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Creator: ION
aka: Ion
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 born-again Christian who felt that the major networks were too raunchy and violent, and wanted PAX to be The Moral Substitute. Despite airing a few notable original dramas (such as Doc, which starred Billy Ray Cyrus, and Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye), 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 infomercials 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 Fox, UPN, and The WB 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 . In addition to the infomercials and rare original series, most of the schedule consisted of (often Bowdlerised) reruns of older programs like Remington Steele, Scarecrow and Mrs. King, and Bonanza; public-domain movies; and several Game Shows (including the third incarnations of Supermarket Sweep and Shop 'Til You Drop).

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 infomercials (an industry Running Gag 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 Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Psych and Criminal Minds, and added new episodes of Flashpoint in a unique deal with CBS to air it outside the summer months. The content editing stopped in 2005 (except for certain movies which have to meet 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 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 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 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 Edutainment Show block in July 2012). A remnant subchannel of the Paxson era, The Worship Network 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 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 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 laughed out of court.

Original series include:

    open/close all folders 

    Fiction 

    Game/Reality Shows 
  • America's Most Talented Kids (2004-05, moved from NBC; repeats of both aired into 2006)
  • Animal Tails (2003-04)
  • Balderdash (2004-05)
  • Beat the Clock (2002-03)
  • Candid Camera (2001-04, moved from 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)
  • Shop 'Til You Drop (2000-02/2003-05, with repeats in 2002-03 and 2005-06)
  • Supermarket Sweep (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.

    Professional Wrestling 

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alternative title(s): Ion Television; PAX; Ion; PAX; Ion Television; I
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