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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 2, 1984|
|Call letters' meaning||Broadcasting from Florida's South|
|Former channel number(s)||33 (UHF analog, 1984-2009)|
|Former affiliations||Independent (1983-1995)
Fox Kids/4Kids TV (2002-2008)
|Transmitter power||1,000 kW|
WBFS-TV is the MyNetworkTV-affiliated television station for South Florida that is licensed to Miami. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 32 from a transmitter in Miramar. Owned by the CBS Corporation, the station is sister to CBS affiliate WFOR-TV and the two share studios on Northwest 18th Terrace in Doral. Syndicated programming on WBFS includes How I Met Your Mother, The Wendy Williams Show, TMZ on TV, and Tyler Perry's House of Payne. It can be considered an alternate CBS affiliate and may take on the responsibility of airing programs from that network whenever WFOR cannot do so such as during breaking news. 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).
WBFS-TV debuted on December 2, 1984 as an Independent under the ownership of Grant Broadcasting. Before then, the analog channel 33 frequency had been occupied by a low-power translator for competing independent WCIX (the predecessor to WFOR-TV) whose main signal on VHF channel 6 could not be received very well in Broward County. The station ran numerous off-network classic television sitcoms from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s along with a number of cartoons. It also ran some off-network drama shows, 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 moniker that Tampa Bay's WTOG also gave itself around the same time) and frequently used CGI graphics of near-network quality (similar graphics would be implemented on WGBS-TV 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 identified as "Miami/Fort Lauderdale/West Palm Beach" until the 1990s.
However while the station itself turned a profit, Grant overextended itself buying programming for its stations. After Christmas in 1986, the company filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The pressure came from debt with Viacom which owned the distribution rights for half of Grant's shows. In January 1987, a deal was made to cut back the runs of the shows the stations owned and pay reduced prices.
Even with Grant's financial problems, WBFS continued to do well, and scored a major coup by becoming the on-air home of the brand-new Miami Heat of the NBA in 1988. It added Florida Marlins of 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, took over 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 (now WPSG) to Paramount Stations Group (which was soon acquired by former Grant creditor Viacom) who sold its original Philadelphia station, WTXF-TV, to Fox. Almost immediately, Paramount announced WBFS and WGBS would join the soon-to-be created UPN network. WGBO went to Univision who entered the deal after its then-affiliate in Chicago, WCIU-TV, refused to drop non-Spanish programming.
In January 1995, Paramount joined forces with Chris-Craft to create the then-new UPN network. Under Paramount ownership, WBFS became a UPN owned-and-operated station station at the network's inception on January 16, 1995. The station continued to refer to itself as "WBFS TV 33" for some time afterward, but soon rebranded to "UPN 33". It had acquired more recent off-network sitcoms over the years and soon began to add more first-run syndicated talk and reality shows. The station began to cut back on children programming, such as The Wacky World of Tex Avery, Pokémon, Sailor Moon, Mummies Alive!, and DuckTales from 1998 on. By 2002, the station was only running a morning kids block.
In 2000, Paramount's parent company Viacom merged with CBS making WBFS sister to CBS owned-and-operated WFOR, 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. When WAMI-TV became a Telefutura station, WBFS picked up a few of WAMI's former shows, including Fox Kids (the block, which was not carried on Fox affiliate WSVN, by then was only offered on Saturdays). WBFS continued to run what eventually became 4Kids TV until December 27, 2008. Its successor, Weekend Marketplace, does not air at all in the Miami market. UPN ended its kids block in Fall 2003. After Viacom and CBS split into two companies at the end of 2005, WBFS came under the ownership of CBS Corporation.
Transition to MyNetworkTV
On January 24, 2006, CBS Corporation and TimeWarner announced that they would close down the WB and UPN networks and merge them into a single network called "The CW". The network immediately announced WB affiliate WBZL (now WSFL-TV) as its Miami affiliate. It would not have been an upset had WBFS been chosen, however. CW officials were on record as preferring the "strongest" WB and UPN stations for the new network, and South Florida was one of the few markets where The WB and UPN stations were both relatively strong.
On February 22, News Corporation announced that it would start up another new broadcast television network called MyNetworkTV. This new service, which would be a sister network to Fox, would be operated by Fox Television Stations and its syndication division Twentieth Television. Although it was created to give UPN and WB stations not joining The CW a programming option, CBS initially announced, on May 1, that WBFS, along with its Boston sister station WSBK-TV, would not seek the affiliation.
It is believed that CBS's initial decision to deny its larger UPN stations MyNetworkTV affiliation was in retaliation against Fox for refusing to affiliate any of their UPN affiliates with The CW. However on July 12, it was announced that WBFS would become South Florida's MyNetworkTV affiliate. The network began broadcasting on September 5, and at that point, WBFS became known on-air as "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 they 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 to WBFS on September 19, 2011, when it became 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 MyNetworkTV affiliation.
Soon after the Viacom-CBS merger in 2001, WBFS began to air a nightly 10 o'clock newscast produced by WFOR. This was the third prime time broadcast in the market after WSVN and WBZL (now WSFL-TV). In 2004, the station added a two-hour long extension of WFOR's weekday morning show at 7 replacing children's programming and competing with WSVN's Today in Florida. Starting in June 2007, Beatriz Canals (WBFS's former weeknight co-anchor and WFOR reporter) began co-anchoring on WFOR weeknights at 5 and 11. She took the place of Maggie Rodriguez who left for The Saturday Early Show. This arrangement was temporary until Shannon Hori from KTVT in Dallas was named the permanent replacement.
The weekday morning show on this station remained in a news format until 2008 when it became more of an entertainment and lifestyle program with news, weather, and traffic updates. It originated from an updated secondary set used for interviews. Due to tough financial times, 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 there were also some personalities let go. On January 24, 2010, WFOR became the last major English-language station in the Miami area to begin broadcasting news in high definition. The broadcasts on WBFS were included in the upgrade. At some point in September, the weeknight newscast expanded to an hour. In September 2011, the newscast was canceled, leaving the Miami–Fort Lauderdale market without in-market competition to WSVN's 10 o'clock 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.
- Evening News:
- UPN 33 News at 10 (2001-2006)
- My 33 News at 10 (2006-2007)
- CBS 4 News at 10 on My 33 (2007-2010)
- CBS 4 News at 10 on TV 33 (2010-2011)
- Morning News:
- UPN 33 News This Morning (2004-2006)
- My 33 News on the Move (2006-2007)
- CBS 4 News This Morning on My 33 (2007-2008)
- Jim and Jade in the Morning (2008)
- Evening News:
- WBFS 2001 News Theme, Unknown (2001-2002)
- WBFS 2002 News Theme, Unknown (2002-2006)
- WBFS 2006 News Theme, Unknown (2006-2007)
- News Source, Gari Communications (2007-2008)
- Moving Forward, 615 Music (2008-2011)
- Morning News:
- WBFS 2004 Morning News Theme, Unknown (2004-2008)