ION Television Presents "Positively Entertaining" Program Lineup at 2008 Sales Presentation
Positioning for Broad Audiences with General Entertainment Appeal
"Boston Legal," "ER," "The Dead Zone," "Ghost Whisperer" & "Criminal Minds" Coming To ION Primetime
RHI Showcasing 12 Original Movies in New Season
Programming Schedule Expanding to 4 p.m.
"Denny Crane" Makes Surprise Appearance
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- ION Television today solidified its evolution into a popular, general entertainment network aimed at the 25-54 demographic. At its 2008 sales presentation to the advertising community, held at the New York Public Library in New York City, the Upfront highlighted ION Television's exciting, contemporary programming initiatives for the 2008-2009 television season and promised strong partnerships for advertisers in an ever-changing and competitive marketplace.
ION Media Networks, Inc.'s Chairman and CEO Brandon Burgess led the event, along with President of Sales and Marketing Stephen Appel. In addition to detailing upcoming programming plans, the two introduced ION Television's new "positively entertaining" network branding, showcased a powerful new primetime lineup and touted the expansion of the network's programming block to 4 p.m.
The evening's festivities were punctuated with a special guest appearance by "Boston Legal's" very own Denny Crane, TV icon William Shatner, who stars in the hit series premiering on ION Television in September. In addition, Australian singing sensation Delta Goodrem introduced ION Television's new branding with rousing performances of her break-out singles, "In This Life" and "Believe Again." Ms. Goodrem's music will be featured in the launch of the network's new Fall season.
"ION Television's expanded content and positioning can be summarized in two words: 'Positively Entertaining!'," said Mr. Burgess. "The shows we have lined up to deliver on that promise -� 'Boston Legal,' 'ER,' 'The Dead Zone,' 'Ghost Whisperer' and 'Criminal Minds' �- will positively do just that, bringing large and loyal audiences to ION Television in 2008 and 2009."
"Advertisers aiming to build market share and showcase their products need look no further than our new lineup," added Mr. Appel. "ION Television will be recognized for its value, innovation, ratings growth and expansive reach."
This Fall, viewers will see a great new lineup of top shows during the week and on weekends. RHI Entertainment, ION Television's exclusive partner in weekend primetime programming, will deliver 12 original movies, including three Westerns, during the 2008-2009 season. RHI's high-caliber content has brought impressive ratings returns, demonstrating how well the ION platform does with quality programming. The award-winning producer and distributor of groundbreaking miniseries and movies for television will continue to provide original programming, as well as quality library titles.
ION Television's weeknight schedule will feature the most Emmy-nominated program in history, "ER," a long-standing favorite that has earned 22 Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Drama Series, and 117 total Emmy nominations. A winner of the prestigious George Foster Peabody Award, the medical drama is currently in its 14th season and remains one of the highest-rated dramas on television. The series features an all-star cast honored with four Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Ensemble Performance in a Drama Series.
Also joining ION Television's primetime lineup will be the bold, outrageous and positively entertaining "Boston Legal." Starring Emmy Award-winners James Spader, Candice Bergen and William Shatner, and created by David E. Kelley, the series has regularly been a top-20 program on ABC and draws one of the most affluent audiences in television. The legal drama has won five Emmy Awards, a Peabody Award and a Golden Globe.
USA Network's original series, "The Dead Zone," a science fiction/suspense series from Debmar-Mercury, will appear on ION Television's Fall primetime schedule. Based on characters from the best-selling Stephen King novel and movie of the same title, this hit drama stars Anthony Michael Hall as Johnny Smith, a man who awakens from a six-year coma to discover that he has psychic abilities. With the help of his former fianc�e (played by Nicole deBoer) and her husband (played by Chris Bruno), Johnny uses his powers to solve crimes and help people in need.
Through a deal with Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution, the hit sitcom, "Hangin' with Mr. Cooper," will be on the ION Television Fall lineup. In this popular show, comedian Mark Curry plays Mr. Mark Cooper, a single teacher and basketball coach at a high school in Oakland, California. Mr. Cooper's positive outlook and sense of humor enable him to be a hilarious, yet inspiring figure to his students and players and to navigate the romantic complications in his life. The cast also includes Raven-Symon�, Holly Robinson Peete, Nell Carter, Omar Gooding and more.
As previously announced, the beloved comedic drama, "M*A*S*H," will be included in the Fall lineup, along with three series that have recently begun their run on the network, "The Steve Harvey Show," "Family Feud" and "Quantum Leap." In its continuing commitment to present compelling and entertaining programming aimed at the 25-54 demographic, ION Television will add the much-lauded television series, "Criminal Minds" and "Ghost Whisperer," to its programming block in 2009. Both series are showing ratings strength going into their fourth original seasons on CBS.
About ION Media Networks
ION Media Networks, Inc. owns and operates the nation's largest broadcast television station group and ION Television, which reaches over 94 million U.S. television households via its nationwide broadcast television, cable and satellite distribution systems, and features popular TV series and movies from the award-winning libraries of RHI Entertainment, CBS Television, NBC Universal, Sony Pictures Television, Twentieth Television and Warner Bros., among others. Using its digital multicasting capability, the Company has launched several digital TV brands, including qubo, a channel for children focusing on literacy and values, and ION Life, a channel dedicated to active living and personal growth. It also has launched Open Mobile Ventures Corporation (OMVION), a business unit focused on the research and development of portable, mobile and out-of-home transmission technology using over-the-air digital television spectrum. For more information, visit www.ionmedia.com.