Ford Drives Ion Original Programming


The Ion network, with no unscripted programming in the schedule yet, has hired a top programming executive steeped in the nonfiction genre. Former chief of the Discovery network, John Ford, joins as president of programming.

Ford had been leading Discovery from 2007 until late 2009 -- his second stint there -- after a six-year run at the National Geographic Channel. At Discovery Communications, he also logged time running the Military Channel and Discovery Times.

Ion, which targets adults 25 to 54, has been a sort of CBS Classic lately, with its weekday programming made up of reruns of the network's hits "Ghost Whisperer" and "Without a Trace" and current show "Criminal Minds."

The network did try an original reality show with Emeril Lagasse earlier this year, but that went up in smoke quickly.

Ford will be based in New York and will oversee development of any original programming, acquisitions, creative strategy and scheduling for the network.



He will work with Marc Zand, who becomes executive vice president of content acquisitions and digital networks. Zand will continue to oversee Ion multicast channels Qubo and Ion Life.

Ion Media Networks CEO Brandon Burgess stated that Ford's background in acquisitions and unscripted content will help as more "content sources are on the table as Ion ... looks to extend its television franchise."

Among his credits at Discovery are helping launch its HD channel and Discovery Health Channel, about to become the Oprah Winfrey Network, and leading programming at TLC.

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