Shows include 'ER', 'Legal', 'Quantum Leap'

Ion Television unveiled a fall 2008 program slate stocked with the off-network shows that the broadcaster has been acquiring from Hollywood’s majors during the past few months, include encores of “ER” and “Boston Legal.”

At an upfront presentation held Thursday at the New York Public Library, Ion Media Networks chief Brandon Burgess sought to position Ion, the former Pax TV, as a general entertainment web aimed at the adults 25-54 demographic.

West Palm Beach, Fla.-based company, which was taken private last year by Chicago-based Citadel Investment Group, is in the midst of a push to raise its profile with viewers and advertisers by spending far more than it has in the past on off-network programming. Ion also unveiled a campaign to brand the network with the tagline “positively entertaining.”

Ion put the emphasis on a weekday program block that begins at 4 p.m. with a stack of comedies: double runs of “The Steve Harvey Show” and “Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper,” followed at 6 p.m. by “The Drew Carey Show” and 6:30 p.m. by “MASH.” The syndie “Family Feud” fills the 7 p.m. hour, followed in primetime by evergreen sci-fi drama “Quantum Leap,” “Boston Legal” and “ER” to close out the night.

On Thursdays, repeats of USA Network drama “The Dead Zone” will run from 9-11 p.m. in place of “Boston Legal” and “ER.” And on Friday nights, Ion carries a range new and library movies from producer Robert Halmi’s RHI vault.

During the past week, Ion has picked up rerun rights to two more network dramas, CBS’ “Criminal Minds” and “Ghost Whisperer,” starting in fall 2009.

“Boston Legal” star William Shatner made an appearance at Ion’s event Thursday, along with “Dead Zone” star Anthony Michael Hall and game show staple Chuck Woolery.

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