[[caption-width-right:176:''Positively Entertaining'']]
In 1998, Lowell "Bud" Paxson (most famous for unleashing the Home Shopping Network on America's credit cards) established PAX as the seventh commercial broadcast television network in the United States. Paxson was a [[MoralGuardians born-again Christian]] who felt that the major networks were too raunchy and violent, and wanted PAX to be TheMoralSubstitute. Despite airing a few notable original dramas (such as ''Doc'', which starred Billy Ray Cyrus, and ''Series/SueThomasFBEye''), it didn't take off.

A problem that dogged PAX from day one was that its initial station roster was descended from PAX's spiritual predecessor, a network named "inTV", also owned by Paxson, whose entire schedule consisted of {{infomercial}}s [[note]](mostly the infamous Alumaloy infomercial, produced for approximately $6.47 and a couple bus tokens)[[/note]]. In addition, PAX was made up mostly of second-string independent stations purchased by Paxson which either carried religious programming or didn't step up their game with the rise of Creator/{{Fox}}, Creator/{{UPN}}, and Creator/TheWB in the last 15 years and lagged behind everybody else. Most of these stations were high on the UHF dial and weren't licensed to the largest city in their market [[note]](for example, the UsefulNotes/WashingtonDC market needed two PAX stations to make it in: one in West Virginia, the other in Virginia)[[/note]]. In addition to the infomercials and rare original series, most of the schedule consisted of (often {{Bowdlerise}}d) reruns of older programs like ''Series/RemingtonSteele'', ''Series/ScarecrowAndMrsKing'', and ''Series/{{Bonanza}}''; public-domain movies; and several GameShows (including the third incarnations of ''SupermarketSweep'' and ''Series/ShopTilYouDrop'').

The network changed its name to "i" (for "independent") in 2005, and then to "ION" in 2007. In the "i" era its scheduled consisted mainly of {{infomercial}}s (an industry RunningGag was that the "i" name stood for "infomercial"), though currently the infomercial block, which formerly made up 2/3 of Ion's broadcast day, is down now to 6-8 hours per day, par for the course with many cable networks. The rest of the schedule is made up of movies, overnight and Sunday morning religious programming, and reruns of various shows, which change frequently. As of 2013, they seem to fixate on ''Series/LawAndOrderCriminalIntent'', ''Series/{{Psych}}'' and ''Series/CriminalMinds'', and added new episodes of ''Series/{{Flashpoint}}'' in a unique deal with Creator/{{CBS}} to air it outside the summer months. The content editing stopped in 2005 (except for certain movies which have to meet [[MediaWatchdog FCC]] regulations; usually the default 'TV cut' is now taken) when Paxson left the network; it might shock viewers who remember the old PAX to see ''Film/{{Scarface 1983}}'' on a network that was formerly home to ''Promised Land'' and ''Hope Island''. They managed to sign a deal with the Arena Football League to air games starting in March 2012, and in October 2012 began airing the newest go-around of Wrestling/{{WWE}}'s C-level program, ''{{WWE Main Event}}''.

The network programs three digital subchannels, the first two being Ion Life, with health programs, and {{Qubo}}, with children's entertainment) on its stations. Both subchannels have more feature programming than the main feed, with the latter also having aired on some Creator/{{NBC}} and Telemundo stations (it was created in conjunction with [=NBCUniversal=], which owns the aforementioned networks, though since the Comcast deal where PBS Kids Sprout joined the NBC family, their programming became the new NBC EdutainmentShow block in July 2012). A remnant subchannel of the Paxson era, The Worship Network [[note]](which carried a FunForSome format of nature scenery and light music combined with Bible verses projected on the screen)[[/note]], left the Ion airwaves in January 2010 but remains on some satellite systems. [=DirecTV=] and some Comcast systems air an infomercial-free version of the main Ion feed, a reaction to threats of the network being dropped by the both of them.

In 2012, a network called Shop TV began to air on the network's fourth subchannel, which has now devolved into 24/7 infomercials and is ignored by everyone but the [[MoneyDearBoy Ion accounting department]]. In August 2013, Ion and QVC came to an agreement to carry that shopping network on their fifth digital subchannel, finishing a year where that formerly cable-only network now is carried on broadcast television in some form. Finally it all came back to Bud Paxson's first creation when a couple months later, HSN was added to Ion's sixth subchannel.

Not to be confused with the manga ''Manga/{{ION}}'', the play by Euripides, the Saturn car model, or the chemical entity. A company called "Positive Ions" with nothing to do with television filed suit against the network's name, but was [[FrivolousLawsuit laughed out of court]].

Coincidentally, Ion is the name of a new light rail line under construction in the Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada, scheduled to open in 2017.
!!Original series include:

* ''Body and Soul'' (2002-03, with repeats in 2006)
* ''Doc'' (2001-04, with repeats into 2006)
* ''Durham County'' (2007-10)
* ''Series/{{Flashpoint}}'' ([[http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20110125006261/en/ION-Television-Acquires-Popular-Police-Drama-%E2%80%9CFlashpoint%E2%80%9D second half of Season 4 and entirety of Season 5]]; the first three and a half seasons aired on Creator/{{CBS}})
* ''Hope Island'' (1999-2000)
* ''Series/JustCause'' (2002-03, with repeats into 2004)
* ''Little Men'' (1998-99)
* ''Series/MysteriousWays'' (2000-02)
* ''Palmetto Pointe'' (August-October 2005)
* ''The Ponderosa'' (2001-02, with repeats in 2005-06; prequel of ''Series/{{Bonanza}}'')
* ''Series/SueThomasFBEye'' (2002-05, with repeats into 2006)
* ''Twice In A Lifetime'' (1999-2001)
* ''Series/YoungBlades'' (January-June 2005, with repeats into 2006)

[[folder:Game/Reality Shows]]
* ''America's Most Talented Kids'' (2004-05, moved from Creator/{{NBC}}; repeats of both aired into 2006)
* ''Animal Tails'' (2003-04)
* ''Balderdash'' (2004-05)
* ''Series/BeatTheClock'' (2002-03)
* ''Series/CandidCamera'' (2001-04, moved from Creator/{{CBS}})
* ''Dirty Rotten Cheater'' (January-April 2003)
* ''Ed [=McMahon=]'s Next Big Star'' (2001-02, remake of ''Star Search'')
* ''The Emeril Lagasse Show'' (April-July 2010)
* ''Hollywood Showdown'' (January-November 2000, moved to being a {{GSN}} exclusive)
* ''It's A Miracle'' (1998-2004, with repeats into 2006)
* ''Lie Detector'' (March-June 2005)
* ''Miracle Pets'' (2000-05)
* ''On The Cover'' (2004-05)
* ''The Reel-To-Reel Picture Show'' (August-September 1998, with repeats into October)
* ''Series/ShopTilYouDrop'' (2000-02/2003-05, with repeats in 2002-03 and 2005-06)
* ''SupermarketSweep'' (2000-03, with repeats into 2004)
* ''Totally Pets'' (2003-04)

In a strange aside, they also own (and hold) the 1987-88 version of ''{{Lingo}}''. The show was present in a 2005 "Viewers' Vote" on their website, but nothing ever came of it. A shame, too, since that version is relatively scarce and it'd bring in eyeballs.

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* ''Wrestling/WWEMainEvent'' (2012-2014)