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Ion Holding Off On Local

With its 60 stations covering 94 million households, one wonders what sort of impact Ion Television could make if it ever got into local programming–even in some modest way.

That doesn’t appear to be happening any time soon, Ion’s execs said during an upfront presentation today in Manhattan. “We have no plans as of today to do that,” says Programming Executive V.P. Leslie Chesloff, who nonetheless left the door open a crack. “But you never say never.”

Ion President of Sales & Marketing Stephen Appel conceded that the local TV scene was pretty bleak these days.

Instead, Ion will focus on producing original films and offering some tense Canadian dramas, such as Durham County and The Guard, their U.S. debut.

Formerly of Lifetime, Chesloff says the original films will cover a wide range of genres. “There’ll be dramas, family stories, romance,” she said. “But not too sweet.”