ION Picks Up Warner Bros. Movies

WEST PALM BEACH, FLA.: ION TV said today it acquired a feature film package from Warner Bros. The deal includes exclusive windows for films such as “The Departed” and “Ocean’s Thirteen.” The package from Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution also includes “Heat,” with Al Pacino and Robert De Niro; “The Matrix Reloaded,” starring Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne and Carrie-Ann Moss; “The Perfect Storm,” starring George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg; “Passenger 57,” starring Wesley Snipes; and “Assassins,” starring Sylvester Stallone, Antonio Banderas and Julianne Moore; among others.

“We have built a strong momentum in acquiring hit films from all the major studios, with this being the fourth recent acquisition from Warner Bros.,” said ION programming chief Leslie Chesloff. “This deal reinforces our mission to bring our viewers a prime-time programming mix that combines compelling first run and top network series with major theatrical titles, including exclusive windows for features.”

ION is aggressively developing a general entertainment schedule after its long infomercial history as the Pax TV network. ION comprises 60 TV stations and the ION network. The new slate is primarily off-network series, though two new originals are on deck for later this year. Investors put $100 million into ION to reprogram the network, and the company last month said it was in discussions with lenders about a restructure.-- Deborah D. McAdams