PAX TV)</td></tr><tr><th style="background:transparent; padding-right:2.0em; line-height:1.1em;">Former names</th><td class="" style="line-height:1.2em; vertical-align:middle;">Pax (1998-2005)
i (2005-2007)</td></tr><tr><td colspan="2" class="" style="text-align:center; line-height:1.2em; vertical-align:middle;">Website
www.ionline.tv</td></tr><tr><td colspan="2" class="" style="text-align:center; line-height:1.2em; vertical-align:middle;">|}</td></tr>

</table> ION Television is a broadcast television network first broadcast on August 31, 1998. The network is owned by ION Media Networks (formerly Paxson Communications). As of 2006, the network was viewable in approximately 91 million homes, "or 83% of primetime television households in the U.S. through [its] broadcast television station group and pursuant to distribution arrangements with cable and satellite distribution systems."[1] The network has 94 owned-and-operated or affiliate stations in the U.S.

The network changed its name from PAX TV to i: Independent Television on July 1, 2005, and then to ION Television on January 29, 2007.

History

File:PAXlogo.png

Named PaxNet, then shortly after, PAX TV in 1998 by Lowell 'Bud' Paxson, co-founder of the Home Shopping Network and chairman of Paxson Communications, the network can be seen as a "semi-descendant" of InTV, launched in 1996; a shared-time specialty broadcast network service similar to cable channel Product Information Network, broadcasting infomercials and other paid advertisements on various affiliates, most being UHF channels. The network also aired religious programming at night from The Worship Network during the late night hours and contemporary Christian television network Praise TV Friday and Saturday nights from 12:00-3:00AM ET/PT.

Paxson, a born-again Christian since 1985, was unhappy with the amount of sex, violence, and profanity on network television and decided to create a network which would carry only programming devoid of such content.Template:Fact About all of InTV's affiliate stations ended up affiliating with PAX. PAX's initial schedule was much larger in scope than it is today and consisted of general entertainment programs from 12:00PM-12:00AM ET/PT weekdays and paid programming from 12:00-1:00AM and 5:00AM-12:00PM ET/PT and all afternoon Saturdays and Sundays. PAX continued on with the airing of programming from Worship from InTV.

Initial programming on the network consisted of new shows, such as It's a Miracle (the network's longest-running program, airing from just after the network's inception until 2003), the game show The Reel to Reel Picture Show, and talk shows Woman's Day and Great Day America, along with reruns of older programming, including Highway to Heaven, Here's Lucy, The Hogan Family, Dave's World, and Touched by an Angel.[2] While the network was known as PAX TV, it created some original dramas such as Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye and Doc, which have since been cancelled, but reruns of the two shows were being shown on ION Television as of October 1, 2007.

The network's wholesome family-friendly format was lampooned by other television series such as The Simpsons, Will & Grace, and MADtv.Template:Fact

From PAX to i

File:I independent television logo.jpg

On June 28, 2005, Paxson announced it would rebrand PAX as i, in order to reflect a new strategy of "providing an independent broadcast platform for producers and syndicators who desire to reach a national audience." After the transition was complete, PAX TV would continue to air programming under its PAX brand on one of its digital channels over the air and in select cable homes (see below). Some media observers jocularly postulated that i was code for "infomercial."

With this rebranding also came the following changes to the programming lineup:

  • i dropped overnight programming from The Worship Network, which had been airing late nights on the network since its launch in August 1998. The time period is now leased to infomercials. Worship programming moved to a digital subchannel on local i affiliates.
  • In many markets starting in the Fall of 2002, i had aired editions of local newscasts from local NBC affiliate stations. Two i stations, KPXB in Houston and WQPX in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, aired newscasts from non-NBC affiliate stations (CBS affiliate KHOU and ABC affiliate WNEP, respectively). This was discontinued from some i station lineups on June 30, 2005. The change also displaced local news on WVPX in the Cleveland market, which was aimed at the station's former target area of Akron, Ohio. The newscast was produced by NBC affiliate WKYC in Cleveland, and moved to Time Warner Cable's systems in Akron and Canton, Ohio.
  • Also dropped was "Tomorrow's Weather Tonight", a five-minute segment featuring current weather and forecasts from WeatherVision which had aired on the channel since 2000.

Programming

Template:Main ION operates on a 43½-hour network programming schedule, which it adopted in April 2008.[3] It provides 40 hours of prime time general entertainment programming to affiliated stations from 5-11pm weekday/6-11pm weekends (all times ET/PT), along with a 3½-hour children's programming block known as qubo on Fridays from 1:30 to 5:00pm ET/PT. All other times are filled with religious programming or infomercials.

Primetime schedule

Comedies are in pink; dramas are in green; movies are in red; news programming is in brown; health programs are in blue; game shows are in orange; other programming is in grey.

Among series slated for future broadcast; M*A*S*H and Boston Legal are coming to ION Television beginning Fall 2008,[4][5] while Criminal Minds and Ghost Whisperer will be added to the ION Television lineup beginning in 2009.[6][7]

On May 1, 2008, ION Television released its new programming plan for the 2008–2009 season at the New York Public Library in New York City. In addition to the "new" programming as described, ION plans on starting its regular programming at 4PM ET / PT. [8]

The 10th Kingdom is joining ION Television's Friday night programming block beginning August 8 2008.[9]

ION Television
100px </span>
Primetime 5:00 PM 5:30 PM 6:00 PM 6:30 PM 7:00 PM 7:30 PM 8:00 PM 8:30 PM 9:00 PM 9:30 PM 10:00 PM 10:30 PM
Sunday Paid Programming 48 Hours Mystery RHI Movie Weekend
Monday Hangin' with Mr. Cooper The Steve Harvey Show Family Feud Quantum Leap The Dead Zone ER
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday Total Theatre Thursday 48 Hours Mystery
Friday Flash Gordon RHI Movie Weekend
Saturday Paid Programming Baywatch Western Night on ION

All times are Eastern/Pacific time zones. Some programming is not shown in all areas.

The ION Television schedule is subject to frequent change. Mama's Family had been, since the network revamped, the only permanent fixture in ION's schedule; Diagnosis: Murder (the lone carryover from the PAX days) had also been on ION's schedule for all but a month, although its time slot had been changed numerous times and both shows are no longer aired on the station. ION Life and 48 Hours have also been more recently added on a near-permanent basis; the other programs are frequently rotated in and out of the schedule.

Children's programming

As PAX, ION aired a four-hour children's programming block called PAX Kids, which featured mostly religious children's programming. The lineup lasted only a year and a half, presumably due to low ratings (The last animated show that got axed was Archie's Weird Mysteries). What was unusual about the lineup is that although it was a weekend-only lineup like ABC, CBS and NBC, it was spread over two days, Saturday and Sunday (CBS does allow some of its affiliates to air its children's programming on Sundays, however only one or two programs are usually aired on Sundays and not all affiliates do this).

Until UPN ceased network children's programming in 2003 with the loss of that network's Disney's One Too lineup, ION (as PAX) was the only one of the eight broadcast networks (along with various religious networks) not to have a children's programming block.

In May 2006, ION (as i) announced plans to launch a new children's block on Saturday mornings starting in September 2006 as part of the qubo endeavor (see below), teaming ION Media Networks with NBC Universal, Scholastic Press, Corus Entertainment's Nelvana and Classic Media and its Mike Young unit. qubo includes blocks airing on i, NBC and Telemundo (NBC Universal's Spanish-language network) along with a 24/7 digital broadcast kids channel, video-on-demand services and a branded website. On ION along with PBS, is the only broadcast networks that has a children's program lineup airing on weekday afternoons (NBC moved children's programming to weekends-only in 1956, other networks didn't follow until the 1980s and 1990s and The WB was the last to move its children's programming to weekends only) as it airs Fridays from 3:00 to 6:00PM Eastern Time.

The qubo lineup on ION features the same programming as the NBC qubo lineup, with the exception of Mustard Pancakes, which is exclusive to ION. On Friday, September 15, 2006 i started airing the qubo programs, Veggie Tales; Dragon; 3-2-1 Penguins!, Babar; Jane and the Dragon; and Jacob Two-Two.

qubo 1:30 PM 2:00 PM 2:30 PM 3:00 PM 3:30 PM 4:00 PM 4:30 PM
Fridays Mustard Pancakes Babar My Friend Rabbit Zula Patrol 3-2-1 Penguins!/LarryBoy Stories Veggie Tales Jane and the Dragon

Sports

Previous network sports event telecasts included Conference USA college football games (produced by College Sports Television), the Women's United Soccer Association, Real Pro Wrestling (which more resembles the amateur form than the theatrically-based ring sport), the Champions Tour of golf, Paralympic Games, and most recently, BodogFight.

Some ION O&Os broadcast local and regional professional sports on their stations; an example of this is the Tampa Bay Rays' baseball games on local affiliate WXPX. However, since they have no backup programming of their own and an almost-total reliance on ION's satellite feed, sports on these stations often causes ION's programming to be joined in progress, and, on occasion, even be interrupted mid-program for a scheduled sporting event.

ION Television has purchased the rights to air NFL Films' weekly highlight program, the NFL Films Game of the Week, Saturdays at 6PM ET beginning September 15, with the Giants-Cowboys game from September 9, 2007.[10] The series ran from September 9 through December 29.

ION Television was supposed to begin coverage of the American Indoor Football Association beginning in March 2008.[11] However, the game's producers did not provide a live broadcast and the deal was cancelled.

ION Plus

Separate national feeds have been made available to DirecTV, Time Warner Cable, Comcast, and non-O&O stations, featuring programming from ION Life in place of paid programming that airs on the main network.

Prior to the launch of ION Life, the ION Plus feeds carried reruns of cancelled PAX original programs (Miracle Pets, Beat the Clock), as well as public domain movies and sitcom episodes (I Married Joan, The Beverly Hillbillies).

The feeds used the PAX name and bug long after PAX had changed its name to i, until about September 2005.

Multiplexing

On its O&O affiliates, ION has made notable use of "multiplexing," or splitting a digital TV channel into separate digital subchannels. On these subchannels, it has carried/will carry several digital channels.

Qubo on ION Television

Template:Main On May 8 2006, ION Media Networks, NBC Universal, Corus Entertainment's Nelvana, Scholastic Books, and Classic Media and its Big Idea Productions unit announced plans to launch qubo, a new children's entertainment endeavor spread across all medium platforms, including video-on-demand on digital cable.[12] The new project features new and library programming from the partners, each one producing a new series a year.

The primary goal for qubo is to "champion literacy and values in the children's television category".[12] qubo made its debut on NBC and Telemundo on September 9 2006, with NBC's qubo block repeating on ION Television on Fridays at 3:00pm.[13] A 24-hour digital television network began January 8 2007;[14] programming on the digital channel features a daily repeating 4-hour block of shows, all featuring programming exclusive to the new channel. As a consequence to this, the i secondary feed was replaced on i O&Os with a repeating promo loop in late September 2006.

ION Life

Template:Main On May 31 2006, ION Media Networks announced plans to roll out a "24-hour digital broadcast network dedicated exclusively to consumer healthcare and healthy living." The network finally launched on February 19 2007 as ION Life. ION has been airing samples of ION Life programming on Friday evenings.

The Worship Network

Template:Main

The Worship Network was originally founded in 1992 to "create an atmosphere in the home to inspire and encourage a quiet time to worship God." When PAX launched in 1998, The Worship Network provided overnight programming. The next year, PAX and The Worship Network struck a deal in which the network would be carried on a digital subchannel of PAX 24 hours a day.

Today, The Worship Network continues to be carried on digital subchannels of ION O&Os and in some cases, is used as an alternative to the main ION network feed. It is also seen around the world through its 250 broadcast affiliates.[15]

Subchannel ordering

Though each channel map may vary by market, usually the main ION feed is carried on subchannel -1, with Qubo on -2, ION Life on -3, and Worship on -4.

Recent programming deals

In 2006, ION Media Networks reached several programming deals. Two were with major programming suppliers announced within a week of each other. Another would bring original programming to the ION network, among other things.

On June 27, 2006, ION announced a comprehensive programming deal with Warner Bros. Television Distribution, giving them broadcast rights to movies and programming owned by Warner.[16] On July 5, 2006, ION announced a similar deal with Sony Pictures Television, giving them broadcast rights to movies and programming owned by Sony.[17] Starting in September, programs and feature-length movies from both libraries were phased into the primetime schedule.

On October 25, 2006, ION announced "an exclusive programming alliance" with RHI Entertainment (formerly Hallmark Entertainment). Under this agreement, RHI will program the 7-11 PM time periods on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights for two years starting June 29, 2007.[18] The agreement also makes way for the US broadcast premieres of at least six RHI productions each year.[19] During March and April 2008, Saturday nights on the RHI Movie Weekend will be Western-themed. [20]

ION also struck a deal with NBC Universal for library content.[21]

ION Media Networks and Comcast have reached an agreement to not only continue to carry ION Television, but also to introduce two new digital networks qubo and ION Life.[22][23]

Differences between ION and other broadcast networks

ION Television, unlike other broadcast networks, does not necessarily allow its owned and operated stations to air syndicated programming during the daytime and late night hours. In the United States, syndicated programming accounts for a majority of local network affiliate and independent stations revenue.

Network programming (on stations that have a network affiliation) and infomercials make up the rest. Since paid programming makes up most of ION's schedule, the "pro" is that it is the main source of revenue. However, this is also a "con" since ION relies more on infomercials rather than sitcoms and dramas; sponsors of television series often have qualms about their message being lost on stations whose primary content is infomercials and other paid programming. During the 2005–2006 season, ION (as i) launched only one new series, Palmetto Pointe, a teen drama series which only lasted six episodes, and in 2006–2007, the network went entirely to a lineup of reruns (except for iHealth/ION Life specials). However, beginning in July 2007, this changed, as ION inked a deal with RHI Entertainment, who is producing new series for ION.

As a result, there are a small number of stations (such as WKFK-LP, for instance) that have taken dual affiliation with both ION and another smaller network, usually either America One or MyNetworkTV.

The fact that ION airs more infomercials than they do series programming is the main reason why some satellite operators dropped ION affiliates from their channel lineups.Template:Fact

Besides Retro Television Network, ION is the only broadcast networkTemplate:Fact that has never filled its entire primetime schedule with originally produced programming and replaced series that have ended with newer programming, opting to air past series instead.

Also, although DirecTV technically carries the local affiliates in many areas, no local programs actually air on those stations. Instead, the "place holder" simulcasts the national modified feed (for example, Los Angeles area viewers watch ION on both channels 30, KPXN, and 305).

MyNetworkTV and ION Television were also the only English-language commercial broadcast networks in the United States that were largely unaffected by the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike, due to the fact that ION's schedule is composed of reruns of old shows rather than new scripted series and MyNetworkTV's schedule is composed of reality shows and feature film repeats.

Market absences

ION has no over-the-air stations in several major markets, most notably San Diego, California; Charlotte, North Carolina; Cincinnati, Ohio; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and St. Louis, Missouri (though St. Louis at one time received the network by way of a low-power repeater of WPXS, a station in Mount Vernon, Illinois).

In addition, in several other markets, ION's predecessor was sold to another television station group to affiliate with a different network or a Spanish service, and through either a lack of channel space or interest in the network. ION has not reappeared in those markets. They include:

In several markets, the station's city of license is considered outside the main portion of a market's metropolitan area, like Minneapolis-St. Paul, where that area's affiliate station (KPXM) transmits from St. Cloud, fifty miles north, and Milwaukee, where the affiliate WPXE is licensed from Kenosha, with their analog transmitter south of Milwaukee in Racine County (although their digital transmitter is located in the traditional Milwaukee tower cluster on the north side of the city). In Cleveland, ION airs on the former ABC affiliate in Akron (WVPX), which had formerly targeted their audience away from Cleveland, in Akron and Canton.

Network troubles

In 2003, the predecessor Pax network scaled back its operations. It was originally offering five or six new series each season. That year the number of new series airing on Pax dwindled to just two: Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye, which was pulled in 2005, and Doc, which were pulled in 2004 because Pax's international backer, CTV, pulled out of producing the shows. The organization seemingly recovered a year later when seven TV series made it to Pax's 2004-05 schedule.

In the Spring of 2005, it was reported that Pax intended to break its contract with NBC Universal, which eliminated most of their entertainment programming, and rely on infomercials, talk shows, and other paid programming to help increase cash flow. However, the network issued a press release on May 25, 2005, in which Paxson Communications chairman Lowell "Bud" Paxson was quotedTemplate:Fact as saying:

Template:Cquote

In November 2005, NBC Universal was granted a transferrable option to purchase a controlling stake in Paxson Communications.Template:Fact If this option is exercised, NBC would acquire approximately 63 i affiliates. As part of the agreement, Lowell Paxson left the network (and its parent company).

According to a statement on its website[24], DirecTV planned to terminate its agreement with the i network in February 2006 and would drop i as well as its local channels from the DBS service. DirecTV cited that "most of (i Network's) programming consists of infomercials and other promotional shows", despite an earlier promise by network executives that the network "would consist of general, family-oriented entertainment". To appease DirecTV officials, the network decided to junk some infomercials and shopping shows and replace them with old public domain programming and cancelled PAX originals (see below). The channels were expected to be removed from the service by February 28, 2006. However, in May 2006, it was announced that DirecTV and ION Media had come to a new carriage agreement.

In early 2006, it was announced that the i affiliates in Memphis, Tennessee (WPXX-TV), Rapid City, South Dakota (KKRA-LP) and Greenville, North Carolina (WEPX, as well as WPXU-TV in Jacksonville, North Carolina) would add programming from MyNetworkTV in September 2006, thus causing programming airing on i to be unavailable on these stations while MNTV is broadcasting. This blow came after losing some affiliates in New Mexico, New York, and Illinois completely (although the New York station, WWBI-LP in Plattsburgh, subsequently rejoined i after a sale that resulted in the affiliation change fell through). In April of 2006, it was reported i owed more than US $250,000,000 to creditors.[25] Standard & Poor's reported a much higher debt in March 2008, owing $867,000,000 to creditors and having a bond rating of CCC+/Outlook Negative.[26]

In 2006, i struck several major content deals (see details above) in hopes of assuring its long-term future.

Days after the network changed to ION Television, a small California-based entertainment group named Positive Ions, Inc. sued ION Media Networks, claiming that the network stole the "ION" branding.[27] Positive Ions has registered trademarks on the word "Ion" and has used the mark commercially since 1999. On May 14, 2007, Positive Ions filed for an injunction that, if granted, would require ION Media Networks to change its name once again.[28]

Network slogans

  • Pax TV: A Friend of the Family (1998-2000)
  • Pax TV: Share It With Someone You Love (1998-2000)
  • Pax TV: Share The Wonder (2000-2001)
  • Pax TV: Feel Good TV (2001-2003)
  • Pax TV: Feel The Spirit (2003-2004)
  • Pax TV: Oh what a night! (2004-2005)
  • What's Your ION? (2007-present)
  • ION: Your Home for Popular TV Favorites (2007-present)

Logos

Template:TV network logos The network has shown several icons over its history, citing its different names. They are shown below.

See also

References

  1. About ION
  2. It’s not TV, it’s TV Barn, now with video!
  3. ION Television Announces Expanded Programming Schedule, Yahoo!, April 3 2008
  4. ION Television to Add "M*A*S*H" to Its Fall Programming Lineup, Yahoo!, February 12, 2008
  5. The Verdict's In: "Boston Legal", from David E. Kelley Productions & Twentieth Television, to join ION Television's Primetime Lineup, Yahoo!, February 19, 2008
  6. ION Television Gets in Your Head with "Criminal Minds", Yahoo!, April 24 2008
  7. "Ghost Whisperer" Brings Supernatural Energy to ION Television, Yahoo!, April 29 2008
  8. ION Television Presents "Positively Entertaining" Program Lineup at 2008 Sales Presentation, Yahoo!, May 1 2008
  9. RHI Entertainment's "Flash Gordon" and "The 10th Kingdom" to Air on ION Television Friday Nights Beginning August 1, Yahoo!, July 23 2008
  10. ION Media Networks Secures Rights to Air 2007 Season of "NFL Game of the Week" Produced by NFL Films, Yahoo!, September 10, 2007
  11. This Week In The AIFA Previews Season Kickoff. AIFA press release. 4 March 2008.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Press
  13. Press
  14. How To Get qubo Channel
  15. http://www.worship.net/history.html
  16. Press
  17. Press
  18. RHI Movie Weekend to Debut on ION Television on June 29th, FinanzNachrichten.de, June 20, 2007
  19. Press
  20. Prime Time Saturday is Cowboy Country on ION Television: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance
  21. Press
  22. ION Media Networks and Comcast Announce Affiliation Agreement for Channel Suite, Yahoo!, January 14, 2008
  23. ION Media Plugs In New Comcast Accord, Multichannel News, January 14, 2008
  24. PAX
  25. Burgess' Burden - 4/24/2006 - Broadcasting & Cable
  26. Standard & Poor's 'Weakest Links' list. USA Today. 22 March 2008.
  27. Positive Ions Continues Fight with ION Media Networks over ION(R) - BroadcastNewsroom
  28. Federal Judge to Decide Whether ION Television Can Continue as ION, Yahoo!, May 16, 2007

External links

Template:Broadcast Television Template:IONes:ION Television pt:ION Television

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