cover image Threading the Needle: The Pax Net Story

Threading the Needle: The Pax Net Story

Lowell Paxson. HarperBusiness, $25 (183pp) ISBN 978-0-88730-948-9

Cofounder of the Home Shopping Network, Paxson could shake up the television industry this year when his company, Paxson Communications, which owns over 75 TV stations, launches PAX NET--a family-oriented TV network that, he claims, will air ""positive programming that communicates God's love and presence."" Part homily, part business autobiography, part Christian self-help manual, this forthright self-portrait written with Templeton, a minister, charts Paxson's metamorphosis from pitchman and radio announcer to a phenomenally successful entrepreneur and media mogul. Paxson, who calls himself a visionary and a pioneer, and reiterates his belief that his success (and PAX NET) are part of God's plan, somehow manages to come across as unpretentious, though his prose tends to be as bland, didactic and formulaic as some of his syndicated fare. By ""threading the needle,"" he means balancing the significant elements in one's life--spiritual growth, work, family values--by opening oneself to God. For Paxson, this came after he hit spiritual bottom--when his first wife dumped him for another man on Christmas Day 1986. He dusted himself off and came up with the idea of making cable America a retail wonderland with the HSN; now, with PAX NET (which owns syndication rights to Touched by an Angel; Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman; and Diagnosis Murder), he promises to recast family TV viewing in a kinder, gentler (and, one assumes, highly lucrative) light. Author tour. (Sept.)