1994 United States broadcast TV realignment
The 1994 United States broadcast television realignment consisted of a series of events (primarily affiliation switches between stations) resulting from a multi-million dollar deal between the Fox Broadcasting Company, known commonly as Fox, and New World Communications, an owner of several VHF television stations affiliated with major networks, primarily CBS.
The major impetus for the changes was to improve local coverage of the fledgling network's new National Football League packages. As a result of various other deals that followed as a result of the affiliation switches, most notably the buyout of CBS by Westinghouse, the switches constituted some of the most sweeping changes in American television history. As a result of this realignment, Fox ascended to the status of a major television network, comparable in influence to the Big Three television networks (CBS, NBC and ABC).
Nearly 70 stations in 30 media markets throughout the United States changed affiliations starting in the fall of 1994 and continuing through early 1996.
NFL on Fox 
For some time Rupert Murdoch, chief executive officer of News Corporation, the parent company of the Fox network, lusted after a major-league sports presence for his network. He thought that landing a live sports broadcasting package would elevate Fox to the level of ABC, CBS and NBC, the other nationwide broadcast networks in the United States at the time.
In 1987, the network bid for Monday Night Football, then the NFL's crown-jewel program, but the offer was rejected. Six years later, in December 1993, Fox stunned the sports and TV worlds by acquiring partial rights to the NFL. The package – covering four seasons of games involving teams in the National Football Conference, as well as Super Bowl XXXI, a package previously owned by CBS – cost Fox $1.58 billion. CBS, then run by the cost-cutting Laurence Tisch, had reportedly bid only $290 million and was unwilling to even approach the Fox offer.
At the time of Fox's bid, most of its affiliates were lower-powered UHF stations. As Fox put together its new sports division to cover the NFL, it wanted to affiliate with VHF stations that had lower channel numbers (channels 2 to 13), more established histories, and carried more value with advertisers.
New World deal 
On May 23, 1994, months after completing the NFL contract, Fox agreed to purchase a 20-percent stake (a $500 million investment) in New World Communications, a media company controlled by investor Ronald Perelman. The following stations were part of the deal:
Existing New World stations 
- Atlanta: WAGA-TV (channel 5), affiliated with CBS
- Boston: WSBK-TV (channel 38), independent station
- Cleveland: WJW-TV (channel 8), affiliated with CBS
- Detroit: WJBK-TV (channel 2), affiliated with CBS
- Milwaukee: WITI-TV (channel 6), affiliated with CBS
- San Diego: KNSD (channel 39), affiliated with NBC
- Tampa: WTVT (channel 13), affiliated with CBS
Stations acquired from Argyle Television 
- Austin, Texas: KTBC-TV (channel 7), affiliated with CBS
- Birmingham: WVTM-TV (channel 13), affiliated with NBC
- Dallas: KDFW-TV (channel 4), affiliated with CBS
- St. Louis: KTVI (channel 2), affiliated with ABC
Stations acquired from Citicasters 
- Birmingham: WBRC-TV (channel 6), affiliated with ABC
- High Point, North Carolina: WGHP (channel 8), affiliated with ABC
- Kansas City, Missouri: WDAF-TV (channel 4), affiliated with NBC
- Phoenix: KSAZ-TV (channel 10), affiliated with CBS
Two Citicasters stations, ABC affiliates WKRC-TV in Cincinnati and WTSP in St. Petersburg, Florida, were left out of the New World deal, though neither station would have been of any benefit to Fox. In WKRC's case, the Cincinnati Bengals aired on NBC and WLWT at the time. Ironically, the Bengals' games now air on WKRC. And in WTSP's case, New World already owned WTVT, which was the higher-rated of the two stations at the time and had more full coverage of the Tampa Bay area as WTSP transmitted from a more northerly location which forced ABC (then WTSP's network partner) to maintain an additional affiliate in Sarasota (WWSB) to serve the entire market.
Not all the stations involved switched to Fox:
- Because of Federal Communications Commission rules of the time, New World could not keep WBRC and WVTM; WBRC was placed in a blind trust and would later be sold to Fox directly, as would WGHP. The two would later be sold to Local TV LLC, who then sold WBRC to Raycom Media, after less than a year of ownership.
- As a side effect of the sale of WBRC, WVTM, which New World kept, retained its NBC affiliation; KNSD also stayed with NBC, as in San Diego Fox already had an affiliate on the VHF band, XETV (channel 6). Both were directly sold to the NBC network for $425 million in May 1996. Today, NBCUniversal owns KNSD. WVTM would be later sold along with other smaller NBC-owned stations to Media General.
- WSBK did not join Fox because the network would reacquire its existing affiliate, WFXT. WSBK would later be sold to Viacom and became a charter member of UPN, which launched on January 15, 1995.
NFL connection to deal 
The key to the deal was that Fox upgraded its affiliate stations in several markets. Before the deal, of the 14 NFC teams at the time, only four—the Los Angeles Rams, New York Giants, San Francisco 49ers, and Washington Redskins—were co-located with VHF Fox affiliates. The Fox stations in New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. are three of the network's original six owned-and-operated outlets. The San Francisco Bay Area affiliate, KTVU, has been owned by Cox Enterprises since 1963.
Most of the stations involved in the New World deal were located in markets with teams from the NFC, which was at the time considered the more prestigious of the two NFL conferences for a variety of reasons. In particular, NFC teams were located in nine of the ten largest television markets at the time with the lone exception being Boston, whose only NFL team, the New England Patriots, played in the American Football Conference. Also, most of the NFC teams existed before the formation of the old American Football League and therefore contain longer histories, rivalries and traditions. During this time, the NFC was also in the midst of a 13-game winning streak against the AFC in the Super Bowl.
Many of the stations slated that switched to Fox were CBS affiliates in markets where NFC teams were located, thus fans would continue to see at least their team's road games on local VHF stations.
NFC teams in markets related to deal:
- Arizona Cardinals (KSAZ-TV)
- Atlanta Falcons (WAGA)
- Dallas Cowboys (KDFW and KTBC)
- Detroit Lions (WJBK)
- Green Bay Packers (WITI)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (WTVT)
AFC teams in markets related to deal:
KTBC and WITI served markets containing significant fan bases for nearby NFC teams. KTBC had aired Cowboys games for years (including during preseason), while WITI had broadcast Packers games to its Milwaukee audience since becoming a CBS affiliate in 1977 (through 1994, the Packers also played some games in Milwaukee).
In 1995, a year after the Fox switches, St. Louis received an NFC team when the Rams relocated from Los Angeles following the 1994 season, making KTVI the eighth station (and sixth in an NFC market) among the stations involved in the switchover and bringing the total number of NFC teams with VHF Fox affiliates to nine. That same year, the Carolina Panthers joined the NFL as an expansion team, which made WGHP another satellite "home" station for an NFL team as the Panthers are based in Charlotte, which is directly south of the Piedmont Triad region where WGHP is situated.
It should be noted that, because of the time it took for the FCC to approve the News Corp. investment in New World (as well as waiting for affiliation contracts to expire), the old, "lame duck" affiliates actually carried the NFL on Fox games for most of the 1994 season. For example, most Cowboys games were on KDAF in Dallas and KBVO in Austin, and the Lions were seen on WKBD-TV, while WCGV-TV in Milwaukee carried Packers games until WITI's affiliation deal with CBS ended at the start of December 1994, the only break in WITI's carriage of team games since 1977, when that station took CBS affiliation. In contrast, most Chiefs games aired on WDAF-TV while Fox's NFL coverage aired on KSHB, also until that same December, while KTVI aired Monday Night Football while KDNL aired Fox NFL Sunday before they traded networks in time for KDNL to air its first Super Bowl. As late as the 1995 season, New Orleans Saints games were on WNOL-TV, not WVUE (see the Burnham Broadcasting section below).
Burnham Broadcasting 
Just weeks after completing the New World deal, Fox announced another purchase, this one of Burnham Broadcasting. The stations involved were the following:
- Green Bay: WLUK-TV (channel 11), affiliated with NBC
- Honolulu: KHON-TV (channel 2), affiliated with NBC
- Mobile, Alabama: WALA-TV (channel 10), affiliated with NBC
- New Orleans: WVUE (channel 8), affiliated with ABC
Fox would become minority owner of these stations; majority partner Savoy Broadcasting, was a minority-owned communications firm. The deal gave Fox upgrades for the home markets of two more teams: the Packers and the New Orleans Saints, giving Fox VHF affiliates in eleven of the fifteen NFC markets, though in Green Bay it was a return to VHF as that market had gone through a smaller shuffle in 1992, when longtime Packer flagship WBAY-TV lost the rights to most Packers games when it took ABC affiliation in the wake of their former network, CBS's purchase of WFRV-TV. SF Broadcasting, as the Savoy Pictures-Fox joint venture was known, had been founded in March 1994. It was capitalized with $100 million – $58 million from Fox, $41 million from Savoy, and $1 million from the chairmen of Savoy Pictures. Fox had no voting stock (if they did, the stations would be counted against the FCC ownership total); instead, Savoy Pictures chairmen Victor A. Kaufman and Lewis J. Korman held all the stock.
Overnight, the landscape of local television in many areas changed as viewers were confronted with new network affiliations on their familiar stations. In some cases, the transition was straightforward, as in Kansas City, St. Louis, Austin, Cleveland and the Piedmont Triad the old Fox affiliates (all UHF stations) simply took up the previous affiliation of the new Fox affiliate. KSHB-TV replaced WDAF-TV as Kansas City's NBC station, while KDNL-TV and WXLV-TV aligned with ABC in St. Louis and the Piedmont Triad respectively. KBVO (now KEYE-TV) in Austin and WOIO in Cleveland affiliated with CBS.
The largest affiliation swap occurred in Birmingham, a market that expanded to include three other central Alabama cities, Tuscaloosa, Gadsden, and Anniston as a result. Six different stations changed affiliations due to WBRC moving from ABC to Fox. WCFT-TV and WJSU-TV, the respective CBS affiliates for Tuscaloosa and Anniston, merged and became the combined ABC affiliate for Birmingham and central Alabama. Because reception of both stations were poor in Birmingham proper, the owner of the two stations purchased low-power WBMA-LP and also made it an ABC station, in fact being the main station of the cluster. WNAL, the former Fox affiliate for Gadsden, became the CBS affiliate for northeast Alabama before eventually becoming the Pax (now Ion) network affiliate for Birmingham as WPXH-TV, thus making WIAT the only CBS affiliate in the area again. WTTO and WDBB, the Fox affiliates for Birmingham and Tuscaloosa, became independent stations before eventually affiliating with The WB Television Network.
Scripps/ABC affiliation deal 
The affiliate switches also led to another deal involving the E. W. Scripps Company, the parent company of KSHB-TV. Scripps' two largest-market stations, ABC affiliates WEWS in Cleveland and WXYZ-TV in Detroit, were being courted by CBS to replace WJW and WJBK, respectively. In agreeing to keep ABC on WEWS and WXYZ, Scripps required ABC to switch its affiliations to four of the company's non-ABC affiliates:
- NBC affiliate WMAR-TV in Baltimore, replacing WJZ-TV;
- CBS station WCPO-TV in Cincinnati, reversing an affiliation switch with WKRC-TV which occurred in 1961.
- Displaced UHF Fox affiliates KNXV-TV in Phoenix and WFTS-TV in Tampa, replacing KTVK and WTSP respectively.
In Phoenix, ABC went from market-leading KTVK to lesser-rated KNXV, while Citicasters-owned WKRC-TV and WTSP were fairly competitive ABC affiliates that performed satisfactorily, if not placed first, in the Nielsen ratings at the time. In anticipation of the possibility that WXYZ-TV did flip to CBS, ABC purchased its nearby affiliate WJRT-TV in Flint, Michigan and NBC affiliate WTVG in Toledo, Ohio as a contingency plan. NBC eventually signed with displaced ABC affiliate WNWO-TV in Toledo.
Westinghouse/CBS affiliation deal 
However, the switchovers did not especially go over well with Westinghouse Broadcasting (popularly known as Group W), whose WJZ-TV in Baltimore was one of ABC's strongest affiliates at the time in contrast to the weaker-performing WMAR-TV. Group W had already been in discussions with several networks for new, group-wide affiliations prior to the announcement of the Fox-New World deal, and these talks accelerated once that deal was announced. Later in 1994, the company agreed to affiliate three of its five stations with CBS. In September 1994, existing CBS affiliates KDKA-TV in Pittsburgh and KPIX in San Francisco began carrying the entire CBS schedule as a condition of the deal. Both WJZ-TV and NBC affiliate WBZ-TV in Boston switched to CBS in January 1995. This was followed by the switchover before the beginning of the 1995–1996 television season of KYW-TV in Philadelphia from NBC to CBS, to whom Group W also sold a minority share of KYW-TV.
KYW-TV's switchover prompted an additional network/station swap, in Philadelphia and in three other cities. WCAU-TV, Philadelphia's CBS station since 1948 and a network-owned outlet since 1958, was traded to NBC in exchange for KCNC-TV in Denver and KUTV in Salt Lake City. As compensation for these station trades, CBS-owned WCIX in Miami swapped facilities with NBC-owned WTVJ. Group W and CBS then formed a joint venture involving its new properties and WCIX (renamed WFOR-TV) with Westinghouse Broadcasting as the majority (51 percent) owner.
Group W's corporate parent, Westinghouse Electric, purchased CBS as a whole in 1996. This resulted in CBS being forced to sell WPRI-TV in Providence, Rhode Island, which it had acquired prior to striking its affiliation deal with Group W. The CBS purchase of WPRI-TV was the catalyst of an additional affiliation switch, as WPRI's former alliance with ABC moved to Freedom Communications-owned WLNE, which was previously a CBS station. WPRI-TV's signal carried from Rhode Island over into most of the Boston area whereas WBZ-TV's Boston signal traveled all the way into almost all of the state of Rhode Island. FCC regulations at the time prevented common ownership of stations whose signals overlapped and would not even consider a waiver for stations with large overlapping coverage areas.
Impact on CBS 
As expected, CBS bore the worst brunt of the changes. The network had already developed a stodgy and overly budgeted image under Laurence Tisch, who had become CEO in 1985. Tisch was already notorious for having made deep cuts at CBS News and for selling off major portions of the company, such as Columbia Records which was sold to Sony. When CBS lost the NFL to Fox, the problems accelerated as the "Tiffany Network" struggled to compete in the ratings with a slate of programming whose audiences skewed older in comparison to the other networks, even though the network still finished ahead of Fox, whose programming at the time of the NFL deal was almost exclusively limited to primetime and children's programming. One of the few bright spots in terms of ratings and audience demographics for CBS in the Tisch era, the Late Show with David Letterman, which often dominated The Tonight Show with Jay Leno in its first two years, saw its ratings decline in large part due to the affiliation switches, at times even finishing third behind Nightline on ABC.
CBS' problems were especially evident in the recruiting of new affiliates; as a direct result of the New World-Fox alliance, only a handful of new CBS affiliates were VHF stations:
- In the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, Gaylord Broadcasting-owned KTVT (channel 11) became the new CBS affiliate after KDFW switched to Fox. KDAF (channel 33), an original Fox-owned station, became a WB affiliate, and is now affiliated with the CW Television Network. KTVT would eventually be purchased by CBS itself in 1999, four years after the switches took place.
- As a by-product of the KTVT deal, another new VHF CBS affiliate at the time was sister station KSTW (channel 11) in the Seattle–Tacoma area, replacing KIRO-TV (channel 7). This affiliation only lasted two years though, as KIRO-TV returned to CBS in 1997 following a sale of the station from Belo Corporation to Cox Enterprises. CBS has since acquired KSTW, which is now the market's CW outlet.
- In Phoenix, CBS moved to KPHO-TV (channel 5), an independent station which ironically was CBS's original Phoenix affiliate. As part of the deal with KPHO parent Meredith Corporation, CBS moved to WNEM-TV (channel 5), replacing WEYI-TV (channel 25) in the Flint–Saginaw–Bay City, Michigan area; and protected its relationship with Meredith's Kansas City station, KCTV, through this deal as well. This deal, along with ABC's aforementioned purchase of WJRT-TV, led to NBC affiliating with WEYI-TV.
- CBS remedied their Cincinnati and Tampa-St. Petersburg situations by picking up both of the Citicasters stations displaced in the ABC-Scripps alliance. WTSP in Tampa-St. Petersburg switched to CBS in December 1994, while WKRC-TV in Cincinnati had to wait until WCPO-TV's affiliation contract with CBS ended in June 1996 before it could make its switch.
Because of the New World deal, eventual deals involving Scripps' stations, and the unwillingness of rival stations in almost all of the affected markets to switch to what had become a mediocre network critically and commercially, CBS was left with lesser-known affiliates in Atlanta, Detroit, and Milwaukee, where the new affiliates were all low-profile UHF stations with far less transmitting power and viewer recognition than their previous affiliates:
- In Atlanta, CBS almost purchased WVEU, which broadcast on channel 69, the highest available channel in the U.S. during the later era of analog television. Eventually, the network reached a deal with WGNX (channel 46, now WGCL-TV), then owned by Tribune Broadcasting and now by Meredith Corporation. WGNX was slated to become Atlanta's WB affiliate prior to agreeing to terms with CBS. Ironically, CBS now owns channel 69, WUPA, as a CW affiliate; it was with UPN until September 2006. The market's former Fox station, WATL (channel 36) became the WB affiliate. The station (now a MyNetworkTV affiliate) was sold to Gannett Company in 2006, making it a sister station to NBC affiliate WXIA-TV.
- Milwaukee's new CBS station, WDJT-TV (channel 58), had a general syndicated schedule, with some ethnic and time-brokered religious programming mixed in, along with very low cable carriage in the market. The station was based out of facilities in downtown Milwaukee's Marc Plaza Hotel, which had been regarded as antiquated, being the home of other television and radio stations in the past before modern facilities cold be built for them. The station's owners, Weigel Broadcasting, had its roots in running Chicago independent station WCIU-TV, and at the time never had any station of theirs affiliated with a major network. WDJT joined the network just one week before the switch, after an attempt by CBS to buy religious station WVCY-TV (channel 30) fell through. As WDJT's unexpected switchover to CBS came only days after it was announced as the market's new affiliate, a primitive logo featuring the CBS eye to the left of its "58" logo (scripted in italic Times New Roman) served as the station's logo for several months. Generic CBS promos were also used at this time while WDJT looked to start a news department and find larger studio facilities; the station then built a new transmitter in 1999 which now has transmitting power equal with the market's other five commercial stations. Former Fox affiliate WCGV-TV (channel 24) joined the then-upstart UPN network, and is now affiliated with MyNetworkTV as well.
- In Detroit, finding a replacement affiliate proved especially difficult for CBS. In an eleventh-hour deal reached mere days before WJBK-TV was due to drop CBS programming, CBS purchased WGPR-TV (channel 62) from a group of African-American Masons. CBS had preferred to reach a deal with another station, WADL (channel 38), but broke off negotiations when WADL's owner began making unreasonable demands. WGPR-TV's purchase though was also controversial; following CBS's decision in Detroit to purchase WGPR, Spectrum Detroit Inc., an investment group led by Lansing-based real estate investor and broadcaster Joel Ferguson, sued to gain control of the station. However, Spectrum Detroit could not stop CBS from moving its affiliation over to WGPR; a court later ruled the following year in favor of CBS. WGPR, which became WWJ-TV under CBS ownership, previously had the weakest signal of any UHF station in Detroit, but CBS invested heavily in the station and significantly upgraded its facilities. The former Fox affiliate, WKBD-TV, also joined UPN, and is now co-owned with WWJ-TV as the market's CW affiliate.
The ratings impact in the three markets where CBS was relegated to lesser-profile stations was significant; the former CBS affiliates were all considered to be ratings contenders, especially during the NFL season. With CBS having been relegated to the UHF dial on stations that had virtually no significant history as a former Fox or first-tier independent station (or former Big Three affiliate for that matter), ratings for CBS programming in these markets dropped significantly. At one point, in Milwaukee and Detroit, CBS was threatening to have to import the signals of nearby affiliates via cable as a result of its difficulty finding a new affiliate to replace WITI and WJBK, respectively. In Milwaukee, for instance, the affiliation switches there resulted in several of CBS' remaining sports properties, most notably the Daytona 500, not being carried over some southeastern Wisconsin systems in 1995 until carriage contracts for WDJT were signed.
Impact on ABC 
While ABC neither saw positive nor negative impact from the effects of the affiliation switches, some of its most prominent affiliate groups signed new affiliation deals that largely involved ABC. In addition to its affiliation deal with Scripps, ABC gained new affiliates when Allbritton Communications Company, the parent company of its Washington, D.C. affiliate WJLA-TV and the new combined WBMA-LP/WCFT/WJSU operation in Birmingham and central Alabama that replaced WBRC, signed all of its existing ABC affiliates to a long-term contract. The deal also added new ABC affiliates in WCIV in Charleston, South Carolina (from NBC, replacing WCBD-TV), newly established WJXX in Jacksonville (replacing WJKS-TV), and WB affiliate WBSG-TV in Brunswick, Georgia, which served the fringes of the Jacksonville market in southeast Georgia.
Another ABC station group affected was the broadcasting division of publishing firm McGraw-Hill, which also had arranged a new deal in which all four of its stations would affiliate with ABC. The company's two ABC affiliates, WRTV in Indianapolis and KGTV in San Diego, would be joined by CBS affiliates KERO-TV in Bakersfield, California and KMGH-TV in Denver, the former of which had to wait for its affiliation deal with CBS to expire before switching to ABC.
In the Sacramento-Stockton television market, Sinclair Broadcast Group agreed to surrender KOVR's ABC affiliation to then-Belo owned CBS affiliate KXTV. Since then, Gannett has purchased KXTV from Belo, while CBS has acquired KOVR. Since KOVR switched from ABC to CBS, the station launched what would become a successful programming schedule in which the CBS primetime lineup starts an hour earlier at 7 pm and ends at 10 pm, making them the only station in the Pacific Time Zone to hold that position.
In Kansas City, longtime ABC affiliate KMBC-TV, which had been in second place since the late 1980s, reclaimed first place following the New World affiliation switches, further intensifying its rivalry with WDAF-TV, which has swapped affiliations with Scripps-owned KSHB-TV, which became Kansas City's NBC affiliate.
However, ABC experienced significant downgrades in several of its Indiana markets–the most significant being in South Bend, where full-power affiliate WSJV, owned by Quincy Newspapers, switched to Fox in 1995 (possibly to assuage the fan base of the nearby Chicago Bears). W58BT, a low-power translator station of Chicago's WCIU-TV owned by Weigel Broadcasting which also carried Fox programming, ended up becoming an ABC affiliate almost by default due to the lack of another available commercial full-power station in the market (the only other choice, WHME-TV was owned by the broadcasting arm of the locally-based Lester Sumrall Evangelistic Association, which had no intent to sell nor take a network affiliation). This led to the same cable entanglements and reception problems as had happened in Milwaukee, though the market had fringe access to several other ABC stations, including Chicago's WLS-TV and Battle Creek, Michigan's WOTV. W58BT eventually became a licensed low-power operation with the calls WBND-LD, but did not start a limited news operation using reporting from South Bend and WDJT staff anchoring and weathercasting for the station until 2008, and a full locally-based news department in 2011.
Around the same time in Evansville, ABC lost its longtime affiliate WTVW (also the market's only VHF station) to Fox as well, but instead of affiliating with former Fox affiliate WEVV, the network would instead affiliate with the stronger CBS affiliate WEHT, while WEVV wound up becoming the market's new CBS affiliate. And in Terre Haute, WBAK-TV switched from ABC to Fox and became WFXW, leaving viewers with only fringe access to out-of-market ABC stations in Indianapolis, Evansville, and Champaign, Illinois. Fox dropped WTVW and WFXW as affiliates in 2011, due to a dispute between Nexstar Broadcasting Group and Fox over a planned increase in Fox's share of retransmission compensation that the network's affiliates received from pay TV providers; the network's programming now airs on digital subchannels of WEVV in Evansville and WTHI in Terre Haute, with ABC returning to WFXW (now WAWV-TV) in the latter market.
Impact on NBC 
As a result of the affiliation switches, NBC became the most-watched network in the United States, as it not only experienced the fewest effects of the switchover, but also benefited from a strong slate of programming at the time (including Friends, Frasier, Seinfeld, ER and the Dateline NBC franchise). NBC would maintain its ratings lead until the 1998–99 television season, coincidentally the first season since losing rights to its AFC package (see below), when CBS overtook NBC at number one. The three major networks would trade first place between 1999 and 2005, when CBS retook the lead; the latter network now often battles with Fox for first place, largely on the strength of Fox's American Idol. Since Friends and Frasier ended their runs in 2004, NBC has largely struggled in the ratings despite acquiring rights to Sunday Night Football in 2006 from ESPN, as a byproduct of the latter's acquisition of Monday Night Football from sister network ABC.
In markets where New World stations were located, NBC affiliates often reaped the most rewards. In Phoenix, KPNX was the only VHF commercial station (and one of two along with noncommercial PBS member station KAET) unaffected by the affiliation switch, and went from being the market's third-place station to its top-rated one. And in Tampa, after switching to Fox, WTVT in Tampa lost its number one position in the market to NBC affiliate WFLA-TV, which was also the only major-network station in Tampa not affected by the switch. The effects of the Group W deal also benefited NBC as well: in Denver and Baltimore, the remaining Big Three affiliates—Denver's KUSA-TV and Baltimore's WBAL-TV—joined NBC. KUSA-TV was already a strong ABC affiliate, while WBAL-TV was itself a strong CBS affiliate in contrast to perennial third-place NBC affiliate WMAR-TV, which CBS left for WBAL in 1981 over dissatisfaction with its frequent preemption of CBS programming and the poor performance of its newscasts. Two other displaced CBS affiliates, KSL-TV in Salt Lake City and WHDH-TV in Boston, also affiliated with NBC. KSL-TV has since become a strong NBC affiliate despite occasional preemptions effecting from its ownership by the broadcasting arm of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (one example being the 2012 sitcom The New Normal due to its homosexual characters), while WHDH in Boston went from being a perennial third-place station to a contender for first in the Boston ratings books. Not every outcome ultimately benefited NBC: in Honolulu, where NBC lost its affiliate KHON to the SF/Fox venture, it hoped to offer the affiliation to ABC affiliate KITV at first, but after KITV was sold to Argyle and opted to stay with ABC instead, NBC went with former Fox affiliate KHNL, where it has struggled as part of Raycom Media's locally controversial Hawaii News Now triopoly which includes CBS station KGMB and MyNetworkTV station KFVE. And, as previously mentioned, former Fox affiliate KSHB-TV in Kansas City took the NBC affiliation as New World owned WDAF-TV. KSHB struggled in the ratings until recent years, when, as NBC entered a period of decline, the station became Kansas City's fastest-growing television station, although the station remains in fourth place.
Programming repercussions 
Because Fox programmed far fewer hours than CBS, NBC and ABC, this left open a considerable amount of time for the new Fox affiliates to fill via syndication. Despite this, some of the more notable first-run syndicated programs of the time, including The Oprah Winfrey Show, Donahue, Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy!, Inside Edition, Entertainment Tonight and Siskel & Ebert (among others), were dropped by many of the New World stations that carried such programming. These shows were replaced by lower-budget syndicated programs as well as newer programs including Access Hollywood and Judge Judy. Judge Judy has since become a cultural icon and staple of Fox owned-and-operated stations in addition to being one of the highest rated syndicated programs, often finishing ahead of the above-mentioned shows in national Nielsen ratings, and its success fueled a resurgence of the reality courtroom show genre.
In regards to Fox's NFL coverage itself, there were still implications despite the new affiliations. San Diego's UPN affiliate KUSI-TV tried unsuccessfully to take the Fox affiliation away from XETV, citing FCC regulations preventing any foreign station outside of the United States (XETV is licensed to Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico) from airing live American sporting events without an FCC-approved license, but Fox was eventually granted the permit allowing XETV to carry games (even though San Diego is an AFC market that is home to the Chargers). KUSI eventually became an independent station in 1998, long before UPN dissolved in 2006, while XETV switched to the CW in August 2008 after losing its Fox affiliation to KSWB-TV.
In smaller markets with a strong NFL fan base, Fox did not even have a local affiliate, let alone a station to affiliate with, forcing the network to strike deals with other networks' affiliates. In Wausau, Wisconsin, Quincy Newspapers' ABC affiliate WAOW-TV aired the NFL on Fox package for five years (in addition to already airing Monday Night Football games as an ABC affiliate) to assuage its Packers fanbase until Wittenberg-licensed WFXS launched to allow the network an affiliate in the area (the net effect being that WAOW carried up to 13 Packers games a year from 1994–98 from both Fox and ABC). Also, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, KOCR-TV, a Fox affiliate with its own problems (it would go out of business in 1994 due to non-payment of power bills and eviction from its facilities ), gave the rights to the NFL on Fox package to CBS affiliate KGAN-TV. In Youngstown, Ohio ABC affiliate WYTV aired the NFL on Fox from 1994 to 1998 to help fill the void in areas that didn't receive WJW nor WPGH-TV until CBS affiliate WKBN-TV launched WYFX-LP as a full-time Fox affiliate. (Coincidentally, all three are now sister stations due to a shared services agreement for WKBN-TV to operate WYTV.) Despite being fertile battleground territory for the Browns–Steelers rivalry, as both teams were in the AFC having the NFL on Fox had minimal impact for both teams in the area, then no impact at all for Browns fans after the team "suspended operations" for three years. It did, however, give access to San Francisco 49ers games, since the DeBartolo family that has long owned the team were from the area and continue to reside in the Youngstown suburb of Canfield, Ohio.
Meanwhile, other stations whose affiliations were impacted began turning down weaker programs of their departing network. In Phoenix, KTVK, which lost its affiliation with ABC in the Scripps deal after having previously turned down CBS in anticipation of a renewed agreement with ABC, began to turn down most of the latter network's programming. On its final day as a lame-duck ABC affiliate, KTVK only had ABC's prime-time lineup, major soaps, and sports programming remaining. In Atlanta, before its switch on December 11, 1994, WAGA began turning down some weaker CBS programs on a week-by-week basis. Additionally, Fox's two former owned-and-operated stations in Atlanta (WATL) and Dallas (KDAF) had been in the process of launching primetime newscasts, with WATL having even hired a news director. After the New World deal resulted in Fox affiliating with the markets' CBS affiliates, these plans were shelved. KDAF eventually re-launched its newscasts (after a nearly decade-long hiatus) in 1999 under its new owners, while WATL would not air news until 2006, when Gannett purchased WATL and launched a 10 pm newscast produced by sister station WXIA. WXIA eventually relocated its operations to WATL's One Monroe Place studios in Midtown Atlanta.
In some instances, the networks had to continue running their newly acquired stations as affiliates of rival networks temporarily while new affiliation deals were finalized. In Toledo, ABC had to run WTVG (a former ABC affiliate from 1958 to 1970 as WSPD-TV) as an NBC affiliate for the two-month period between its purchase of WTVG and NBC's eventual affiliation with WNWO. And in Birmingham, Fox had to run WBRC as an ABC affiliate until that station's affiliation expired after the 1995–1996 television season. This practice was not new at the time; in 1988, NBC was forced to run WTVJ in Miami as a CBS affiliate for one year after Sunbeam Television, owner of rival outlet WSVN (currently Miami's Fox affiliate), refused to end that station's contract with NBC until it expired at the beginning of 1989.
Local newscasts 
In 1994, when Fox started airing NFL games, only a few Fox affiliates had local newscasts. Fox then demanded that its affiliates start local newscasts in the run-up to the launch of Fox News Channel in mid-1995 and their connecting affiliate news sharing service, Fox NewsEdge. Since then, most Fox affiliates that didn't already have local news have premiered local newscasts, usually starting with a 10 pm news and adding other time periods over time (most medium and small markets, however, have had a local Big Three affiliate produce the newscasts for the Fox affiliate, though a few of those Fox stations with such an agreement have ended those partnerships to start producing their own newscasts). Currently, the largest market whose Fox affiliate has no local news is KRBK in Springfield, Missouri, which has shown sitcom reruns instead. Until 2013, WUTV in Buffalo had been the largest Fox affiliate without a news operation, due to the availability of Buffalo stations in Toronto and Southern Ontario over-the-air and on cable.
The primary plus for the new Fox stations collectively was an increase in the amount of news covered on these stations, which Fox had high interest in doing as the network had no national newscasts, though now the one exception being Fox News Sunday. Over time, the former Big Three stations which had aired newscasts for years along with many original Fox stations expanded them. Morning newscasts on Fox stations gradually expanded to compete with the national morning shows aired by the Big Three. These morning newscasts have since performed competitively and have even placed first in the ratings, with its primary advantage being the focus on local news and events.
By the time of the Fox buyout of New World, some stations in the New World station group were still under-performing. Observers cited "a reluctance of station managers to embrace the new network and a tendency to cling to conservative news and promotional styles." Indeed, many New World Fox affiliates received major image overhauls between 1996 and 1998, such as WTVT and WAGA dropping their heritage Eyewitness News branding and KSAZ dropping its "sunset 10" logo after nearly fifteen years. Some branding changes proved to be controversial; in Cleveland, WJW controversially dropped their long-running NewsCenter 8 brand in favor of ei8ht IS NEWS, which was short-lived upon Fox's purchase of the station several months later, consigning WJW to the standard Fox 8 brand. Additionally, some of the new Fox affiliates, perhaps in appealing to Fox's younger-skewing audiences, moved many older news personalities to daytime broadcasts or released them entirely from their news teams. Some of these personalities eventually wound up on other stations, such as the new Big Three affiliates. Others have continued to work with the new Fox affiliates, one notable example being WJW chief meteorologist Dick Goddard, who has been associated with that station since 1966.
To this day, New World's Fox affiliates have seen mixed results with their newscasts. Some of the stronger New World stations have maintained their ratings dominance; in Birmingham, WBRC's prime-time newscast is considered one of the nation's highest-rated newscasts. Additionally, WDAF in Kansas City has finished number one in several time slots, including at 9:00 pm. However, in other markets, the results were subpar in comparison. In Cleveland, WJW-TV fell from first place in its market due to viewers being lost as a result of the station's newfound dysfunction in terms of news gathering. The problems were especially evident following the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995, when WJW-TV then had the disadvantage of not having an affiliated national news partner at the time; Fox News Channel did not exist until the following year, and the station was only able to use external feeds from CNN for news coverage outside of its Cleveland viewing area. WEWS (which shunned CBS via the ABC-Scripps deal) would overtake the station as the market's top-rated news team, while NBC station WKYC-TV, which for years had solely been used as a "farm team" station under NBC ownership to build up talent for larger NBC O&O stations until its sale in 1990, began to post higher ratings for the first time in decades. WJW has since regained the ratings lead for most of its newscasts. In Phoenix, KSAZ-TV surpassed KTVK-TV and has since held on to second place in the ratings.
As for many of the new Big Three affiliates, whether or not they were successful depended on their previous affiliations. For instance, new CBS affiliates that were previously NBC or ABC often maintained their ratings strength over time, and in some cases it depended on whether or not the station broadcast on VHF. Two of the new VHF CBS affiliates that were previously independent, KTVT in Dallas and KPHO in Phoenix, also became ratings contenders over time, with KTVT's 10 pm news even beating longtime leader WFAA-TV in that timeslot, while KSTW in Seattle struggled to gain an audience to the point where CBS eventually returned to prior affiliate KIRO-TV after only two years. Meanwhile, NBC's two former Group W affiliates saw divergent paths over time: Philadelphia's KYW surpassed WCAU for second place (behind WPVI) in the early 2000s (decade), while Boston's WBZ fell to third behind WHDH (with ABC affiliate WCVB-TV usually placing first).
However, many of the new Big Three UHF affiliates found difficulty gaining an audience. As these were former Fox affiliates (or independents) that either did not have news departments or only offered a primetime (10 pm ET, 9 pm CT, etc.) newscast at the time of their affiliation switches, almost all of them had to give in to launching new newscasts to back up the nationally-aired newscasts provided by the networks. In some cases, replicating the same amount of news coverage as their new network's departing affiliate was part of the new affiliation deals. Generally, the stations that continue to air newscasts to this day have generally finished in fourth place behind their VHF competitors. Scripps' KNXV, WFTS, and KSHB, for instance, often finish near or at the bottom of their markets' local news ratings despite gradual growth; KNXV still usually places last amongst its English-language competitors, with Univision's KTVW-TV often outrating its Anglophone competitors at times.
Furthermore, other new affiliates that launched newscasts failed to gain traction with its competitors and eventually either canceled their newscasts or outsourced them to other news organizations. In Detroit, WWJ-TV premiered a newscast in fall 2001 produced by sister station WKBD. Both the WKBD and WWJ newscasts were canceled in late 2002 under an agreement made by WXYZ-TV to produce WKBD's news. Therefore, WWJ became at the time the largest-market major-network affiliate, and the only O&O of any major network, to have no newscasts of any kind. From 2006 to 2008, WWJ-TV made light of this fact by using a slogan, Where No News is Good News, for promoting programming during periods where there would usually be newscasts. In 2009, WWJ attempted to air news, by airing a morning newscast called First Forecast Mornings produced in association with Gannett's Detroit Free Press and CBSDetroit.com, The show was cancelled in December 2012 over low ratings. Two ABC affiliates now owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, KDNL-TV in St. Louis and WXLV in the Piedmont Triad region, also experienced difficulty with their own attempts at news coverage. KDNL's news department lasted for six years until its cancellation, which was widely blamed on a transmitter problem, while WXLV has had two failed attempts at local newscasts, first since becoming an ABC affiliate until January 2002, and later from 2004–2005 through its controversial News Central experiment, which was canceled after Sinclair canceled the format on stations that broadcast it due to poor ratings. Both stations have since launched outsourced newscasts: KDNL airs newscasts through a news share agreement with local NBC affiliate KSDK (also owned by Gannett), and WXLV recently launched newscasts produced by Time Warner Cable's News 14 Carolina cable channel as of 2012, as part of compensation for a retransmission consent dispute between TWC and Sinclair.
Fox Kids repercussions 
When Fox made the affiliation agreement with New World, nearly all of the 12 stations that switched to Fox chose not to carry Fox's Monday-Saturday Fox Kids children's programming due to interest in airing more local news, which is uncharacteristic of a broadcast network affiliate. Affiliates of the Big Three were required to air their network's children's programming, although the Big Three only aired their shows on Saturday mornings compared to Fox Kids on weekdays in addition to Saturday mornings. Upon its switch to Fox as a newfound O&O, WGHP initially cleared Fox Kids, but by the spring of 1996 Fox had decided to allow its owned-and-operated stations to drop Fox Kids if another station in the market was interested (as the New World stations had done), and at that time Fox Kids moved to WB affiliate WBFX (now WCWG). WBRC in Birmingham, which until then had also planned to air Fox Kids, likewise permitted former Fox affiliate WTTO to continue airing Fox Kids even after it went independent and later joined the WB. These moves, along with WBRC remaining an ABC affiliate for its first six months under Fox ownership and the eventual acquisition of New World, made it the fourth network which had O&Os that did not air all network programming (after CBS, as WCAU did not air CBS' Sunday morning cartoons during 1978; ABC, as WPVI-TV continued preempting one hour of the network's programs after its owner bought the network in 1986; and NBC, as it bought WTVJ in 1987, but could not switch it from CBS to NBC until 1989). WTTO dropped Fox Kids in 2000, with the former WBFX (renamed WTWB-TV) following suit a year later. These preemptions were especially true following Fox's purchase of Chris-Craft/United Television in 2001.
Because of these preemptions, Fox ran the risk of carrying Fox Kids on stations whose operational styles were vastly different. In St. Louis, religious station KNLC, owned by the New Life Christian Church, acquired the rights to Fox Kids in August 1995 in in lieu of KTVI; however, the church's reverend, Larry Rice, refused to show commercials during Fox Kids programming, replacing them with ministry messages. Uncomfortable with messages on controversial topics such as abortion being shown during Fox Kids programming, Fox ended up moving Fox Kids to KTVI, which remained the only ex-New World station airing 4Kids TV; however, the station aired it two hours earlier than other stations that carry 4Kids TV, due to a morning newscast airing at 9 am. Although six stations (WAGA, KTBC, WJW, WGHP and KSAZ) had rejected Fox Kids programming in all of its various iterations (Fox Kids, FoxBox and 4Kids TV), none of the stations filled the timeslots with Saturday morning newscasts, instead filling the time with paid programming, local home selling presentation shows, and E/I programming acquired via syndication. In Atlanta, Austin, Birmingham and the Piedmont Triad, 4Kids TV did not even air on another station in any of those markets due to stations dropping the lineup. In Milwaukee, 4Kids TV had aired on independent station WMLW-CA, a Class A television station, since September 2004; though the station has extended cable coverage throughout the market, its terrestrial coverage area is much smaller compared to former Fox affiliate WCGV. In the Phoenix market, KTVK had acquired Fox Kids in place of ABC's soap operas, but when KTVK's program inventory grew unmanageable for the station to the point where it could not air a Saturday morning newscast, and upstart KASW's television time was bought out in a local marketing agreement, Fox Kids and the WB (and later The CW) moved to the latter station. Because The CW4Kids came as part of the CW affiliation (which it obtained in May 2006), 4Kids TV was shifted to Sunday mornings and had been until its demise.
At least three other stations (two of which are owned by Fox) have pulled such a maneuver. Charter FOX O&O WFLD in Chicago dropped 4Kids TV and moved it to newly acquired sister station WPWR in 2003, while newfound Fox O&O KMSP in Minneapolis pulled off a similar maneuver, moving 4Kids TV to WFTC in 2006. Another station, KABB in San Antonio, owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group, moved 4Kids TV to sister station and then-MyNetworkTV affiliate KMYS in 2006 as well. In the cases of the latter two, the shift was due to an expansion of their morning newscasts to Saturday mornings. Because of the various clearance shifts, despite Fox continuing to advertise the block in promos during select Fox primetime shows, 4Kids TV amounted to merely nothing more than a syndication package; if Fox limited 4Kids TV to air on Fox stations only, affiliates could have been given the choice to broadcast the lineup around local news, as the case is with ABC and CBS. All Fox-owned stations that did not air 4Kids TV aired E/I programming in its place, either following a newscast or in place of it, such as Safari Tracks and Beakman's World, though Fox's coverage of Major League Baseball does include one-half-hour of E/I programming seen across the network: MLB Player Poll.
Owing to these preemptions and concerns in both its internal and external environments, as well as the continuous shift of most Saturday morning children's audiences to cable television (as well as the expansion of local and national weekday breakfast television programs to the weekends), and a pay dispute with 4Kids Entertainment, the 4Kids TV programming block ended its run on December 27, 2008. Fox gave two of the block's four hours back to the stations, and began to program a two-hour block of paid programming under the branding Weekend Marketplace. Many of the stations which took 4KidsTV in lieu of the local Fox stations chose not to take Weekend Marketplace (such as WBFS and WMLW-CA), along with those Fox stations, and the block sees low clearance outside of O&O's and Fox stations which previously cleared 4Kids TV.
Canadian repercussions 
Until the affiliation switches, Canadian television providers could pick up (per a Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission rule, commonly referred to by the Commission now as the "4+1 rule") three American commercial networks and those three only if they also committed to carry Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) Public television, with exceptions made to allow additional stations for areas that could pick them up over the air (thus, some British Columbia towns were cleared for Fox from KAYU-TV Spokane, Washington, and the Windsor–Essex County region received nearly the full lineup of Detroit stations on cable and over-the-air, while towns in Alberta were denied such an importation of signals). This obscure rule dated to the late 1970s. In June 1994, the CRTC was not willing to modify this rule, but by September, due to pressure from cable operators, it cleared Canadian cable companies to pick up Fox without having to bump a Big Three network for it
Additional changes were in store for Canadian cable companies that carried the affiliates from Detroit; while they were still able to keep WJBK, the CBS switching to Fox there, thanks to the new rules, they also had to add CBS, often from WWJ-TV, the new affiliate in the market.
Post-switchover changes 
Fox continued to upgrade its stations in at least two unrelated deals struck later:
- In 1995, News Corporation/Fox purchased ABC affiliate WHBQ-TV in Memphis, Tennessee from Communications Corporation of America. WHBQ-TV was part of the RKO General broadcasting empire, which had collapsed in the late 1980s due to corruption and perjury.
- In 2002, KMSP-TV in Minneapolis, the home market of the Minnesota Vikings, returned to the Fox network after seven years as a UPN station. Fox had purchased KMSP as part of a group acquisition of Chris-Craft Industries' television station group a year earlier. Co-owned WFTC, which held the Fox affiliation prior to the switch, took over the UPN affiliation, and eventually became a MyNetworkTV outlet in 2006 when UPN and The WB merged to form The CW.
At least one other station owner has pulled off a similar maneuver. In 2002, Meredith Corporation moved the Fox affiliation in the Portland, Oregon–Vancouver, Washington market from KPDX, on UHF channel 49, to KPTV, on VHF channel 12 (coincidentally, KPTV was a charter Fox affiliate from 1986–88). KPTV was bought by News Corporation with the Chris-Craft stations, but was later traded to Meredith in exchange for Orlando Fox affiliate WOFL. In an ironic twist, most of the remaining UPN-affiliated, former Chris-Craft stations retained by Fox (WWOR-TV in New York City, KCOP in Los Angeles, and KUTP in Phoenix among them) would join MyNetworkTV in 2006, as a result of the realignment caused by the UPN/ WB merger. This makes for an indirect connection between the last two major changes in broadcast affiliate lineups in the U.S.
Another took place on August 1, 2008: XETV, whose presence in the San Diego market discouraged Fox from switching the affiliation to KNSD, switched with KSWB-TV and became a CW affiliate. KSWB was one of 16 charter CW affiliates owned by Tribune Broadcasting. Although it might been seen a downgrade on the surface, as KSWB's UHF analog position was Channel 69, while XETV was on analog Channel 6, the market has heavy cable penetration and has the majority of their stations on UHF, which then brand according to their dominant cable channel slot rather than their broadcast channel designation; as such, the station brands itself as Fox 5 and only uses their over-the-air channel position in legally-required promos, their PSIP virtual channel and a short sweep in their newscast logo of a "Fox 69" logo. In regards to the NFL, it is also not a major problem, as the Chargers play in the AFC and thus most of their games are on KFMB-TV (ironically, they were on KNSD from 1977–97).
On the other hand, CBS saw an affiliate downgrade from VHF to UHF in an unrelated transaction, which occurred in the Jacksonville, Florida–Brunswick, Georgia market, home of the Jacksonville Jaguars. (Being in the AFC, most Jaguars games are on CBS.) In the summer of 2002, Post-Newsweek Stations, which owns WJXT, terminated that station's longtime affiliation with CBS in a dispute over compensation. The new affiliate became WTEV-TV, which had been the local outlet of UPN (which was then co-owned with CBS). WJXT broadcasts on channel 4; WTEV on channel 47. The new UPN affiliate became Fox affiliate WAWS, on a secondary basis. Both WAWS and WTEV were sold by Clear Channel to Newport Television, but because of FCC regulations forbidding the ownership of two of the four top-rated stations in a market (Clear Channel had purchased WTEV when it was a low-rated UPN station), Newport sold WTEV to High Plains Television, though Newport continues to operate the station through a joint sales agreement and shared services agreement. Due to the network switch in Jacksonville, nearby Gainesville, Florida's WB affiliate WGFL (channel 53), also switched to CBS in order to keep the network available in that area, sending the WB affiliation to a digital subchannel of WGFL (now the area's MyNetworkTV affiliate, as well as low-power WMYG-LP).
Only one other AFC team plays home games in a market with a UHF CBS affiliate: the Cleveland market, home of the Browns, has WOIO (channel 19) as its CBS affiliate (though in technicality in the digital age WOIO transmits over Channel 10 but retains their virtual channel 19). WOIO was Cleveland's charter Fox affiliate before the market was involved in the New World deal – and has even held the teams' preseason game rights twice; from 1988 to 1995 as a Fox affiliate, and again in 2005 as a CBS affiliate. However, WOIO only carries the CBS games and news coverage of the Browns, due to conflicts between the Browns and WOIO's news department over coverage about personal issues involving team players and ownership, and WKYC, the market's NBC affiliate, carries the bulk of the team's preseason games and other Browns programming. (However, the first Browns' preseason game in the 2012 season – during the second weekend in August – was shown on WOIO, as WKYC carried the Summer Olympic Games from London.)
Long-term impact 
Growth of Fox Sports 
The affiliation switches helped elevate Fox to major network status on par with its older competitors. As of 2007, its sports division has expanded to include Major League Baseball and NASCAR. In addition, the National Hockey League aired on Fox from 1995 to 1999 and the Bowl Championship Series (except for the Rose Bowl Game) was on the network from 2007 to 2010.
It also airs coverage of the Cotton Bowl Classic and is the exclusive television home of the Daytona 500. Fox Sports' coverage now also includes four Formula One races, the final game of the UEFA Champions League, and the World Superbike event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In fall 2011, the Big Ten and Pac-12 championship games in college football were added. Fox Sports' coverage also has expanded beyond terrestrial television with several cable networks, led by Fox Sports Net, which offers 24-hour sports coverage and many home team broadcasts.
Rise of Fox in primetime 
Fox's entertainment programs have also benefited from the heavy promotion they received during the sportscasts. Some of the beneficiaries included shows already on Fox at the time, including Beverly Hills, 90210, The X-Files and most especially The Simpsons which has broadcast on Sunday nights since Fox picked up the NFC package, and has since become the longest running scripted American primetime television series. Fox's sports coverage has also served as a springboard for later Fox successes, including 24, Glee, Malcolm in the Middle, King of the Hill, That '70s Show, House, Family Guy, New Girl, and American Idol, which became the number one rated primetime program on all networks from 2003–04 to 2010–11, the longest such streak since ratings for television were first recorded. Ironically, Idol's streak ended in the 2011–12 season at the hands of NBC's telecasts of Sunday Night Football, which the network took over in 2006 as part of the same NFL television contract that also saw ABC's venerable Monday Night Football move over to ESPN.
The resilience of CBS 
While CBS did eventually recover, its recovery is partially linked to, ironically, reacquiring NFL rights in 1998 when it took over rights to the AFC from NBC. The last year NBC had rights to the AFC saw the Denver Broncos, an original AFL team, defeat the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXII, which aired on NBC and ended a 13-year drought against the NFC in the Super Bowl.
Around the time CBS took over the rights to the AFC saw the trend of the 1980s and 1990s reverse, in that the AFC became the dominant conference over the NFC (1998 also saw the Broncos win the Super Bowl). The New England Patriots dynasty in the 2000s (decade) in the only AFC-only top-ten market also contributed to the ratings surge. In fact, the primary stations for both the Broncos and Patriots are the same as when NBC carried the AFC (until 1995) – KCNC-TV in Denver, and WBZ-TV in Boston (KUSA and WHDH-TV carried those teams' games from 1995–97).
In addition, the current AFC deal also saw CBS indirectly acquire rights to air games played by the Pittsburgh Steelers, which air locally on KDKA-TV (which was a CBS O&O by the time NFL rights were reacquired and has long been one of CBS's strongest stations) and often get the highest ratings for an NFL team on television due to the team's rabid fanbase on a national level. Coincidentally, before the AFL-NFL merger (when the Steelers went to the AFC voluntarily to balance out the number of teams between conferences), Steelers road games had aired on KDKA-TV as part of the network's deal to air NFL games, while home games could not be televised at all during this period, even if they did sell out.
Current statuses 
In July 1996, News Corporation announced that it was going to acquire New World outright, making all of New World's stations owned-and-operated stations of Fox. The deal was completed on January 22, 1997. To this day, six of the Fox stations owned by New World which changed affiliations (KDFW, WAGA, WJBK, KSAZ-TV, WTVT and KTBC) are still owned and operated by News Corp. Fox Television Stations, the division of News Corp. that controls the stations, announced its intent on June 13, 2007 to sell nine of their stations, six of which are former New World stations (WJW-TV, KTVI, WDAF-TV, WITI-TV, WBRC-TV and WGHP; the other stations Fox has announced its intention to sell are KDVR in Denver, KSTU in Salt Lake City and WHBQ-TV in Memphis). Of these nine, only KTVI is located in an NFC market (by way of the St. Louis Rams), while WITI is part of the Green Bay Packers' unique two market area encompassing Green Bay and Milwaukee. WDAF-TV, however, is in an interesting situation as regular season games of the Kansas City Chiefs franchise—which is in the AFC conference, only air when the Chiefs host an NFC opponent; otherwise, the Chiefs' regular season games are broadcast on CBS affiliate KCTV (channel 5). Subsequently, on December 21 of that same year, Fox agreed to sell eight of the stations—all except WHBQ—to Local TV, a subsidiary of Oak Hill Capital Partners. Local TV at the time of the purchase was relatively new as it was formed on May 7, 2007 to assume ownership of the broadcasting division of The New York Times Company. This group deal closed on July 14, 2008.
Under the control of Local TV, the eight stations will remain Fox affiliates for the foreseeable future (WHBQ remained on the market until January 16, 2009 because Local TV could not buy it, for the same reason Newport sold WTEV; Local TV is the licensee for Memphis' CBS affiliate, WREG-TV. As a result, WHBQ remains to this day a Fox O&O). Local TV later swapped WBRC to Raycom Media. The Local TV stations are run under a co-management agreement with Tribune Broadcasting, which provides web hosting, technical and engineering services to Local TV stations, along with news sharing among all of the stations, and the Local TV/Tribune stations make up the nucleus of the Antenna TV digital subchannel network, which carries classic television programming and films.
Fox no longer owns any of the former Burnham stations. Savoy/Fox (SF) sold the stations in 1997 to now-defunct Silver King Broadcasting (later USA Broadcasting) and later to Emmis Communications to 1998. Emmis has since sold WLUK and WALA to LIN TV and KHON to Montecito Broadcast Group, who later sold KHON to New Vision Television (ironically, LIN now owns the stations of New Vision). It took until May 2008 for Emmis to finally find a buyer for WVUE, when the Louisiana Media Company, a new media holdings group founded by New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson, purchased the station. WVUE's sale process had been made more difficult in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which greatly affected its New Orleans viewing area (the sale closed on July 18, 2008; 18 months later, the Saints won Super Bowl XLIV, a game shown on CBS). All stations are still Fox affiliates.
As a result of the affiliation deals, Fox now has VHF affiliates in 13 out of 16 television markets with NFL teams that are based in the NFC, including the Seattle Seahawks, who moved from the AFC to the NFC in 2002; Seattle's Fox affiliate, KCPQ, broadcasts on VHF channel 13. Only the Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles are located in markets with UHF Fox affiliates. Two of them, WFLD in Chicago and WTXF-TV in Philadelphia, are owned by the network. The third station, WCCB in Charlotte, is owned by Bahakel Communications; however in January 2013, Fox purchased CW affiliate WJZY and MyNetworkTV affiliate WMYT-TV from the Capitol Broadcasting Company, which will result in Fox programming likely moving to WJZY and WCCB switching its affiliation to The CW in July 2013.
Westinghouse bought CBS in 1995 after the affiliation deals, making all stations CBS affiliated Group W stations CBS O&Os. The announcement came just one day after Capital Cities/ABC, parent company of rival ABC, was to be acquired by The Walt Disney Company. Viacom bought Westinghouse/ CBS in 1999, which created duopolies in several markets between CBS O&O's and UPN O&O's. Viacom and CBS split in 2006, with the current CBS Corporation retaining the broadcasting side of the company including UPN. Shortly afterward, CBS and Time Warner announced the merger of UPN and The WB to form The CW. All of the stations that CBS acquired either by the station swap with NBC or when the network itself was acquired by Westinghouse are still owned by CBS except for KUTV which was sold to Cerberus Capital Management's Four Points Media Group in 2007 (it is now owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group).
On November 3, 2010, Broadcasting & Cable magazine announced that SJL Broadcasting, now owned by the principal owners of Lilly Broadcasting, made an agreement with Disney to buy back WJRT and WTVG for a total of $30 million, upon speculation that Disney may sell off ABC. Both stations are expected to retain their affiliations with ABC. SJL teamed up with a new private equity partner, Bain Capital, whose affiliated offshoot Sankaty Advisors provided the capital for the purchases. The sale was completed on April 1, 2011. As a result, ABC now no longer owns any television stations anywhere near Detroit, where the network had owned WXYZ-TV from its founding in 1948 until 1986 when it was sold to current owner Scripps.
On October 3, 2011, McGraw-Hill announced the sale of its entire television broadcasting division to Scripps for $212 million. This group deal would add four additional ABC affiliates to the six already owned by Scripps, making that company the second-largest owner of ABC-affiliated stations in total market coverage (after Argyle successor Hearst Television).
Effect in Top 10 markets 
To this day, Washington, D.C. is the only Top 10 market from 1994 outside of New York, Los Angeles and Chicago not to have its major network affiliations (outside of network shutdowns and debuts) affected during and since the switches (Atlanta, Dallas and Detroit were affected by the New World deal, while Boston and Philadelphia were affected via the Westinghouse deal). While Houston was also not affected by the switches at the time and its major network affiliates remain the same, it was not a Top 10 market when the switches took place, as Houston only became a Top 10 market in 2005–06, surpassing Detroit.
San Francisco was also unaffected by the 1994 switches, as Westinghouse-owned KPIX-TV was already an affiliate of CBS, since its 1948 founding. In 2001, however, the Bay Area's longtime NBC affiliate, KRON-TV, became an independent station after a bitter dispute between new KRON owner Young Broadcasting and NBC; after Young outbid NBC to purchase the station from its original owner Chronicle Publishing Company (publishers of the San Francisco Chronicle), NBC demanded that Young run the station in a fashion similar to that of an NBC O&O as a condition of renewal of its affiliation; Young Broadcasting refused these demands along with the affiliation renewal. NBC then struck an affiliation deal with, and soon thereafter bought, San Jose-based KNTV, which was affiliated with the WB at the time after ending a long-time affiliation with ABC two years before, due to ABC O&O KGO-TV claiming market exclusivity for the network in San Jose. As KNTV had been serving the Monterey Bay area (50 miles south of San Jose) as its ABC affiliate, more so than San Jose; KGO was added to cable systems in the Monterey Bay area as compensation for the loss. ABC would not have its own affiliate in the Monterey Bay area until April 18, 2011, when KSBW, the Monterey Bay area's NBC affiliate, launched a new ABC-affiliated digital subchannel.
Ironically, KSBW and then-sister station KSBY in San Luis Obispo (on the other end of California's Central Coast) were once owned by SCI/Gillett, who sold all of its other stations to New World. Both stations would also be sold as well in 1994 to EP Communications, whose owners had family ties to News Corporation chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch, and would be sold to separate owners the following year. Neither station would have been of benefit to Fox or NBC (which both stations were, and still are, affiliated with), as both markets had a lack of available full-power stations for NBC to fall back on, were outside of the Top 100 markets despite being on the periphery of larger nearby markets, and (in the case of KSBY) lost its secondary market status when the Rams and Raiders departed from Los Angeles after the 1994 NFL season.
Outside of the Top 10 markets, Pittsburgh (ranked 22nd as of 2012) was among the few major markets not to see any major affiliation changes and, aside from the Westinghouse/CBS deal that saw KDKA-TV end its pre-empting of non-CBS programming (as well as Westinghouse moving from its longtime headquarters in Pittsburgh to New York City upon completion of its purchase of CBS ), was largely not affected by any of the affiliation switches due to KDKA-TV, WTAE-TV, WPXI, and WPGH-TV having decades-long affiliation deals in place with their respective networks (In the case of KDKA-TV, it being a CBS O&O). Aside from the merger of The WB and UPN to form The CW in 2006 and the subsequent formation of MyNetworkTV that same year, and the sale in 2011 of secondary public television station WQEX to Ion Television, becoming WINP-TV, the last major affiliation change in Pittsburgh happened in 1954, when the DuMont Television Network sold KDKA-TV (then WDTV) to Westinghouse (thereby ironically making all former DuMont-owned stations O&Os of their current networks; WNYW in New York City and WTTG in Washington are owned by Fox).
See also 
- 1994 in American television
- 2006 United States broadcast TV realignment, the next major affiliation shuffle in America
- 2001 Vancouver TV realignment, a similar event that occurred in Canada
- Primary NFL television stations
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