Regulators voted today to consider a change in its media ownership rules in a way that has irked station owners, but cheered public interest activists. In a 2-to-1 vote, the FCC approved a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that might scrap a 30-year-old provision called the UHF discount. It relates to the law Congress passed in 2004 that bars a company from controlling stations that reach more than 39% of all households. For the purpose of that calculation, the discount requires the agency to just count half of the audience reached by UHF stations. The outlets used to transmit weaker signals than other stations on the VHF band, which included channels 2-to-13. That distinction became virtually meaningless after 2009 when stations replaced their analog signals with digital ones. So, a simple change? Nope. Broadcasters including Univision and ION feared that they might find themselves over the 39% cap — or so close that they couldn’t participate in the torrid deal market for TV stations. The FCC appears to have addressed their biggest concerns by grandfathering station groups that might find themselves above the cap, and those that applied to the FCC for approval of a deal before today’s vote. ”The Commission and the television industry have anticipated the elimination of this discount for well over a decade,” Acting Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn says. “It is our task as regulators to ensure that our rules reflect current market realities.” READ MORE »
ION Television has closed an off-network syndication deal with CBS Television Distribution for all six seasons (118 episodes) of the CBS procedural drama Numbers. The series is set to premiere on ION during the 2012/13 television season. “Numbers aligns perfectly with our general entertainment schedule and is a natural next step in our syndicated series expansion strategy,” said Brandon Burgess, CEO, ION Media Networks. On ION, Numbers joins a lineup that includes original program WWE Main Event and off-network series Flashpoint, Criminal Minds, Cold Case and Leverage.
ION Television has teamed with WWE for a new weekly one-hour original series. WWE Main Event will debut October 3 and air on Wednesday …
NEW YORK, January 3, 2012 – ION Television announced today it is renewing its original police drama Flashpoint for a fifth season. The network is picking up 13 more episodes, set to begin shooting in February 2012. The announcement was made today by Brandon Burgess, CEO, ION Media Networks.
Flashpoint joined ION’s primetime schedule in October 2011 after the network acquired all episodes from seasons 1-3 along with 11 season four original episodes. The production of season five contributes to ION Television’s original programming goals for 2012 and beyond. Since its debut on ION, Flashpoint recorded its highest-telecast ever among the network’s key demos on December 27, including households (1.5 million), A25-54 (869,000), W25-54 (566,000) and among total viewers (2.1 million).
“Flashpoint’s solid performance season-to-date shows that a growing number of fans enjoy the series on ION Television,” says Burgess. “We welcome back this exciting dramatic series and its cast to ION Television for another season in 2012.”
EXCLUSIVE: I hear that ION Television has renewed Canadian-produced cop drama Flashpoint for a fifth season. The broadcast network is picking up all 13 episodes of the series’ fifth season, set to begin production in February 2012. Flashpoint, Canada’s most-watched drama series, has already been renewed north of the border by CTV with a 13-episode fifth-season order. Flashpoint was the first of the recent wave of Canadian scripted series to launch successfully in the U.S. when it premiered on CBS in 2008. Earlier this year, it became the first of the Canadian imports to land a U.S. syndication deal in a complex arrangement with CBS and ION. Under the deal, ION acquired all episodes from Seasons 1-4 that had aired in the U.S. on CBS along with 11 first-run (in the U.S.) Season 4 episodes. Since its ION debut in October, Flashpoint has been growing in the ratings. In its most recent airing on December 27, the drama posted series highs on the network in total viewers (2.1 million) and several demos, including adults 25-54 (869,000).
Though the material market is summer sluggish, WME has managed the neat trick of closing in on three script deals this week, with another on the brink.
The spec in play is Ion, a Will Dunn scifi script that has Channing Tatum …