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Ion Has Eye On Younger Demo

9/07/2008 08:00:00 PM Eastern

Ion Television introduces an image redesign on Sept. 8, themed "Positively Entertaining," that ties into its new schedule of hipper, younger-skewing off-network drama series.

Ion is introducing Boston Legal, ER and NCIS this fall, replacing chestnuts such as Diagnosis Murder and Mama's Family.

" 'Positively' doesn't mean just wholesome because, for example, we have Criminal Minds coming next season," says Eleo Hensleigh, Ion's marketing chief. "It's meant to be more flexible. We want to be more broad-based, like a TNT or USA Network."

Ion Television says in the past two years the median age of its primetime viewers went from 60-plus to the 49-52 age group. Its goal is to attract the 25-54 age group.

The rebranding "sets the table for the present and builds for the future," Hensleigh says. Down the road, that could include programming original series.

Ion is a sparsely viewed broadcast network with 60 company-owned stations augmented by affiliates. It's closely held by NBC Universal and private equity outfit Citadel Investment Group.

Hensleigh, who joined in February, orchestrated the new graphic look of light blue and orange. A signature new element is orange balls marked with the plus sign—for "positive"—that float around its on-air promos.

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