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|Miami–Fort Lauderdale, Florida
|Branding||My TV 33|
|Slogan||TV To The Max|
|Channels||Digital: 32 (UHF)
Virtual: 33 (PSIP)
(Miami Television Station WBFS, Inc.)
|First air date||December 9, 1984|
|Call letters' meaning||Broadcasting from Florida's South|
|Former channel number(s)||Analog:
33 (UHF, 1984–2009)
|Former affiliations||Independent (1984–1995)
Fox Kids/4Kids TV (2002–2008)
|Transmitter power||1,000 kW|
|Public license information:||Profile
WBFS-TV, virtual channel 33 (UHF digital channel 32), is a MyNetworkTV-affiliated television station located in Miami, Florida, United States. The station is owned by the CBS Television Stations subsidiary of CBS Corporation, as part of a duopoly with CBS owned-and-operated station WFOR-TV (channel 4). The two stations share studio facilities located on Northwest 18th Terrace in Doral; WBFS maintains transmitter facilities located on Northwest 210st Street in Miramar.
Prior to the station's launch, the UHF channel 33 frequency in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale market was occupied by a low-power translator of competing independent WCIX (channel 6, now WFOR-TV on channel 4), whose primary full-power signal could not be received very well in Broward County as its transmitter was located in Homestead, positioned farther southwest than the transmitters of other Miami area stations in order to prevent signal interference with WPTV-TV in West Palm Beach and WDBO-TV (now WKMG-TV) in Orlando.
WBFS first signed on the air on December 9, 1984; originally operating as an independent station, the station was owned by Grant Broadcasting. The station ran numerous off-network reruns of classic television sitcoms from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, along with a number of cartoons. It also ran some off-network drama series, and classic western and martial arts movies that were usually shown on Saturday afternoons. WBFS soon made a name for itself in South Florida for its slick on-air look. It billed itself as "Florida's Super Station" (a slogan that present-day Tampa Bay sister station WTOG also used around the same time) and frequently used CGI graphics of near-network quality (similar graphics would be implemented on WGBS-TV (now WPSG) in Philadelphia and WGBO-TV in Chicago after Grant acquired those stations). The station was available on cable in the West Palm Beach area as well, and had identified as "Miami/Fort Lauderdale/West Palm Beach" in station IDs until the 1990s.
However while the station itself turned a profit, Grant overextended itself while buying programming for its stations. In December 1986, shortly after Christmas, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The pressure came from debt with Viacom, which owned the distribution rights for half of the programs broadcast on Grant's stations. In January 1987, a deal was made to cut back the runs of the shows that the stations owned and pay reduced prices for licensing them.
Even with Grant's financial problems, WBFS continued to do well, and scored a major coup by becoming the on-air home of the NBA's new Miami Heat franchise in 1988. It added rights to games from the Florida Marlins of Major League Baseball's National League and the Florida Panthers of the NHL in 1993. However, Grant Broadcasting was unable to get out of debt, forcing the company into receivership in 1989. Combined Broadcasting, a company consisting of executives from the program distributors that Grant owed payments to, took over ownership of WBFS and its sister stations. The company pumped a lot of money into WBFS and WGBS, but ran primarily barter programming on WGBO. In 1994, Combined sold WBFS and WGBS to Paramount Stations Group (which was soon acquired by former Grant creditor Viacom after it acquired Paramount Pictures that year), which sold its original Philadelphia station, WTXF-TV, to Fox Television Stations. Almost immediately, Paramount announced that WBFS and WGBS would join the soon-to-be created United Paramount Network (UPN), which was created through a programming partnership with owner Chris-Craft Industries (Viacom/Paramount itself would not acquire partial ownership of the network until 1996). WGBO was sold to Univision, which entered the deal after its then-affiliate in Chicago, WCIU-TV, refused to drop English language programs from its schedule and become an exclusively Spanish language programming outlet.
On January 16, 1995, WBFS became a UPN owned-and-operated station at the network's inception. The station continued to refer to itself as "WBFS TV 33" for some time afterward, but soon rebranded as "UPN 33". It had acquired more recent off-network sitcoms in the years following and soon began to add more first-run syndicated talk and reality shows. The station began to cut back on children's programs, such as The Wacky World of Tex Avery, Pokémon, Sailor Moon, Mummies Alive! and DuckTales from 1998 onward. By 2002, the station was only running children's programs during the morning hours.
In 2000, Paramount's parent company Viacom merged with CBS, making WBFS a sister station to CBS owned-and-operated station WFOR-TV, years after that station (as WCIX) shut down the channel 33 translator to make room for WBFS. As a result of the merger, WBFS moved into WFOR's facilities in Doral. When WAMI-TV (channel 69) became a Telefutura owned-and-operated station in January 2002, WBFS picked up a few of WAMI's former shows, including Fox Kids (the block, which was not carried on Fox affiliate WSVN (channel 7), by then was only offered on Saturdays). WBFS continued to run what eventually became 4Kids TV until the block was discontinued by Fox on December 27, 2008. Its successor, Weekend Marketplace, does not air at all in the Miami market. UPN ended its children's block, Disney's One Too, in August 2003. After Viacom and CBS split into two companies in December 2005, WBFS came under the ownership of CBS Corporation.
Transition to MyNetworkTV
On January 24, 2006, CBS Corporation and Time Warner's Warner Bros. Entertainment division announced that they would dissolve UPN and The WB, and move some of their programming to a newly-created network, The CW. The network immediately announced a deal to affiliate with 15 stations owned by Tribune Broadcasting, with that company's WB affiliate WBZL (channel 39, now WSFL-TV) serving as its Miami affiliate. It would not have been an upset had WBFS been chosen as a charter station, however. CW officials were on record as preferring the "strongest" WB and UPN stations for the new network, and Miami-Fort Lauderdale was one of the few markets where the WB and UPN stations both had relatively strong viewership.
On February 22 of that year, News Corporation announced the launch of a new "sixth" network called MyNetworkTV, which would be operated by Fox Television Stations and its syndication division Twentieth Television. Although the service was created to give UPN and WB-affiliated stations that would not be joining The CW an alternate programming option, CBS initially announced on May 1, that WBFS, along with its Boston sister station WSBK-TV, would not join the network. It is believed that CBS's initial decision to deny its larger UPN stations affiliation agreements with MyNetworkTV was in retaliation against Fox for refusing to affiliate any of its UPN affiliates in markets where CBS Corporation or Tribune did not already sign deals to carry The CW with that network. However on July 12, it was announced that WBFS would become South Florida's MyNetworkTV affiliate. The network debuted on September 5, 2006 and at that point, WBFS changed its on-air branding to "My 33".
Throughout its existence, WBFS has had its own website. This changed on April 25, 2007 when its official web address, "33mytv.com", along with the previous one, "upn33.com" (listed on the MyNetworkTV local station list), were both integrated into WFOR's site. Both addresses then redirected to "cbs4.com/wbfs". Its main web address has since lost references to the station and the network. Following the 2007 sale of WUPL in New Orleans and the 2008 sale of WTCN-CA in West Palm Beach, WBFS was the only MyNetworkTV station owned by the CBS Corporation until September 2011, when WSBK became the MyNetworkTV affiliate for Boston after what is now WBIN-TV announced that it would drop the service and become an independent station. With the loss of WWE SmackDown, the final original program of MyNetworkTV, the station de-emphasized any branding involving the network on September 14, 2010, rebranding as TV 33 and using an orange "circle 33" logo similar in style to that of WSBK's "circle 38". However, MyNetworkTV branding was restored by WBFS on September 19, 2011, when it rebranded as My TV 33, using a variation of the programming service's logo. A similar logo was introduced the same day by WSBK when it took over the MyNetworkTV affiliation.
The station's digital signal is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|33.1||1080i||16:9||WBFS-TV||Main WBFS-TV programming / MyNetworkTV|
WBFS-TV terminated its analog signal, on UHF channel 33, on June 12, 2009, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 32. Through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers display WBFS-TV's virtual channel as 33.
Occasionally as time permits, WBFS may take on the responsibility of airing CBS network programs whenever WFOR-TV is unable to in the event of extended breaking news or severe weather coverage. WBFS has been known to air Miami Dolphins games that air on ESPN and games scheduled to air on CBS which are postponed due to weather (usually hurricanes).
Soon after the Viacom-CBS merger in 2001, WBFS began to air a nightly 10:00 p.m. newscast that was produced by WFOR. This was the third primetime news broadcast in the market after WSVN's long-established 10:00 p.m. newscast (which debuted in January 1989, when it became a Fox affiliate) and a WTVJ-produced newscast in that slot on WB affiliate WBZL. In 2004, WBFS added a two-hour long extension of WFOR's weekday morning newscast, airing from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m., which replaced children's programming in that timeslot and competed against WSVN's morning newscast Today in Florida. In June 2007, Beatriz Canals (WBFS's former weeknight co-anchor and WFOR reporter) was appointed co-anchor of WFOR's weeknight 5:00 and 11:00 p.m. newscasts, replacing Maggie Rodriguez after she left the station to become co-anchor of CBS's The Saturday Early Show. This temporary arrangement remained until Shannon Hori was brought in from Dallas sister station KTVT was named as Rodriguez's permanent replacement.
The weekday morning program remained in a news format until 2008, when it was reformatted as more of an entertainment and lifestyle program with news, weather, and traffic updates. It originated from an updated secondary set that was used for interviews. Due to ongoing financial issues, several cuts were made to the station's news programming on October 17, 2008. WBFS's weekday morning and weekend prime time newscasts were canceled and some personalities were fired. On January 24, 2010, WFOR became the last major English language station in the Miami market to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition; the remaining weeknight 10:00 p.m. broadcast on WBFS was included in the upgrade. At some point in September, the weeknight newscast was expanded to one hour. In September 2011, the weeknight 10:00 p.m. newscast was canceled, leaving the Miami–Fort Lauderdale market without in-market competition to WSVN's in-house primetime newscast. As a result, WBFS joined KSTW in Tacoma, Washington, WUPA in Atlanta, Georgia and WTOG in St. Petersburg, Florida as one of four CBS-owned stations without a newscast of any kind; eventually to be joined by Detroit sister stations WKBD and WWJ-TV in 2012.
- "UPN 33 News at 10" (2001–2006; evening newscast)
- "UPN 33 News This Morning" (2004–2006; morning newscast)
- "My 33 News on the Move" (2006–2007; morning newscast)
- "My 33 News at 10" (2006–2007; evening newscast)
- "CBS 4 News This Morning on My 33" (2007–2008; morning newscast)
- "CBS 4 News at 10 on My 33" (2007–2010; evening newscast)
- "Jim and Jade in the Morning" (2008; morning newscast)
- "CBS 4 News at 10 on TV 33" (2010–2011; evening newscast)
- 'Gilmore Girls' meet 'Smackdown'; CW Network to combine WB, UPN in CBS-Warner venture beginning in September, CNNMoney.com, January 24, 2006.
- UPN and WB to Combine, Forming New TV Network, The New York Times, January 24, 2006.
- "News Corp. to launch new mini-network for UPN stations". USA Today. February 22, 2006. Retrieved January 21, 2013.
- News Corp. Unveils MyNetworkTV, Broadcasting & Cable, February 22, 2006.
- RabbitEars TV Query for WBFS
- List of Digital Full-Power Stations