ION Television has acquired series Rookie Blue from the Disney-ABC Television Group. The Canadian police drama has been airing in the U.S. on ABC where the most recent fourth season averaged 7.0 million total viewers, up 13% from season 3. Season 5 premieres on ABC in June. The series, about the personal and professional lives of five rookie cops, will make its debut on ION this fall. It will join two other Canadian drama procedurals that started their U.S. run on another broadcast network before becoming ION originals, Flashpoint and The Listener. Rookie Blue is a production of IFC Films and Entertainment One, who also distributes the series internationally.
Ion Television bought rights to the first six seasons of the buddy dramedy in two years ago, and now it has secured the most recent run in a deal with NBCUniversal Cable and New Media Distribution. Psych, starring James Roday and Dule Hill, is USA Network‘s longest-running current series and was greenlighted in December for another season. “We’re excited to double down on the bet we made by adding Psych, a show that has consistently delivered a wide range of viewers since joining our lineup in 2011,” said Brandon Burgess, Chairman and CEO of ION Media Networks.
ION Television today is introducing its “IONTHUSIASTS” campaign, along with its new network logo and graphics package. The network says the campaign will be targeted to advertisers across multiple platforms, including print, online and out-of-home elements including billboards, subway, bus and telephone kiosk posters throughout New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit and Atlanta markets. The campaign aims to illustrate the factors that drive ION’s key demos (Adults 25-34, 35-44 and 45-54) to the channel. Last year two independent research studies conducted by the network showed that ION leads all of cable in adult co-viewing in households watching TV together. The data showed ION is also No. 1 in cable for hours watched per viewer.
That’s part of a new carriage agreement between the companies announced this morning. The No. 1 satellite company committed to offer ION Media’s flagship network in HD and with separate feeds for the East and West coasts. This builds on a deal the companies reached when ION was formed in 2006. The announcement says that they have a “long-term partnership,” but doesn’t say how long the deal lasts and reveals none of the financial terms. “This groundbreaking agreement is consistent with our strategy of offering a great value proposition for consumers in partnership with our distributors,” ION CEO Brandon Burgess says.
‘Apprentice’ Self-Promoter Donald Trump Exits As GOP Debate Moderator After Most Candidates Say ‘No’; Hints (Again) At Run
The Apprentice hack host Donald Trump grabbed still more publicity for himself today by announcing that he is pulling out as moderator of a planned debate between GOP presidential candidates that had been set for December 27 on ION Television. After the real estate mogul and reality TV star was set for the debate, which is being put on by the conservative news site Newsmax, most of the Republican candidates became concerned that the event would turn into a media circus — partly because of Trump’s celebrity but mostly because he is still openly pondering a third-party candidacy himself. Only Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich said they would participate. In a statement today, Trump threw more fuel on the fire about a potential run as an independent because he’s trying to drum up headlines for himself and his new Apprentice season:
“It is very important to me that the right Republican candidate be chosen to defeat the failed and very destructive Obama Administration, but if that Republican, in my opinion, is not the right candidate, I am not willing to give up my right to run as an Independent candidate,” he said. “Therefore, so that there is no conflict of interest within the Republican Party, I have decided not to be the moderator of the Newsmax debate.”
Donald Trump has been tapped to moderate an upcoming Republican presidential candidate debate sponsored by online news site Newsmax and to be broadcast on ION Television. The debate, set for December 27 in Des Moines, Iowa, will be the final one before the critical Iowa Caucus on January 3 and should feature the full GOP field. (There have been so many GOP debates it’s difficult to picture one being more important than another, but the timing of this one at least appears relevant.) Of course Trump, hailed as “a truly great American” in the release announcing the debate lineup, briefly flirted with seeking the Republican nomination for president himself before finally backing off during May’s upfronts, when he announced he was staying on as host of NBC’s The Celebrity Apprentice instead.
ION Television is adding a TNT drama to its mix of CBS and USA off-network shows. The network has acquired off-network rights to TNT’s drama series Leverage from Electric Entertainment. Leverage will begin airing on ION in summer 2012. Leverage, which has been renewed by TNT for a fifth season, has averaged more than 4.8 million viewers in Season 4, up 10% over last season, with 1.9 million adults 18-49 (+6%) and 2.3 million adults 25-54 (+9%).
ION Television has inked a package deal with NBCUniversal Domestic TV Distribution for off-network rights to Universal Cable Prods.’ USA series Psych and Monk and Universal Media Studios’ Fox medical drama House. ION has picked up all six produced as well as future seasons of the detective dramedy Psych, marking the first time the series has been syndicated on a broadcast network, as well as all 8 seasons of Monk. Starting in fall 2012, ION will air House 2 times per week for one year, meaning that if the series continues on Fox (which is uncertain as star Hugh Laurie’s contract is up at the end of this season), the medical drama will air on 2 broadcast networks simultaneously. (Reruns of House air nightly on USA.) ION’s other acquired series include Criminal Minds, Ghost Whisperer, Without a Trace, My Name Is Earl and Flashpoint.