More diginets fall: Scripps pulls plug on Ion Plus, ShopIon, Qubo

Former Katz networks to take their place

Get ready for a major shift in the digital channel world. 

Months after Scripps acquired Ion Networks, the company announced it was eliminating three digital subchannel networks: Ion Plus, ShopIon, and Qubo effective at the end of February. Those channels will be replaced by existing Katz channels, including Bounce, Grit, Laff, and Court TV. Scripps purchased Katz Communications in 2017 and last year purchased Ion for $2.65 billion. 

This only involves the Ion stations owned by Scripps including WCPX here; non-O&O Ion affiliates – including the 23 stations recently spun off to the new INYO broadcast group, who owns stations in Phoenix, Denver, and Kansas City, are not part of the move.

The framework on how these channels would migrate hasn’t been decided as the moves will vary by market. In Chicago, Univision-owned WGBO and WXFT are set to lose Grit, Laff, and Court TV Mysteries (formerly Escape) while WCIU’s 26.5 will lose Bounce. WGN is losing Court TV on 9.3 – and this two years after Katz made a deal with then-owner Tribune to launch the channel.

With existing contracts varying, it is not exactly known when the moves would take place though Scripps said some migrations would start March 1. But other moves won’t take place until 2024 when Univision’s contracts to carry the channels expire. Univision carries the former Katz channels in most large markets, including New York and Los Angeles.

The ABC-owned stations have Laff with the exception of WLS-TV, who dropped the channel after the spectrum auction in order to share channel space with WXFT. Its contract status with Scripps is unknown. 

The distribution expansion of the Scripps multicast networks through Ion’s broadcast spectrum is the first major step in our realizing the tremendous synergies of the Ion transaction,” said Scripps President-CEO Adam Symson. “National Networks President Lisa Knutson and her team are working quickly and effectively to uphold Scripps’ commitment to executing our plan. Once again, Scripps is doing what we said we would do.”

These moves are the latest in a changing atmosphere in the diginet world. On Friday, Allen Media Group’s new TheGrio.TV officially replaced Light TV while CBS Television Stations soft-launched a new diginet channel last month called Fave TV, but very little information has been released about the channel. So far, programming mainly consists of reality TV show reruns from parent Viacom’s cable networks.

In addition, NBC-owned stations launched NBCLX about two years ago, targeted to millennials with original programming and newscasts – an ambitious effort in the space, with the channel also available on numerous other platforms including the web, YouTube, and through co-owned Xfinity (Comcast) among others. Locally, NBCLX can be found on WMAQ-TV 5.3 and Xfinity channel 342 and 1175. 

While Ion Plus was mainly overflow programming of stuff already on Ion and ShopIon was basically an around-the-clock infomercial channel, the loss of Qubo leaves PBS Kids as the only 24-hour kids network left in the diginet space. 

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28 thoughts on “More diginets fall: Scripps pulls plug on Ion Plus, ShopIon, Qubo

    • This is so depressing. Qubo airs famous and wonderful obscure cartoons for kids and families. Maybe Comcast-NBC can purchase it, but who knows.

      TV is already gloomy with airing too many crime shows. Most of the digital channels involve solving murders. It would be nice if there were more kid or family channels on digital channels.

      • I agree! We have too many of those crime shows as it is. There is now nothing for kids on unless you want to pay for cable, which most families can’t afford right now.

    • This is terrible. Qubo airs the best classic and popular cartoons programs for small children and Scripps decided to pull the Qubo channel off the air due to cost? We need to keep kid friendly channels on the air 24/7, not investigating and crimes channels.

    • Qubo had wholesome classic, fun, friendly, simple, happy cartoons and family shows. Unlike PBS (government funded) who is pushing social justice and gender ideology topics to indoctrinate children. It’s a shame Qubo is no more.

    • I’m so disappointed to hear about Qubo and the other channels. Yes, too many crime shows! I myself will especially miss Murdoch Mysteries that I got hooked on. Loved that show. Basic channels that are left don’t really show anything of interest.

      • I agree! I was totally hooked on Murdoch. Sad.

      • I can’t believe they are taking away Murdoch Mysteries. I am so into that show. I had to down load the app dailymotion so I could watch other episodes. Season 12 is airing on CBS on Saturdays at 3:05 am Central time.

    • This sucks!! I got addicted to Murdoch Mysteries and now it’s gone. And even though I’m an adult I would occasionally watch some of the cartoons on Qubo. Now it’s Grit/Court TV neither of which I will ever watch

      • Bring back Murdoch mysteries please

        • Qubo in exchange for Grit? Seriously? Qubo was high quality programming for children. Top notch down to the commercials! Probably the only network I could trust my daughter to watch without supervising her.

          I would pay for such wholesome programming instead of those garbage networks that expose children to agendas, age inappropriate topics, or commercials for adult content on children programming. Come on!

    • Bring Qubo back. It doesn’t make any sense to lose it. I miss the cartoons there.

    • I am going back to listening to radio. There is absolutely NO variety on any of these channels anyway….. why broadcast the same shows on three different channels and hope for more viewership? Stupidity.

    • This change is for the birds. Why do I need two channels to air court tv and get no ion plus. I prefer Murdoch Mysteries.

    • This really sucks! My grandsons loved Qubo and so did I. It had programs not found anywhere else, way better than boring PBS Kids. As for ION Plus, that’s the channel I watched most, it was not the same as ion as you stated in the article. Now I have 2 Court TV and 2 Grit channels with identical programming! By the way, we are NOT all millenials!

    • I’m pretty upset at the loss of Qubo. It was the ONLY kid channel we got to come in! My toddler loved it. It helped me when I needed to get stuff done. They need to bring it back!! Even if we got PBS kids I probably wouldn’t turn it on as it’s garbage government owned propaganda for children.

    • It’s really too bad! Qubo was like an antidote, to all the other ion programs, which are primarily, sex crimes, death, murder, and court investigation type tv! Scripps went for the bottom dollar and ended up canceling the family friendly part of ion!

    • So disappointed to have qubo removed from the program. Our children watch qubo shows every day. Very disappointing. We will never watch the shows they replaced it with

    • Who’s brainstorm took off qubo? Shame on you! Kids need that channel! Now you want our kids to watch tv shows about more bad things GREAT… what is the sense in that? Sadly missed

    • I very much looked forward to Murdock Mysteries and even watched Private eyes. I don’t think we need two Laff channels and no Murdock. Please bring the previous programming back.

    • What bout murdoch mysteries that was a thing that I would do on the weekend to watch it but now my memories are ruined

    • My toddler misses jayjay the jet airplane.
      My 6yr old twins miss the commercials.
      Please bring back Qubo

    • Pls bring back qubo, my grandson loves Cody and Om nom. What a shame they took it away and now have 2 court tv and 2 grit. Why?

    • Please bring back Qubo. The shows on there were enjoyable for all our family from the 2year old yo the 90 year old. Too much garbage on the other channels.

    • I love the Murdoch Mysteries series. What a unique family program. I watched it when ever I could. I am so disappointed in the decision to pull Ion Plus out of Colorado on the public airways. Not everyone can afford cable or Dish. A shot in the foot for older folks living on a fixed income. :(

    • Please bring back qubo

    • Bring back Qubo. I, an 18 year old girl, grew up watching hundreds of cartoons on Qubo during the years. I still tune in every once in a while- or at least I used to before it was shut down. You can’t find shows like Class of the Titans, Ms Spider’s Sunny Patch Friends, Jane and the Dragon, Jakers! and Carmen Sandiego anywhere else. I got to relive my childhood Saturday morning cartoon memories with this channel. Now I can’t.

    • I also agree, i used to watch Qubo, Ion Plus and Light Tv, they were my favorite tv channels of all time, it is very sad to see them go! Maybe they will come back one day! Who knows! they had really great shows it’s very sad! please try to bring back Qubo Ion Plus, and Light Tv , it would really be nice to see and watch the same great shows again!

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