What's an ION? It used to be called the PAX network, showing reruns of peace loving shows like Touched By An Angel and Highway to Heaven. Soon, the U.S. cable network will be home to two gun-toting Canadian made productions: CBC's The Border and Global's The Guard.
It's taken a while for The Border to land a U.S. sale, with some speculating that an anti-American bias in early episodes of the Toronto-based homeland security series set back that process. On the other hand, it probably helped spur other international sales (the action hour is licensed in the U.K., Italy, Germany, France, South Korea and several other countries), although an American deal is still the ultimate "Ca-CHING!" for most Canadian productions.
CTV certainly has enjoyed tremendous success with their co-production deals with CBS (Flashpoint and just announced The Bridge) and The Listener (coming soon to CTV and NBC). ION is no CBS or NBC (it was dismissed as an infomercial network a few years ago after NBC Universal severed ties with the network), but getting a foot in the U.S. door should boost the cast and crew of The Border as they head into production on a third CBC season. Whether any U.S. buy can save Global's The Guard at this point is another question.
ION is on a bit of a Canadian buying spree, having announced last month that it is adding the Canadian specialty series Durham Country to its schedule. In the past, PAX piggy backed on a couple of CTV produced shows: Sue Thomas: FBI and Doc.
ION says The Border and The Guard will start airing Stateside later this year. ION CEO Brandon Burgess sees them as a good fit with their current reruns of NCIS and Criminal Minds, and he's probably right.