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Fox Television Stations, LLC (FTS; alternately Fox Television Stations Group, LLC), is a group of television stations located within the United States, which are owned-and-operated by the Fox Broadcasting Company, a subsidiary of the Fox Corporation. FTS produced the first 25 seasons of Fox's program ''COPS'' (through Fox Television Stations Productions), until it moved to Spike (now Paramount Network) in the 2013–14 season. It also oversees the MyNetworkTV service and has a half-interest in the Movies! digital subchannel network, which is shared with Weigel Broadcasting.


History




Foundations

The Fox Broadcasting Company's foundations were laid in March 1985 through News Corporation's $255 million purchase of a 50% interest in TCF Holdings, the parent company of the 20th Century Fox film studio. In May 1985, News Corporation, a media company owned by Australian publishing magnate Rupert Murdoch that had mainly served as a newspaper publisher at the time of the TCF Holdings deal, agreed to pay $2.55 billion to acquire independent television stations in six major U.S. cities from the John Kluge-run broadcasting company Metromedia: WNEW (now WNYW) in New York City, WTTG in Washington, D.C., KTTV in Los Angeles, KRIV in Houston, WFLD in Chicago, and KRLD-TV (now KDAF) in Dallas. A seventh station, ABC affiliate WCVB in Boston, was part of the original transaction but was spun off to the Hearst Broadcasting subsidiary of the Hearst Corporation in a separate, concurrent deal as part of a right of first refusal related to that station's 1982 sale to Metromedia. Because Metromedia (originally known as Metropolitan Broadcasting at its founding) was spun off from the failed DuMont Television Network, radio personality Clarke Ingram has suggested that the Fox network is a revival or at least a linear descendant of DuMont. The former Metromedia stations WNEW (originally known as WABD) and WTTG were two of the three original owned-and-operated stations of the DuMont network, and the former base of DuMont's operations, the DuMont Tele-Centre in Manhattan, eventually became the present-day Fox Television Center. On December 31, 1986, WXNE-TV in Boston (later renamed WFXT on January 19, 1987), became the seventh Fox-owned property, and the first to be acquired separately from News Corporation's 1986 purchase of Metromedia's six television stations. However, as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) prohibited the common ownership of a television station and a newspaper in the same market, News Corporation had to apply for and was granted a temporary waiver in order to retain WFXT and the newspaper it had also published, the ''Boston Herald''. In 1989, Fox placed WFXT in a trust company; the following year, it sold the station to the Boston Celtics' ownership group. News Corporation then later sold the ''Boston Herald'' in February 1994, eliminating the potential regulatory conflict with reacquiring WFXT. On October 5, 1994, Fox announced it would exercise the purchase option; (preview of subscription content) it retook control of WFXT on July 7, 1995. (preview of subscription content) In 1990, FTS bought KSTU in Salt Lake City, making it the first network-owned station in Utah.

New World Communications deal

FTS gained a bulk of stations through the 1997 purchase of New World Communications, succeeding a 1994 business deal between the two companies which led to all of New World's stations switching from other networks to Fox during 1994–95. A significant factor that resulted in Fox's affiliation with, and later purchase of, New World Communications was Fox acquiring TV rights to the National Football League (NFL), primarily covering games involving teams in the National Football Conference (NFC). Because NFL games generate high ratings, owning these stations outright allows FTS to also collect the local advertising revenue, as well as use them as leverage during retransmission consent negotiations with cable and satellite providers. The originally 1994 affiliation deal with New World also triggered a chain of affiliation changes across the country and other multi-station affiliation deals for the next couple of years. Renaissance Broadcasting had previously sold WATL to FTS in 1993 to become a Fox owned-and-operated station, the first network-owned station in Atlanta. FTS was in the planning stages for a news department at the station, and WATL had even gone as far as hiring a news director. However, when the New World affiliation deal was signed, it was agreed that New World's and Atlanta's longtime CBS affiliate WAGA-TV would switch over to the Fox network. As a result, Fox cancelled the plans for a newscast on WATL and put the station up for sale. Renaissance Broadcasting had also sold KDVR in Denver, along with its satellite station KFCT in Fort Collins, Colorado, to FTS on November 15, 1994, in exchange for acquiring KDAF in Dallas. One of original core stations that FTS acquired from Metromedia, it was set to lose Fox programming to that market's longtime CBS affiliate, New World's KDFW. New World was also expanded its own broadcasting holdings in 1994 by buying other stations groups, but its combined purchases ran afoul with the FCC's media ownership rules at the time prohibiting a single company from owning more than twelve television stations nationwide. New World thus established a trust company in preparation for its sale of WGHP in High Point, North Carolina and WBRC in Birmingham, Alabama, which it would place the stations into in September and October 1994 respectively. Under the arrangement, New World owned the licenses of WBRC and WGHP, while its previous owner Citicasters continued to control their operations under outsourcing agreements. In April 1995, Citicasters transferred the operations of WBRC and WGHP to the FTS, which assumed operational control through time brokerage agreements with New World. Both stations were sold directly to Fox three months later on July 22, 1995. FTS also acquired WHBQ-TV in Memphis in an unrelated deal on August 18, 1994. Among the other affiliation changes, most notable was Westinghouse Broadcasting's affiliation deal with CBS in 1995. This set off a complex trade of Philadelphia stations between CBS/Westinghouse and NBC; FTS instead independently bought its own Philadelphia station, WTXF-TV. When New World's sale to Fox closed in 1997, ten stations became Fox owned-and-operated stations: KSAZ-TV in Phoenix; WTVT in Tampa, Florida; WAGA-TV in Atlanta; WJBK in Detroit; KTBC in Austin, Texas; KDFW in Dallas; WDAF-TV in Kansas City, Missouri; KTVI in St. Louis; WJW in Cleveland; and WITI in Milwaukee.

Chris-Craft acquisition

FTS gained stations through the 2000 acquisition of the Chris-Craft/United group, which gave Fox ownership of several stations then affiliated with the UPN network, and also created several duopolies (two stations in the same market owned by the same company). When the deal was finalized in 2001, this immediately created duopolies (two stations in the same market owned by the same company) between Fox and former Chris-Craft stations in markets such as Phoenix (KSAZ and KUTP), Los Angeles (KTTV and KCOP-TV) and New York City (WNYW and WWOR-TV). Although former Chris-Craft station KTVX would have also created a duopoly with Fox station KSTU in Salt Lake City, FCC regulations at the time prohibited one company from owning two of the four highest-rated stations in a single market. FTS thus traded both KTVX and the former Chris-Craft station KMOL (now WOAI-TV) in San Antonio to Clear Channel Communications in 2001 in exchange for WFTC in Minneapolis, creating a duopoly for FTS with former Chris-Craft station KMSP-TV. Because KMSP had the stronger signal due to being a VHF station, while WFTC was a UHF station, FTS decided to switch the affiliations in 2002, with Fox programming going to KMSP and WFTC taking over the UPN affiliation. FTS then bought KDFI in Dallas in 2000 and WPWR-TV in Chicago in 2002 to create duopolies with Fox-owned stations, KDFW and WFLD, respectively. FTS also made two other trades in 2002 to create more duopolies. Former Chris-Craft station KPTV in Portland, Oregon was traded to the Meredith Corporation in exchange for WOFL in Orlando, Florida, creating a duopoly with former Chris-Craft station WRBW. FTS then traded former Chris-Craft station KBHK (now KBCW) in San Francisco to CBS Television Stations for UPN stations KTXH in Houston and WDCA in Washington, D.C., creating duopolies with original Fox-owned stations KRIV and WTTG, receptively. WUTB in Baltimore was the only acquired Chris-Craft station during this time that FTS did not trade away or create a duopoly with.

Formation of MyNetworkTV

The Fox-owned UPN affiliates were not included in the UPN/WB merger (The CW), which was announced on January 23, 2006. Soon after, these stations removed references to UPN from their on-air branding and websites. On February 22, 2006, FTS announced that all nine of their non-Fox outlets will be charter affiliates of a new service known as MyNetworkTV, which commenced operations on September 5, 2006, with telenovela programming that was original to be syndicated. On May 23, 2016, it was announced that one of the Fox-owned former UPN affiliates that were left out of the initial negotiations for CW affiliation a decade earlier, MyNetworkTV owned-and-operated station WPWR in Chicago, would be taking over the market's affiliation with the network from rival WGN-TV in September of that year. MyNetworkTV remains on WPWR as a secondary affiliation. On December 21, 2007, FTS announced that it would sell nine of its stations to Local TV, LLC, a division of Oak Hill Capital Partners. Six of the stations that were sold were ex-New World stations, including the two stations that were first acquired by FTS directly in 1995 (WGHP in High Point, North Carolina and WBRC in Birmingham, Alabama) and four via the 1997 merger (WDAF-TV in Kansas City, Missouri; KTVI in St. Louis; WJW (TV) in Cleveland; and WITI in Milwaukee. The other three were KSTU in Salt Lake City, and KDVR in Denver and with its satellite station KFCT in Fort Collins, Colorado. The transaction was completed in 2008. In January 2009, NBC Owned Television Stations and FTS set up the first Local News Service with their Philadelphia stations after testing since the summer 2008. Fox and NBC then added other markets where they both own stations. On May 15, 2012, as part of a five-year affiliation agreement extension between Fox and Sinclair Broadcast Group's 19 Fox affiliates (including company flagship WBFF) that will run through 2017, Fox included an option for Sinclair to purchase WUTB, exercisable from July 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013. On November 29, 2012, Sinclair exercised its option to purchase WUTB through Deerfield Media. On May 6, 2013, the FCC granted its approval of WUTB to Deerfield Media, which was formally consummated on June 1.

Expansion into more NFL markets

On January 28, 2013, FTS announced that 17 of their stations would be affiliating with new subchannel network, Movies!, which is a joint venture between FTS and Weigel Broadcasting, on their subchannels. That same day, the company announced it would be acquiring the Charlotte duopoly of CW affiliate WJZY and MyNetworkTV affiliate WMYT-TV from Capitol Broadcasting Company. The deal was approved by the FCC on March 11 and completed on April 17. As part of the deal, WJZY became a Fox owned-and-operated station on July 1. The station community believed that the Charlotte station's purchase by FTS is proof that Fox is interested in owning a TV station in NFL markets (specifically those with NFC teams, as Charlotte is) to up the station groups' "bargaining power in retransmission consent negotiations with cable, satellite and telco operators." As part of the restructuring that stemmed from the News Corporation/21st Century Fox split, it was announced on July 8, 2013 that 20th Television, which was until that time under FTS, will operate under the management of 20th Century Fox Television. On June 24, 2014, FTS announced it would acquire its existing San Francisco Bay Area affiliate KTVU, along with its duopoly partner KICU-TV, from Cox Media Group in exchange for WFXT in Boston and WHBQ-TV in Memphis. The station sale/trade was completed on October 8, 2014. Fox's motivation for acquiring KTVU was that it was another NFL market with an NFC team. In addition to FTS's aforementioned purchases of Charlotte's WJZY in 2013 and the San Francisco Bay Area's KTVU in 2014, ''Variety'' reported that Fox is also interested in acquiring stations in the following other NFL markets: Seattle and St. Louis (the latter's KTVI had previously been owned by Fox, but was included in the 2007 sale to Local TV; with the St. Louis Rams relocating to Los Angeles starting with the 2016 NFL season, there is no word as to whether or not FTS' pursuit of a station in the St. Louis market has diminished). While discussions with Seattle's Fox affiliate KCPQ and its owner Tribune Broadcasting remained ongoing, Fox struck a deal on September 19, 2014, to buy KBCB, a station in nearby Bellingham, for $10 million; the purchase, submitted for FCC approval on October 3, was described as a "strategic option" for Fox by an insider. Tribune then agreed on October 17 to extend its affiliation agreement for KCPQ through July 2018, and pay increased reverse compensation fees to Fox for the broadcasting of the network's programming beginning in January 2015. Fox's application to acquire KBCB was dismissed by the FCC on November 20, 2014. On January 20, 2015, it was announced that Fox Television Stations would be a charter launch partner for Buzzr, a new digital multicast network from Debmar-Mercury and FremantleMedia North America devoted to classic game shows, which launched that June. Later in the year, FTS also agreed to carry Weigel Broadcasting's Heroes & Icons network on subchannels of 11 major market stations. On April 30, 2017, it was reported that 21st Century Fox was in talks to purchase Tribune Media in a joint venture with the Blackstone Group. On May 7, 2017, it was reported that Sinclair Broadcast Group was nearing a deal to purchase Tribune Media, and that 21st Century Fox had dropped its bid for the company. The deal was officially announced the next day. (However, on August 9, 2018, Tribune canceled the Sinclair deal.) On August 2, 2017, it was reported that 21st Century Fox was in talks to form a similar joint venture with Ion Media in an effort to counter Sinclair and displace Fox affiliations from their stations; analysts felt that the proposed partnership was meant as a bargaining ploy against Sinclair, as it would have to make significant investments into the acquired stations to make them profitable and capable of producing local news programming (Ion stations have historically had few employees or local infrastructure), and that Fox risked losing viewers through these transitions. In January 2018, the ''Financial Times'' reported that FTS was finalizing a deal to acquire as many as 10 Fox affiliates from Sinclair, as part of an effort to reach FCC approval of its proposed acquisition of Tribune Media. The deal would likely include Seattle's KCPQ (as Sinclair already owns ABC affiliate KOMO-TV there), KOKH-TV in Oklahoma City (Tribune already owns KFOR-TV), KSTU-TV in Salt Lake City (Sinclair already owns KUTV), KTVI in St. Louis (Sinclair owns KDNL) and Tribune's Fox/CW duopoly of KDVR and KWGN in Denver. This deal would bring several former O&Os previously divested to Local TV LLC (which was acquired by Tribune) back under Fox ownership. On May 9, 2018, Fox announced it would purchase KCPQ, KDVR, KSTU, KTXL in Sacramento, KSWB-TV in San Diego, WJW in Cleveland and WSFL-TV, the CW affiliate for Miami-Fort Lauderdale. The move would give Fox stations in the home markets for the Seattle Seahawks, Denver Broncos, Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins as the network takes over the ''Thursday Night Football'' package from CBS and NBC. After Tribune terminated its merger agreement with Sinclair on August 9, 2018, however, the sale of the seven aforementioned stations to FTS was likewise nullified.

Fox Corporation subsidiary

On December 14, 2017, after rumors of such a sale, The Walt Disney Company announced that it would purchase FTS's parent company, 21st Century Fox for $52.4 billion, plus the assumption of $13.7 billion in debt by Fox, subject to government approval. FTS, along with several other assets was spun off into Fox Corporation, a company owned by the Murdoch family. The deal was completed on March 20, 2019. With the loss of Twentieth Television in the deal, Fox Stations set up its own syndication arm, Fox First Run, despite some of their syndicated shows being distributed in conjunction with Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution. On November 5, 2019, Nexstar Media Group announced an agreement to sell WITI in Milwaukee (effectively a re-purchase) and KCPQ and KZJO in Seattle to Fox Television Stations, and would purchase from Fox WJZY and WMYT-TV in Charlotte. This gives Fox additional two bigger NFL team market stations. The station group launched its first online streaming service Fox Soul, an African American focused ad-supported streaming channel on January 13, 2020.

Units

* Fox Television Stations ** 18 Fox owned-and-operated (O&O) stations ** 10 MyNetworkTV O&O stations ** 1 independent station * Fox Television Stations Productions * Fox First Run (2019—present) first run syndication arm; shows: ''Divorce Court'', ''Dish Nation'' and ''25 Words or Less'' * Fox Soul (January 13, 2020—present) * MyNetworkTV * Movies! (JV with Weigel Broadcasting)

Stations

Stations are arranged alphabetically by state and city of license.

Current

Notes: * (**) – ''Indicates an original Fox-owned station from the network's inception in 1986''. * (++) – ''Indicates a station owned by New World Communications prior to its acquisition by News Corporation in 1997''. * (¤¤) – ''Indicates a station owned by Chris-Craft Industries/BHC prior to its acquisition by News Corporation in 2001''.

Former

Other Notes: * 1 WCVB-TV was included in the original sale of the Metromedia stations to News Corporation, but was spun off in a separate, concurrent deal to the Hearst Corporation as part of a right of first refusal related to that station's 1982 acquisition by Metromedia. * On a side note, in between the events of Fox acquiring its original charter affiliates and the New World affiliation agreement, only KDVR, KTVU, WFXT, WTXF, KSTU, WOFL and WOGX were already affiliated with Fox when they were acquired by Fox in future acquisitions.

References



External links

* * {{Major U.S. TV O-O Stations Category:American companies established in 1986 Category:Mass media companies established in 1986 Category:Fox Broadcasting Company Category:Fox Corporation subsidiaries Category:Metromedia Category:Television broadcasting companies of the United States Category:Owned-and-operated television stations in the United States