Ion Life is an American digital broadcast television network that is owned by Ion Media Networks. The network primarily features lifestyle programming, consisting of shows pertaining to subjects such as health and wellness, cooking, home decor and travel, as well as theatrically released feature films.
Ion Life is carried mainly as a digital multicast service on Ion Media Networks-owned stations as well as select Ion Television affiliates (and is primarily placed on the third subchannel); its base national feed is also available on select cable and satellite providers.
The network launched on February 19, 2007, focusing on generalized health and lifestyle programming. Ion Media Networks originally planned to name the network "iHealth", a derivation of the then-name of its flagship network i: Independent Television, which was subsequently rebranded as Ion Television in September of that year.
On January 14, 2008, as part of a carriage agreement that allowed the provider to continue to carry Ion Television, Ion Media Networks reached an agreement with Comcast to carry both Ion Life and its children's-targeted network Qubo on its systems. Subsequently in May 2010, Ion Media signed carriage agreements with Advanced Cable Communications and Comcast's system in Colorado Springs, Colorado to add Ion Life to digital tiers in several markets.
Even though Ion Life's parent network Ion Television overhauled its logo as part of an extensive rebranding on September 8, 2008, Ion Life retained its existing logo – a green variant of the logo Ion Television used from 2007 to 2008 – and graphics package, the latter of which remained in use until 2011. In February 2010, the network added theatrically released feature films to its schedule, usually airing from 7:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. Eastern Time (the airtimes vary, sometimes starting earlier or ending later depending on the length and number of the films) on Monday through Friday evenings. By 2012, the number of films featured on the network had decreased, with more lifestyle-oriented programming being added to its prime time schedule; films returned to the lineup full-time the following year.
On March 27, 2017, Ion Life's logo was made over to match Ion Television's logo.
Ion Life operates on a 147-hour network programming schedule, which it adopted in January 2014. It provides general entertainment programming to its affiliated stations daily from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. Eastern and Pacific Time daily, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Monday through Saturdays, and 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. on Sundays. The remaining time periods are filled with infomercials.
Ion Life's programming primarily is made up mainly of archived content from the libraries of various distributors; the vast majority of the network's programming consists of shows originating from Canada – which air on the network on as much as a ten- to twelve-year lag – through companies such as Corus Entertainment and Shaw Media. The network also broadcasts theatrically released feature films as well as select other programs broadcast on parent network Ion Television during the evening hours on most weeknights. In July 2015, the network shifted the scheduling of its series programming from a mix of half-hour and hour-long blocks to one-hour blocks of lifestyle shows of various genres on weekdays and extended 90-minute blocks of home decor and home improvement-focused series on Saturdays and Sundays.
As of November 2015[update], Ion Life has current and pending affiliation agreements with 65 television stations encompassing 34 states and the District of Columbia. The network has an estimated national reach of 58.29% of all households in the United States (or 182,130,362 Americans with at least one television set). Like parent network Ion Television, the network's stations almost exclusively consist of network-owned stations. Ion Life's programming is available by default via a national feed that is distributed directly to select cable and satellite providers in markets without a local Ion Television station that carries the network.
Ion Life does not have any over-the-air stations in several major markets, most notably Baltimore, Maryland; Toledo, Ohio; San Diego, California; Charlotte, North Carolina; Richmond, Virginia; Green Bay, Wisconsin; and Cincinnati, Ohio. A key factor in the network's limited national broadcast coverage is the fact that Ion Media Networks does not actively seek over-the-air distribution for the network on the digital subchannels of other network-affiliated stations (in contrast, its parent network Ion Television – which had similarly limited national coverage following the digital television transition – has begun subchannel-only affiliation arrangements through agreements with NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations' Telemundo Station Group subsidiary and Media General during 2014 and 2015), with very few stations that contractually carry the network's programming (with limited exceptions in markets and Anchorage, Alaska). As a result, Ion Media Networks owns the vast majority of the stations within Ion Life's affiliate body.