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Wtvz

WTVZ-TV
Newport News, Virginia
Branding MyTVZ
Slogan Your Entertainment Station
Channels Digital: 33 (UHF)
Affiliations 33.1 MyNetworkTV
33.2 Dark
33.3 The Country Network
Owner Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc.
(WTVZ Licensee, LLC)
First air date September 24, 1979
Call letters' meaning TVX Broadcast Group
(original owner)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
33 (1979-2009)
Digital:
38 (2006-2009)
Former affiliations independent (1979-1986)
Fox (1986-1998)
The WB (1998-2006)
The Cool TV on 33.2 (2010-2012)
Transmitter power 590 kW
Height 360.5 m
Facility ID 40759
Transmitter coordinates

36°48′31.8″N 76°30′11.3″W / 36.808833°N 76.503139°W / 36.808833; -76.503139

Website www.mytvz.com

WTVZ-TV is the MyNetworkTV affiliate serving the Norfolk-Portsmouth-Newport News, Virginia (or Hampton Roads) television market. The station broadcasts on channel 33 and owned by the Sinclair Broadcast Group. WTVZ's transmitter is located in Suffolk, Virginia. Syndicated programming on WTVZ-TV includes Seinfeld, The People's Court, Family Feud and The Big Bang Theory, among other shows.

History

In the late 1970s, the Hampton Roads area (as the region around Norfolk is known) was unique in that it was one of the smallest markets to have four commercial television stations: NBC affiliate WAVY-TV, CBS station WTAR-TV (now WTKR), ABC affiliate WVEC-TV, and independent station WYAH-TV (now WGNT). The latter station, however, was owned by the Virginia Beach-based evangelist Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network, and ran a fairly conservative program schedule. At the same time, WYAH ran entertainment programs about 75% of the time and Christian programming 25% of the time. The entertainment shows were typical of most independents at the time and in fact WYAH had a stronger schedule than many secular independents. Still, Norfolk businessman Tim McDonald felt that there was a need for a second independent station in that market, though a few markets far larger than Hampton Roads still didn't have independent stations (San Antonio, Texas and Birmingham, Alabama for example). In 1976, McDonald formed TVX Broadcast Group and secured a construction permit for Norfolk's vacant channel 33.

WTVZ began operations on September 24, 1979. The station ran a general entertainment format similar to WYAH but with a little less religious programming (for example it ran the PTL Club between 10 AM and Noon). WTVZ experienced early success, mostly through airing a moderate amount of programming that had been considered too objectionable for WYAH. By 1981, WTVZ had passed WYAH in the ratings. Both stations had fairly similar shows (some of WTVZ's shows were ones that fell off WYAH shortly before), though WTVZ had stronger, better known, and more recent movies. Besides vintage movies, WTVZ aired a lot of cartoons, classic and recent off network sitcoms, and a few drama shows.

TVX began expanding outside of Norfolk and launched WRLH-TV (channel 35) in nearby Richmond in 1982. TVX also bought independent stations in Raleigh and Greensboro, North Carolina, New Orleans, and Little Rock, Arkansas and launched new independents in Nashville, Memphis, San Antonio and Buffalo, New York throughout the mid-1980s. In 1986, TVX affiliated all of its stations, including WTVZ, with the Fox Broadcasting Company.

In February 1987 TVX purchased Taft Broadcasting's Fox affiliates and independent stations, all of which were located in larger markets such as Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and Miami. However, the company began to run into financial troubles due to debt incurred from the Taft purchase, and proceeded to sell its smaller-market stations one by one. In 1989, WTVZ was sold to Sullivan Broadcasting. The station was acquired by the Sinclair Broadcast Group in 1996. The Sinclair deal reunited channel 33 with several of its former TVX sister stations which had also been purchased by Sinclair.

WTVZ considered launching a local 10 p.m. newscast in 1991 and 1994, and in 2003 using Sinclair's News Central format.[1][2][3] The station's plans to start a newscast have never come to fruition.

WTVZ kept its Fox affiliation until August 1998, when it became a WB affiliate as a result of a corporate deal between Sinclair and WB. WVBT-TV (channel 43), the market's original WB affiliate, became the Fox affiliate. Throughout the 1990s, classic sitcoms, older movies, and older cartoons made way for more talk/reality shows, court shows, and more first run prime time shows from WB. Like virtually every independent station (including UPN (before 2006), Fox, My Network TV (after 2006), and WB/CW stations), the weekday cartoons also gradually disappeared from about 2000 to 2006, due to changes in the broadcast industry in general.

On January 24, 2006, the UPN and WB networks announced they would merge into a new service, to be called The CW, to take effect in September 2006. Former UPN affiliate WGNT became the CW's Hampton Roads affiliate. On March 2, 2006, Sinclair announced that WTVZ and sixteen of its sister stations would become MyNetworkTV affiliates, that affect in September. MyNetworkTV is operated by Fox and its parent company, the News Corporation. As a MyNetworkTV affiliate, the station changed its branding to "MyTVZ". This also made WTVZ one of the few stations to have been affiliated with both News Corporation-owned networks, Fox and MyNetworkTV.

On May 15, 2012, Sinclair Broadcast Group and Fox agreed to a five-year affiliation agreement extension for Sinclair's 19 Fox-affiliated stations until 2017. This includes an option, exercisable between July 1, 2012 and March 31, 2013, for Fox parent News Corporation to buy a combination of six Sinclair-owned stations (two CW/MyNetworkTV duopolies and two standalone MyNetworkTV affiliates) in three out of four markets; WTVZ is included in the Fox purchase option, along with stations in Cincinnati (WSTR-TV), Raleigh (WLFL and WRDC) and Las Vegas (KVCW and KVMY).[4] In January 2013, Fox has announced that it will not exercise its option to buy any of the Sinclair stations in those four markets mentioned.[5]

Newscast titles

  • WAVY News 10 on Fox 33 (1990s)

Station slogans

  • Prime All the Time (1980s)
  • Your Hampton Roads Fox Station (early 1990s)
  • Your Entertainment Station (2006-present)

Digital television

Digital channels

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming
33.1 720p 16:9 WTVZ-MY Main WTVZ-TV programming / MyNetworkTV
33.2 480i 4:3 WTVZ-CO Currently Dark or Unknown
33.3 WTVZ-TC The Country Network

WTVZ-TV carried The Tube Music Network on digital subchannel 33.2 from July to December 2006. From 2010 until August 31, 2012, it carried TheCoolTV on 33.2 until Sinclair dropped the network on all of its stations.

Analog-to-digital conversion

On February 17, 2009, WTVZ-TV turned off its analog signal, channel 33, and became a digital channel, one of the three in the Hampton Roads area to be all-digital (the others are WSKY-TV and WHRO-TV). In late April 2009, WTVZ-TV left digital channel 38 and moved to channel 33, its former analog channel.

References

External links

  • WTVZ website
  • Query the FCC's TV station database for WTVZ
  • Query TV Fool's coverage map for WTVZ
  • BIAfn's Media Web Database -- Information on WTVZ-TV
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