Industry naysayers have not dented the confidence of Lowell "Bud" Paxson in the television network he is birthing. Due to be launched in August, Pax Net will offer family-oriented programming that addresses issues of faith. And like its flagship offering—reruns of Touched by an Angel—Paxson plans to confound his critics.

"Sure there are skeptics out of Hollywood and the TV industry: no sex, no violence, no ratings," Paxson says. "But I have no doubt that mainstream media will recognize that talking about God is a good thing and can make you money. The success in any network start-up is counterprogramming."

That strategy—programming that targets an underserved audience—combined with Paxson's entrepreneurial savvy, has been successful before.

"Bud's track record is pretty impressive," says Jerry Rose, president of Christian Communications of Chicagoland, which recently sold WCFC TV-38 in Chicago to Paxson for $120 million in cash.

MIDAS TOUCH: Certainly Paxson has proved that he can make money. The West Palm Beach, Florida, resident apprenticed as an entrepreneur in the radio industry, founded the Home Shopping Network in 1982, and took his company public in 1986. He founded the Silver King Communications group of broadcast television stations, eventually amassing a dozen, eight of them in the top ten U.S. markets. Paxson sold both enterprises in 1990.

Since then he has bought and sold a number of properties, including the Travel Channel. Paxson Communications went public in 1994. The company owns, or is close to acquiring, 73 television stations for Pax Net, which, when combined, can reach 70 percent of U.S. households.

Paxson, 63-year-old chair and CEO of Paxson Communications, says Pax Net will project ...

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