Scripps Networks Celebrates the Holidays with Five New Original Movies on ION and Bounce

Scripps Networks celebrates the holidays
with five new original movies on ION and Bounce
Vivica A. Fox, Paige Audrey-Marie Hurd, Romeo Miller, Colin Egglesfield, Michelle Borth,

Juliana Harkavy, Claire Coffee & George Stults headline the casts

ATLANTA (Oct. 26, 2021) – Five new original holiday movies will premiere on ION and Bounce beginning
Sunday, Nov. 21. In total, the Scripps Networks will combine to air over 200 hours of holiday movies and programming. Last year, ION ranked No. 1 among all networks airing original holiday programming. *
The new original Scripps Networks holiday movies for 2021:
● Bounce
○ “Who is Christmas Eve?” – Premieres 8 p.m., Nov. 21
Eve Simons (Paige Audrey-Marie Hurd, Power Book II: Ghost, Hawaii Five-O) was abandoned
as an infant on the steps of a church 30 years ago on Christmas Eve. Now, struggling to move
forward with her life, she embarks on a search to uncover the mystery of her birth with the help
of her boyfriend Chris (Romeo Miller, Romeo!, Empire) and famed investigative genealogist
Pamela Slaton (Juliana Harkavy, Arrow). The movie is inspired by Slaton’s work, and she serves
as an executive producer. Paige Audrey-Marie Hurd serves as a co-executive producer.

○ “Christmas Down Under” – Premieres 8 p.m., Nov. 21
After a fight with her husband (Paul O’Brien, Home & Away, Neighbors), a tightly wound wife
(Justine Kacir, Home & Away) follows him to his hometown of Sydney, Australia, in hopes of
saving their marriage. Tracking him down proves complicated, and she must rely on an
Aboriginal tour guide and a social media influencer ride-share driver to help – all just days before
○ “A Christmas Witness” – Premieres 8 p.m., Nov. 28
A no-nonsense federal marshal (Arielle Kebbel, Ballers, The Vampire Diaries) is tasked with
protecting a low-level, charming mobster (Colin Egglesfield, Rizzoli & Isles, All My Children)
until he testifies against his mafia boss two days after Christmas.
○ “The Christmas Thief” – Premieres 8 p.m., Dec. 5
Lana Lawton (Michelle Borth, Hawaii Five-O), a fledgling private eye home for the holidays,
realizes the only way to save her career is by solving a string of local burglaries where the main
suspect is Santa Claus. With little evidence and having to contend with a local detective with
an investigative style that clashes with hers, the season may prove to be anything but holly
and jolly. Vivica A. Fox co-stars as the head of a local detective agency.
○ “A New Lease on Christmas” – Premieres 8 p.m., Dec. 12
A single real estate agent (Clair Coffee, Grimm, Lincoln Rhymes – Hunt for the Bone Collector)
falls for a handsome coffee shop owner (George Stults, 7th Heaven) – only to discover that the
job she just took requires her to evict him from his shop.

In addition, Laff will air a week of primetime family-friendly holiday movies beginning Dec. 6 and Grit will present holiday-themed Westerns on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

About Scripps
The E.W. Scripps Company (NASDAQ: SSP) is a diversified media company focused on creating a better-
informed world. As the nation’s fourth-largest local TV broadcaster, Scripps serves communities with quality,
objective local journalism and operates a portfolio of 61 stations in 41 markets. The Scripps Networks reach
nearly every American through the national news outlets Court TV and Newsy and popular entertainment
brands ION, Bounce, Grit, Laff, Court TV Mystery, Defy TV and TrueReal. Scripps is the nation’s largest
holder of broadcast spectrum. Scripps runs an award-winning investigative reporting newsroom in Washington,
D.C., and is the longtime steward of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Founded in 1878, Scripps has held for
decades to the motto, “Give light and the people will find their own way.”

# # #

*Source: Nielsen Media Research, A25-54 C3 Impressions, 2020 (11/26/20 – 1/1/21), competitive set based on networks with original holiday movies, total day excluding kids programming.

ION Lands “Chicago Fire,” Series Debuts June 15

ION Lands “Chicago Fire,” Series Debuts June 15
Its agreement with NBCUniversal Global Distribution gives ION all nine seasons and 195 episodes of the popular drama from Dick Wolf’s highly successful One Chicago franchise.
[via press release from ION Television]
ION Lands “Chicago Fire,” Series Debuts June 15

ATLANTA (June 11, 2021) – ION Television has added Chicago Fire to its lineup, marking the first broadcast syndication deal for the long-running fan favorite series. Its agreement with NBCUniversal Global Distribution gives ION all nine seasons and 195 episodes of the popular drama from Dick Wolf’s highly successful One Chicago franchise.

ION will air Chicago Fire on Tuesdays beginning June 15, with episodes all day beginning at 11 a.m. ET. Chicago Fire joins sister series Chicago P.D., which is currently seen Thursdays on ION.

Chicago Fire explores the lives, both professional and personal, of the firefighters, rescue personnel and paramedics of the Chicago Fire Department at the fictional Firehouse 51, as they risk their lives week in and week out to save and protect the citizens of their city.

Executive produced by Dick Wolf and created by Michael Brandt and Derek Haas, Chicago Fire is produced by Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group, in association with Wolf Entertainment. Over the past nine seasons, the series has starred a stellar ensemble cast, which has included Jesse Spencer, Taylor Kinney and Eamonn Walker, along with Kara Killmer, Miranda Rae Mayo, David Eigenberg, Joe Miñoso, Christian Stolte, Alberto Rosende, Daniel Kyri, Monica Raymund, Lauren German, Yuri Sardarov and Charlie Barnett.

ION’s impressive collection of hit off-network dramas also includes Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Blue Bloods, NCIS: Los Angeles, NCIS: New Orleans, Hawaii Five-0, Criminal Minds and CSI: Miami, among others.

ION airs on the broadcast signals of local television stations and corresponding cable carriage and features a programming mix of contemporary off-network dramas geared toward an audience of adults 18-49. ION is seen across the U.S., representing more than 100 million homes, and is owned by The E.W. Scripps Company (NASDAQ: SSP).

Scripps Creates National Television Networks Business with Acquisition of ION Media

Scripps Creates National Television Networks Business with Acquisition of ION Media
ION Media, based in West Palm Beach, Florida, operates a national television network featuring popular crime and justice procedural programming.
[via press release from Scripps]
Scripps creates national television networks business with acquisition of ION Media

Berkshire Hathaway to invest in Scripps; highly accretive, transformative transaction will double Scripps EBITDA

CINCINNATI, Sept. 24, 2020 — The E.W. Scripps Company (NASDAQ: SSP) will buy national broadcast network ION Media for $2.65 billion, combining the business with Scripps’ Katz networks and Newsy to create a full-scale national television networks business. ION reaches more than 100 million homes through over-the-air and pay TV platforms and has consistently achieved annual revenue growth and EBITDA margins well beyond industry averages. In addition, this highly accretive acquisition will yield $500 million in synergies, most of which are contractually based, over the next six years.

Berkshire Hathaway will make a $600 million preferred equity investment in Scripps to finance the transaction. Berkshire Hathaway also will receive a warrant to purchase up to 23.1 million Class A shares, at an exercise price of $13 per share.

ION Media, based in West Palm Beach, Florida, operates a national television network featuring popular crime and justice procedural programming. It is being purchased from an entity controlled by Black Diamond Capital Management. The network boasts the fifth-largest average primetime audience among all cable-carried networks. ION generates its revenue by selling advertising in the national marketplace. Combining ION with Katz and Newsy, which also primarily earn revenue from national advertising, will increase Scripps’ reach into this durable ad market as it offers advertisers a larger platform on which to reach their audiences.

Together, ION, Katz and Newsy, Scripps’ new national networks business, will reach nearly every American through free over-the-air broadcast, cable/satellite, over-the-top and digital distribution, with multiple advertising-supported programming streams.

Today, ION distributes its programming through Federal Communications Commission-licensed television stations it owns in 62 markets and 124 affiliated TV stations, reaching 96% of U.S. homes. ION elects government-mandated must-carry provisions for cable distribution rather than negotiating for retransmission revenue, thereby ensuring its programming is available on cable and satellite systems.

The combination of ION, Katz and Newsy is expected to produce run-rate synergies that reach as much as $120 million a year, a majority of which will be carriage fee savings associated with the Katz networks. Katz today pays leasing fees to other broadcasters for multicast distribution. As Katz’s current distribution contracts expire, its programming will be migrated to ION stations’ digital subchannels. ION programming will remain on the primary channel.

“This evolution of Scripps’ national television networks business, through the combination of ION, the Katz networks and Newsy, repositions the company in the television landscape,” said Scripps President and CEO Adam Symson. “With its strong revenue growth, high margins and significant cash flow, ION will make Scripps a more powerful and durable media business with significant near-term benefit as well as long-term value. ION Media is a distribution double threat – carried on cable and satellite through must carry while also capitalizing on cord-cutting and the growth of free over-the-air broadcasting. This transaction is another in a long list of Scripps’ transformative moves to where we see opportunity for growth and to benefit from the evolving media landscape.

“For more than 70 years, Scripps has been dedicated to local broadcasting and the markets we serve with an unparalleled commitment to quality objective journalism, community service and stewardship of the public’s airwaves,” said Symson. “Now, with this national broadcasting acquisition, Scripps will be the largest holder of broadcast spectrum, poised to take an even greater leadership role in the development of future business models that leverage ATSC 3.0 and spectrum to benefit the American people.”

Ted Weschler, the Berkshire Hathaway officer responsible for the investment, said Scripps’ history of value creation drove their interest in the transaction.

“As the media industry continues its rapid evolution, Berkshire Hathaway is fortunate to partner with this management team and the Scripps family, who have successfully anticipated the future of media for over a century,” Weschler said.

ION Media and the five Katz networks operate in the over-the-air (OTA) television marketplace, which saw 67% growth, to 25% of all TV households, from 2018 to Q3 2019 (Parks Associates research, March 26, 2020), as consumers opted to supplement their digital television services with free over-the-air, linear broadcast television and its quality programming to create a new consumer bundle. Because of the pandemic, OTA viewership growth is expected to accelerate, according to Parks. Both ION and Katz also participate in the national advertising marketplace, which has fared relatively well during this year’s economic crisis.

Scripps Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Lisa Knutson said the company will capitalize on ION’s nationwide reach and operational excellence to drive growth, further enhance company cash flow and realize significant synergies.

Knutson, who also leads Scripps’ strategic planning and will lead the integration of ION, said the addition of ION is a key milestone in Scripps’ continuing evolution as it anticipates consumers’ changing media habits.

“We have created tremendous shareholder value while managing debt through asset sales and high-cash-flow revenue streams such as retransmission fees and political advertising, working all the while to maintain a flexible balance sheet in order to capitalize on our next opportunity,” Knutson said. “Now we are building an even stronger financial foundation that will allow us to act as leaders in the future of the television industry while we serve our audiences and consumers in effective and efficient new ways.”

Transaction highlights

Purchase price: $2.65 billion

Synergies: About $500 million over six years, reaching a run rate of about $120 million a year, mainly driven by migrating the Katz networks to ION digital subchannels as Katz’s current distribution contracts expire and corporate savings

Implied transaction multiple: 5.9 times ION’s last 12 months EBITDA through June 2020, with annualized synergies applied at the fully realized annual rate; 8.2 times on same basis without synergies

Financing: The transaction is expected to be financed with $1.85 billion of secured and unsecured debt and a $600 million investment from Berkshire Hathaway in preferred stock. The debt financing is being led by Morgan Stanley Senior Funding, Inc. (Existing Scripps debt is expected to remain in place; existing ION debt will be paid off as part of the transaction closing.)

Anticipated net leverage ratio at close: About 5.2x based on a lagging eight quarters basis

Contribution: Accretive to Scripps free cash flow and margins in 2021 and beyond; Scripps’ return on invested capital would exceed its weighted average cost of capital starting in the first year, 2021.

Regulatory considerations: Requires Federal Communications Commission approval; Hart-Scott-Rodino clearance

Divestitures: Scripps will divest of 23 ION stations. The proposed divestitures will allow the merged company to fully comply with the FCC local and national ownership regulations. Scripps has agreed to a transaction with a buyer, who has agreed to maintain ION affiliations for the stations.

Anticipated closing: First-quarter 2021

ION Media financial highlights

2019 revenue: $587 million

2019 EBITDA: $335 million

Last 12 months through June 2020: $558 million of revenue; $323 million of EBITDA

2020 outlook: Consistent with performance of national advertising marketplace; revenue projected to be down mid teens from 2019

2009-2019 revenue CAGR: About 12%

Employees: 425

Berkshire Hathaway investment highlights

Amount of preferred stock: $600 million

Dividends: 8% per year if paid in cash; 9% if deferred

Redemption: The preferred stock will have no maturity date but will be redeemable starting five years after issuance.

Warrant: Berkshire Hathaway to receive a warrant to purchase up to 23.1 million Scripps Class A shares at $13 per share. Berkshire may exercise the warrant at any time but no later than one year after all preferred stock has been redeemed.

Other considerations: While the preferred stock is outstanding, Scripps cannot issue a dividend or repurchase shares.

Governance: Berkshire Hathaway will not receive any board seats and will have no other governance rights.

Methuselah Advisors and Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC acted as financial advisors to Scripps and arranged the preferred equity investment by Berkshire Hathaway. Morgan Stanley Senior Funding, Inc. provided the financing commitments for the secured and unsecured debt.

BakerHostetler and Brooks Pierce served as Scripps’ legal co-counsel for the acquisition, and Simpson, Thacher & Bartlett LLP served as Scripps’ legal counsel for the committed financing. Evercore served as exclusive advisor to the Scripps family, and Kirkland & Ellis served as its legal counsel. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP and Cooley LLP served as legal counsel for ION Media.

Conference call

The senior management of The E.W. Scripps Company will discuss the company’s ION Media acquisition during a telephone conference call at 9 a.m. Eastern today. To access the live webcast, visit and find the link under “upcoming events.”

The management discussion will refer to a presentation that can be found at that link under “presentations.”

To access the conference call by telephone, dial (877) 226-8216 or (409) 207-6983 (international) and give access code 3585828 approximately five minutes before the start of the call. Investors and analysts will need the name of the call (“Scripps call”) to be granted access. The public is granted access to the conference call on a listen-only basis.

A replay line will be open from noon Eastern time Sept. 24 until midnight Sept. 24, 2021. The domestic number to access the replay is (866) 207-1041 and the international number is (402) 970-0847. The access code for both numbers is 8003632.

A replay of the conference call will be archived and available online for an extended period of time following the call. To access the audio replay, visit approximately four hours after the call, and the link can be found on that page under “audio/video links.”

Forward-looking statements

This document contains certain forward-looking statements related to the company’s businesses that are based on management’s current expectations. Forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks, trends and uncertainties, including changes in advertising demand and other economic conditions that could cause actual results to differ materially from the expectations expressed in forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this document and should be evaluated with the understanding of their inherent uncertainty. A detailed discussion of principal risks and uncertainties, including those engendered by the COVID-19 pandemic, that may cause actual results and events to differ materially from such forward-looking statements is included in the company’s Form 10-K and Form 10-Q, on file with the SEC, in the section titled “Risk Factors.” The company undertakes no obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date such statements are made.

About Scripps

The E.W. Scripps Company (NASDAQ: SSP) advances understanding of the world through journalism. As the nation’s fourth-largest independent TV station owner, Scripps operates 60 television stations in 42 markets. Scripps empowers the next generation of news consumers with its multiplatform news network Newsy and reaches growing audiences through broadcast networks including Bounce and Court TV. Shaping the future of storytelling through digital audio, Scripps owns top podcast company Stitcher and Triton, the global leader in technology and measurement services. Scripps runs an award-winning investigative reporting newsroom in Washington, D.C., and is the longtime steward of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Founded in 1878, Scripps has held for decades to the motto, “Give light and the people will find their own way.”

ION Television Is “Your Home for the Holidays” with Four All-New Movie Premieres

ION Television Is “Your Home for the Holidays” with Four All-New Movie Premieres
ION Television’s lineup ranked #2 among networks airing holiday movies in 2019, averaging 919,000 households in primetime.
[via press release from ION Television]

ION’s Annual Celebration Continues this December with the Premieres of “A Royal Christmas Engagement,” “Christmas Together,” “Beaus of Holly” and “The Christmas Sitters,” plus more than 30 Returning Favorites

Digital Multicast Network ION Plus Set to Air Nearly 40 Holiday Movies from Halloween through Christmas Day

WEST PALM BEACH, FL, SEPTEMBER 14, 2020 – Beginning Thanksgiving weekend, ION Television will once again be “Your Home for the Holidays.” Featuring a festive lineup of four all-new movie premieres and more than 30 returning favorites, ION is kicking off the holiday season on Sunday, November 29, with special holiday fare airing weekends in December through Christmas Day.

ION Television’s lineup ranked #2 among networks airing holiday movies in 2019, averaging 919,000 households in primetime. ION’s highest-rated movie, “A Christmas Princess,” delivered more than 1.7 million total viewers in primetime.*

“At a time when families are spending more time at home together, ION’s holiday lineup will provide an enjoyable escape for viewers who have made watching our movies a tradition of their own,” said Brandon Burgess, ION Media Chairman and CEO. “The network’s continued yearly success proves ION’s status as a go-to destination for holiday movie viewers.”

ION’s digital multicast network, ION Plus, also returns with a full slate of holiday movies in 2020. Beginning with the Halloween-themed “You Cast a Spell on Me” on October 31, ION Plus will feature nearly 40 holiday movies on weekends in November and every day in December through Christmas.

ION Television’s new movie premieres air weekends beginning November 29 through December 13. The full holiday movie schedule will be released this fall on The following is a list of ION’s all-new movies in 2020, including descriptions and cast info.

“A Royal Christmas Engagement”
Cast: Paige Bach, James Nitti, John Schneider
Writer: Adam Rockoff
Director: Fred Olen Ray
Synopsis: A Manhattan ad agency boss, John Holiday, entrusts Lauren to deliver the big pre-holiday client pitch, but only winds up annoying her when she’s teamed up with a European consultant. To Lauren’s surprise, this consultant turns out to be the handsome Prince Edward of Candashire, masquerading as his consultant pal to escape his royal duties for an incognito American Christmas.
Produced by: Hybrid

“Christmas Together”
Cast: Anna Marie Dobbins, Vivica A. Fox, Marc Herrmann, Riley Coe, Anthony Carro
Writer: Jay Cipriani
Director: David DeCoteau
Synopsis: A brokenhearted New York painter, Ava, and a West Coast widower, Mason, have their lives collide when Mason’s young daughter, Mia, rents out his guest house to Ava for Christmas, without her dad’s knowledge, in an attempt to convince her dad she is responsible enough to earn a dog for Christmas.
Produced by: Hybrid

“Beaus of Holly”
Cast: Jennifer Freeman, Johnny Pacar, Nikki Leigh, Michael Copon
Writers: Kelly Goodner, Jim Hemphill & David Michael Latt
Director: Anthony C. Ferrante
Synopsis: When Holly boldly proposes to Phil, he confesses he needs to first work things out with a long-ago ex. Having booked a romantic holiday sleigh ride, despondent Holly pours her heart out to sleigh driver, Jake, who takes a refreshing interest in her, until Phil returns.
Produced by: The Asylum

“The Christmas Sitters”
Cast: Tristin Mays, Nathan Owens, GloZell Green, Melissa Ordway, Justin Gaston, Chris Soules
Writers: Sam Jackson, Anna Rasmussen
Director: Dylan Vox
Synopsis: Facing holiday flight delays on a return trip from Europe, two parents double-book incompatible babysitters: the mother’s BFF lawyer friend, Nora, and the dad’s guitarist half-brother, Max, to look after their two kids and dog. After a rather stormy start, an attraction grows.
Produced by: The Asylum

*Source: Nielsen Media Research. 11/28/19 – 1/1/20. C3 impressions (000). Prime (M-Su 7p-1a). Top rated movie based on P2+. Original network holiday movie telecasts excluding repeats.

About ION Media

ION Media is an independent, privately held media company launched in 2007. ION Media’s flagship network, ION Television, is the most widely distributed and watched independent broadcast network in the U.S., serving 100+ million homes with a popular lineup of TV series, plus original shows and movies. ION Media also broadcasts two digital multicast networks nationally: ION Plus, offering general entertainment content; and Qubo, dedicated to children and families with content that entertains and educates. ION is the nation’s largest operator of full-power TV broadcast stations by national household reach, with 71 full-power stations. For more information, visit

About ION Television

ION Television, a top 5-ranked U.S. general entertainment network, is the flagship of the independent, privately held media company, ION Media. Launched in 2007, ION Television features a “Positively Entertaining” schedule of proven, award-winning programs, quality original series and popular holiday movies available on multiple platforms via its state-of-the-art distribution system. As owner of the nation’s largest broadcast station group, ION’s 71 full-power stations reach 100+ million homes. For more information, visit

About ION Plus

ION Plus is a digital multicast network featuring a proven slate of television’s most-watched dramas and holiday movies in a binge-friendly schedule. ION Plus’ diverse array of programs are both entertaining and engaging. ION Plus is available over-the-air 24/7. For more information, visit