[[caption-width-right:176:''Positively Entertaining'']]
In 1998, Lowell "Bud" Paxson (most famous for unleashing the ''Creator/HomeShoppingNetwork'' 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 ''Series/SupermarketSweep'' and ''Series/ShopTilYouDrop''). They at one point formed an alliance of sorts with Creator/{{NBC}} (they had acquired a 32% stake in Paxson Communications in 1999)- NBC would provide programming to Pax, and certain affiliates would provide engineering and back-office services for local Pax stations; in addition, most NBC affiliates would also rebroadcast their newscasts on the area Pax station (and in some cases, produce exclusive newscasts- WKYC-3, the NBC station for UsefulNotes/{{Cleveland}}, would produce a newscast for the Pax station's area of license, Akron, branded as "Channel 23 News"[[note]]This was because said Akron station used to be that city's Creator/{{ABC}} affiliate but eventually had to give it up because of Cleveland's ABC station, WEWS finally succeeding at a decades-long campaign to strip that station of their ABC affiliation and become the exclusive ABC affiliate for the region. The newscast was retained mainly to keep some form of Akron news on the air.[[/note]])

The network [[NetworkDeath changed its name]] to "i" (for "independent") in 2005 (ending their programming deal and newscast deals with NBC at the same time), 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, mostly in the CriminalProcedural genre, which change frequently. In 2013, for instance, they seemed to fixate on ''Series/LawAndOrderCriminalIntent'' (gaining the rights to [[Series/LawAndOrder the mothership]] and ''[[Series/LawAndOrderSpecialVictimsUnit Special Victims Unit]]'' by 2016), ''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, ''Wrestling/WWEMainEvent'', which moved to the WWE Network in 2014.

The network programs three digital subchannels, the first two being Ion Life, with health programs, and Creator/{{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 [[note]]In markets where ION doesn't have a over-the-air station[[/note]] 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.

As of 2016, Ion began to open up to affiliating with traditional commercial stations via digital subchannel in order to get their signal on the air in markets where getting a new station on the air was impossible. This didn't come with the subchannels, but it helps Ion and those stations thanks to the network establishing a quality schedule that was far from the lows it had in 2005.

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 into 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)
* ''Series/FamilyFeud'' (2002-2008; reruns of Anderson, Karn and O'Hurley versions)
* ''Hollywood Showdown'' (January-November 2000, essentially a remake of ''Series/{{Jackpot}}''; moved to being a Creator/{{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)
* ''Series/{{Pyramid}}'' (2004-05; reruns of ''Donnymid'')
* ''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; PAX also aired repeats of Lifetime and [[Creator/{{Freeform}} Family Channel]]-era episodes in 1999-2000)
* ''Series/SupermarketSweep'' (2000-03, with repeats into 2004; PAX also aired repeats of Lifetime episodes in 1999-2000)
* ''Series/TheWeakestLink'' (unaired Robinson episodes {moved from NBC} and syndicated episodes with George Gray)
* ''Totally Pets'' (2003-04)
* ''Series/TwentyOne'' (2000; moved from NBC, reruns plus un-aired episodes)

PAX is also known to have aired repeats of ''Born Lucky'', a Lifetime game show from 1992-93. Ion also owns (and holds) the original 1987-88 version of ''Series/{{Lingo}}'' and placed it in a 2005 "Viewers' Vote" on their website, but nothing ever came of it (a shame, too, since that version is relatively scarce).

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* ''Wrestling/WWEMainEvent'' (2012-14)