LOWDOWN ON THE UPFRONT: Shatner Shakes Up ION’s Upfront

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Unveiling its new primetime lineup and new branding, ION Television brought out some talent—Boston Legal’s William Shatner, The Dead Zone’s Anthony Michael Hall and veteran game show host Chuck Woolery—for its upfront presentation Thursday.

ION’s upfront gala, documented in this online photo gallery, was held at the New York Public Library in Manhattan, where the network told Madison Avenue about the bevy of off-network acquisitions it has made. The list includes not only Boston Legal and The Dead Zone, but also ER, The Ghost Whisperer and Criminal Minds, among other shows.

Emmy-winner Shatner kicked off ION’s upfront by coming onstage in character as crazy-like-a-fox lawyer Denny Crane. ION Media Networks CEO Brandon Burgess and Stephen Appel, president of sales and marketing, then took over.

RHI Entertainment, ION’s exclusive partner in weekend primetime programming, will deliver 12 original movies, including three Westerns, during the 2008-2009 season. Actor Dougray Scott, who will appear in one of the telepics, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, was also on hand for the upfront.

At the event, Australian singer Delta Goodrem sang to introduce ION’s new branding as “positively entertaining.” Goodrem’s music will be featured in the launch of the network’s fall season.