Variety reports that NBC has acquired an option to buy PAX, which was recently rechristened The I Network (presumably the "I" was for endless "Informercials").
NBC U paid $25 million for an 18-month option to buy the "family-friendly"
broadcaster in a deal that gives the network control over the fate of the
company owning the largest group of TV stations in the nation.
As part of the deal, founder Lowell "Bud" Paxson will step down as CEO and
become "chairman emeritus"; NBC U biz
development chief Brandon Burgess will become chief exec of Paxson.
NBC Universal can’t acquire Paxson under current FCC ownership limits, but
the option can be transferred to other parties, allowing NBC to shop for a
strategic partner for Paxson, be it a studio, a conglom
without TV assets or a new media company such as Yahoo! or Google…
How the network once known as Pax-TV will change depends on who comes forward
as a partner in the venture. That partner could be a cable company with content
aspirations, a satellite TV company looking to expand local programming, or a
conglom without stations, such as Time
"This transition is just the beginning of the evaluation process," said
Burgess. "Today is the beginning of allowing interested programming partners to
come and talk to us."
It’s not so much the network that appeals to NBC (or anybody else, especially in its current incarnation) but the station group that Paxson owns. So don’t to see SUE THOMAS F.B.EYE 0n NBC any time soon.