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ColDayNews

Paxson Communications

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The Fox-Ion thread has made me want to explore this. How did they fail? How did the PAX TV network fail?

 

IMO, the sales of their stations in Dayton, Green Bay, and Champaign-Urbana to finance the NBC deal was a bad decision. A good chunk of their viewer base was the 65-dead crowd in these smaller markets. The WB had to scramble to find affiliations in these markets due to their agreement with WGN to serve as a national WB affiliate ending. As part of their deal with ACME, they continued to handle some operations for these WB stations and kept some Pax programming on overnights and mornings. WBDT even aired Worship Network programming in their overnights. A lot of their viewers didn't watch their WB station or didn't even know there was a WB station in their market. If I recall correctly, Paxson urged WBDT to preempt an episode of Dawson's Creek (which, at the time, was The WB's highest rated show) for a Diagnosis Murder rerun... these types of decisions are what caused Paxson to fail. Just my opinion.

 

As for the Pax network, adding "family" programming from NBC was a good idea. If the deal was still in place today... I could definitely see them airing This is Us reruns and family programming from other NBC channels. Pax failed because no one watched it. And no one watched it because the programming was as entertaining as watching paint dry.

 

I wanted to hear everyone else's opinions on this.

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When I was a kid, I would watch Supermarket Sweep when it was PAX on WPXM 35. If the bring back Shop Till You Drop and put both on ION, that would be amazing. (I know that won't happen, but what if?)

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The major problem was so many multiple decisions;

 

·Cheaping out on programming distributors. "The Reel to Reel Picture Show" never paid Peter Marshall and the contestants, and Pax had zero power to make them pay the money deserved. That pretty much told anyone with a game show project that they had to back it on their own on Pax, because the network wasn't doing anything. The "Woman's Day" show never went beyond its original run, and all of their other product was CanCon glurge only done by Canadian cable networks to keep the CRTC happy.

 

·Doubling down on infomercials instead of going with a better plan to make money. Who wants to work with a network which values Carleton Sheets more than your well-proven product? And why should you ever have your lead in be something even Billy Mays is like 'I'm not promoting that!'?

 

·Low-quality transmitters/engineering. I still remember WPXE/Kenosha's analog age over cable; the picture quality was awful, and the moment it had to air a Packer game for the 2004 Olympics in place of WTMJ, it cemented that reputation. Ghosting and low-quality images even over cable, that awful 'Christian TV' sheen you know by looks alone, and a transmitter so weak, the Fox station in Wausau and even WBNX in Cleveland, Ohio could easily overpower it at times.

 

·In the case of the sale in Green Bay? Paxson was hilariously hamstrung from the beginning. Nobody wanted the station at all in its previous guise as a WVCY Godcaster translator, and it literally only covered farms and forest, struggling to get into the northside of Green Bay (it was a station transmitting closer to Wausau at the time than Green Bay as a Suring-licenced station). When it became WPXG it struggled with Time Warner for years to get cable coverage, and it took until 2002 before it got on there as WIWB, while Charter shrugged and never carried them as Pax. TWC kept WVTV from Milwaukee for years across the state; it was only after the CW was able to get ironclad 'one affiliate per market only' agreements when WVTV was finally forced off systems outside Milwaukee. In contrast to WBDT, WIWB just carried Pax stuff overnights and never bothered with primetime cuts of WB shows; they were happy to be out of Pax's clutches for the most part.

 

·inTV was a horrid lead-in to Pax as an all-infomercial network. Definitely one way to start a network on the wrong foot (and later repeated with the Esquire Network's completely botched launch).

 

·Not enough commitment to quality programming. It was basically at where Retro TV is at now; a low-quality network with low-quality product that nobody wanted. The few quality efforts were buried by those other awful shows and the infamous MadTV 'Sopranos on PAX' sketch.

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Bud Paxson spent millions of dollars on marginal UHF signals betting on "must carry" to make his network a success. He sold his successful Florida radio cluster to raise funds for it, and in the end, didn't have the money for high quality original programming. I remember seeing the ads promoting "PAX Net" in Broadcasting & Cable, and one of his initial shows was a talk show hosted by late infomercial host Mike Levey. Like mrschimpf said, the stations that were purchased had pretty bad equipment (Phoenix was served by KBPX Channel 13 in Flagstaff and a translator on channel 67 in the Phoenix metro before KPPX signed on).

 

Then, there was the NBC deal. That allowed them to rerun NBC affiliates' local news and borrow resources (I think there might have been a time where they reran episodes of "The Apprentice," or I could just be getting that mixed up with infamous Malibu resort rehab operator "Pax Prentiss"), but that wasn't enough. PAX still had the stigma of being a "religious network," and even toward its later years as PAX, that held true with shows like the weekly "Faith Under Fire," which played out as if "The O'Reilly Factor" was stuck on the "War on Christmas."

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Supermarket Sweep followed by Shop ‘til You Drop was my after school line up

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Then, there was the NBC deal. That allowed them to rerun NBC affiliates' local news and borrow resources (I think there might have been a time where they reran episodes of "The Apprentice," or I could just be getting that mixed up with infamous Malibu resort rehab operator "Pax Prentiss"), but that wasn't enough. PAX still had the stigma of being a "religious network," and even toward its later years as PAX, that held true with shows like the weekly "Faith Under Fire," which played out as if "The O'Reilly Factor" was stuck on the "War on Christmas."

 

It was actually the Weakest Link they carried ad nauseum (Apprentice only launched a few months before the NBC deal ended and the infamous "i for Infomercial" era began), and then that's when they began to carry Gene Scott (then Melissa after his death) for hours and hours in overnights, before the "Campmeeting" craze began and we had that for two years. After that, the management seemed to finally circle out for secular people, and now we have many more voices during Ion's religious time.

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I Remember seeing previously recorded airings of KCRA 3 News on KSPX 29 but that was it. i also remember WVPX having news from WKYC and the fact that they were using a News package from 1992 in 2002 by Atmosphere Music a label that's part of the Killer Tracks Production Music Library.

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The major problem was so many multiple decisions;

 

·Cheaping out on programming distributors. "The Reel to Reel Picture Show" never paid Peter Marshall and the contestants, and Pax had zero power to make them pay the money deserved. That pretty much told anyone with a game show project that they had to back it on their own on Pax, because the network wasn't doing anything. The "Woman's Day" show never went beyond its original run, and all of their other product was CanCon glurge only done by Canadian cable networks to keep the CRTC happy.

 

·Doubling down on infomercials instead of going with a better plan to make money. Who wants to work with a network which values Carleton Sheets more than your well-proven product? And why should you ever have your lead in be something even Billy Mays is like 'I'm not promoting that!'?

 

·Low-quality transmitters/engineering. I still remember WPXE/Kenosha's analog age over cable; the picture quality was awful, and the moment it had to air a Packer game for the 2004 Olympics in place of WTMJ, it cemented that reputation. Ghosting and low-quality images even over cable, that awful 'Christian TV' sheen you know by looks alone, and a transmitter so weak, the Fox station in Wausau and even WBNX in Cleveland, Ohio could easily overpower it at times.

 

·In the case of the sale in Green Bay? Paxson was hilariously hamstrung from the beginning. Nobody wanted the station at all in its previous guise as a WVCY Godcaster translator, and it literally only covered farms and forest, struggling to get into the northside of Green Bay (it was a station transmitting closer to Wausau at the time than Green Bay as a Suring-licenced station). When it became WPXG it struggled with Time Warner for years to get cable coverage, and it took until 2002 before it got on there as WIWB, while Charter shrugged and never carried them as Pax. TWC kept WVTV from Milwaukee for years across the state; it was only after the CW was able to get ironclad 'one affiliate per market only' agreements when WVTV was finally forced off systems outside Milwaukee. In contrast to WBDT, WIWB just carried Pax stuff overnights and never bothered with primetime cuts of WB shows; they were happy to be out of Pax's clutches for the most part.

 

·inTV was a horrid lead-in to Pax as an all-infomercial network. Definitely one way to start a network on the wrong foot (and later repeated with the Esquire Network's completely botched launch).

 

·Not enough commitment to quality programming. It was basically at where Retro TV is at now; a low-quality network with low-quality product that nobody wanted. The few quality efforts were buried by those other awful shows and the infamous MadTV 'Sopranos on PAX' sketch.

 

 

When WBDT carried Pax programming during the morning hours, they left their logo bug intact and even carried some Worship Network programming in the overnights. In the early years of their WB affiliation, they even ran Touched by an Angel in pattern at 7pm. Not a good lead-in to WB programming... I seem to remember some PAX 26 branding that ran during Pax programming. Did WIWB do the same?

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