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KDAF CW33 2011.png
KDAF AntennaTV.png
ThisTV KDAF.png
DallasFort Worth, Texas
United States
City of license Dallas, Texas
Branding CW33 (general)
(morning newscasts)
(evening newscasts)
Slogan TV Now (general)
A Different Kind of Morning Show (morning newscasts)
A Different Kind of News (evening newscasts)
Putting Our Community First (public service)
Channels Digital: 32 (UHF)
Virtual: 33 (PSIP)
Subchannels 33.1 The CW
33.2 Antenna TV
33.3 This TV
Affiliations The CW
Owner Tribune Broadcasting
(KDAF, LLC[1][2])
First air date Original incarnation:
October 1967
Current incarnation:
May 1980
Call letters' meaning Dallas And Fort Worth
Former callsigns KMEC-TV (1967–1968)
KBFI-TV (1972–1973)
KXTX-TV (1973)
KDTV (1973)
KNBN-TV (1980–1984)
KRLD-TV (1984–1986)
Former channel number(s) Analog:
33 (UHF, 1967–2009)
Former affiliations Independent (1967–1973, 1984–1986)
Silent (1973–1980)
SIN/Univision (1980–1984)
Fox (1986–1997, primary until 1995)
The WB (1995–2006)
Transmitter power 780 kW
Height 537 m
Facility ID 22201
Transmitter coordinates 32°32′35.4″N 96°57′32.9″W / 32.543167°N 96.959139°W / 32.543167; -96.959139
Website www.nightcaptv.com

KDAF, virtual channel 33 (UHF digital channel 32), is a CW-affiliated television station located in Dallas, Texas, United States which also serves Fort Worth and the surrounding metropolitan area. The station is owned by the Tribune Broadcasting subsidiary of the Tribune Company. KDAF maintains studios located off the State Highway 183/John W. Carpenter Freeway in northwest Dallas, and its transmitter is located in Cedar Hill. Syndicated programming on KDAF includes Family Guy, The Middle, Two and a Half Men, Friends, Everybody Loves Raymond, Seinfeld, and The Arsenio Hall Show.


Early history[edit]

The channel 33 allocation in Dallas has been used by several companies over four decades of operation. It first signed on the air as independent station KMEC in October 1967, becoming the second UHF station in the market after KFWT-TV (channel 21, frequency now occupied by KTXA). The station aired a mix of syndicated and locally produced programming. The station shut down less than a year later. That short-lived attempt was followed by another in 1972, with another company operating a license on channel 33 using the call letters KBFI (for "Berean Fellowship International"), which carried a religious programming format. But, like its predecessor, KBFI signed off after only ten months on the air.

The Christian Broadcasting Network purchased the channel 33 license and, on January 11, 1973, channel 33 returned to the air as KXTX-TV (for "Christ (X) for TeXas"), maintaining a mostly religious format with some general entertainment programming. But CBN's stay on channel 33 would not be a long one: Doubleday Broadcasting wanted to get rid of its independent station, KDTV on channel 39. After an attempt to donate KDTV to non-profit interests, Doubleday instead donated the channel 39 license and assets to CBN. Then, in April 1973, CBN moved the KXTX call letters and its programming to channel 39, while Doubleday took over the channel 33 license under the KDTV calls for another several months before shutting the station down in December. The channel 33 allocation would remain dormant in Dallas for the next six-and-a-half years.

In May 1980, channel 33 returned to the Dallas airwaves for a fourth time. The new station signed on as KNBN-TV, owned by the locally-based Hill Broadcasting (operated by Nolanda Hill, Sheldon Turner and other investors – the former two partners each owned a 40% interest). The station's call letters were derived from its on-air branding, "National Business Network". Business news programming aired during the daytime hours, while evenings were filled by the subscription television service VEU (owned by Gene Autry's Golden West Broadcasters). Again, this format was short-lived, and channel 33 relaunched itself again. Within a year and-a-half, the business news programs were gone and VEU moved to rival independent KTWS (channel 27, now KDFI-TV); KNBN-TV then affiliated with the Spanish International Network (the forerunner to the present-day Univision).

Stability, then transition[edit]

In late 1983, Hill Broadcasting sold KNBN to Metromedia. Initially, KNBN remained a Spanish station (with plans to eventually switch to an English language format) but added a couple of syndicated programs in English that Metromedia distributed, but had no other station to run. On July 31, 1984, the station's calls were changed to KRLD-TV (after new sister station KRLD radio (1080 AM), which Metromedia later sold) and switched to a general entertainment format. The new KRLD-TV was entering a very crowded marketplace – its competition included KTXA, KXTX-TV, and the market's leading independent, KTVT (channel 11). The station initially programmed a schedule with primarily adult fare such as first-run syndicated shows, plenty of off-network dramas, reruns of old game shows and some low-budget movies; the station had very few cartoons at first most of them were found on other stations. From 1984 to 1987, channel 33 served as the broadcast home of the Dallas Sidekicks indoor soccer club. In the fall of 1985, with a huge abundance of barter cartoons now available, KRLD-TV added two-hour blocks of them in the 7 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 5 p.m. timeslots. The station also began phasing in more off-network sitcoms at that point and its format began to increasingly resemble a traditional independent station for that time.

Fox ownership[edit]

In 1986, Metromedia sold its group of independent stations, including KRLD-TV, to News Corporation (owners of the 20th Century Fox film studio). On March 6 of that year, channel 33's call letters were changed to the current KDAF; it became one of the charter stations of the Fox Broadcasting Company when it launched seven months later on October 6, making it the Metroplex's first network-owned station. The station continued running mostly cartoons, off-network sitcoms and older movies; despite being a major network, for all intents and purposes, KDAF was still programmed as an independent station since Fox would not carry seven nights a week of programming until 1993. The station remained unprofitable well into the 1990s. However, with Fox's growth in the early 1990s, the station was turning modest profits by 1994.

Former KDAF logo used when under Fox ownership
Former KDAF logo used when under Fox ownership.

In November 1993, Fox acquired the broadcast rights to the NFL's National Football Conference from CBS. This made Fox desire more VHF stations, especially those in NFC markets. In April 1994, Fox signed a group deal with New World Communications to move the network's affiliations in several markets, including Dallas-Fort Worth, to heritage "Big Three" stations that New World either owned outright or were in the process of purchasing.[3] At the time, New World had acquired then-CBS affiliate KDFW-TV (channel 4, which ironically had been the original KRLD-TV – and had carried Dallas Cowboys games, which often draw high ratings, since 1962) from Argyle Television, and included it as part of its affiliation deal with Fox. Fox jumped at the chance of getting on a VHF station in the nation's seventh-largest market, and placed KDAF up for sale. New World took over operations of KDFW in June 1995. Fox's primetime and sports programs moved from KDAF to KDFW on July 1, 1995; however, Fox Kids programming remained on KDAF for another two years. Fox Television Stations later announced that it would buy New World outright in August 1996, making KDFW an Fox owned-and-operated station.

Purchase by Tribune; The WB era[edit]

Two days after KDFW took the Fox affiliation, on July 3, 1995, Fox finalized the sale of channel 33 to Renaissance Broadcasting (in exchange for KDVR in Denver), and KDAF took over the market's The WB affiliation from KXTX-TV, which only had an agreement to hold it temporarily until Fox could move to KDFW.[4] Renaissance merged with Tribune Broadcasting in 1997;[5] this, in a way, made the station a network-owned station once again as Tribune held a minority ownership interest in The WB.

KDAF's programming focus gradually changed; alongside WB network programming, KDAF initially ran a blend cartoons from both Fox Kids and Kids' WB, some syndicated cartoons, older and recent off-network sitcoms, and some first-run syndicated shows. In the fall of 1997, Fox Kids programming moved from KDAF to KDFW's then-LMA partner station, independent KDFI (channel 27). Gradually, from the mid-1990s to about 2002, KDAF began focusing more on first-run talk, reality and court shows, moving away from older programs. By 2002, the only cartoons on KDAF came from Kids' WB, which ended weekday programming in January 2006; KDAF was the last station in the market that continued to run weekday afternoon cartoons until that point.

The CW affiliation[edit]

On January 24, 2006, the Warner Bros. unit of Time Warner and CBS Corporation announced that the two companies would shut down The WB and UPN and combine the networks' respective programming to create a new "fifth" network called The CW.[6][7] As part of the deal, the new network signed a 10-year affiliation deal with 16 of Tribune's 19 WB stations, including KDAF. The station rebranded as "CW 33" in July 2006, two months before the network officially launched in September. As a result of The CW's relatively weak ratings, Tribune Broadcasting's CW-affiliated stations changed their on-air branding beginning in 2008 to de-emphasize their ties to the network. The station changed its brand to the simplified "KDAF 33" in the summer of 2008, before it was quickly changed to "The 33"; the "CW 33" branding eventually returned full-time in September 2011.

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital channel is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[8]
33.1 1080i 16:9 KDAF-DT Main KDAF programming / The CW
33.2 480i 4:3 Antenna Antenna TV
33.3 This TV This TV

Digital subchannel 33.2 formerly carried The Tube, until it ceased operations on October 1, 2007; the subchannel remained dark until November 1, 2007 when it affiliated with LATV, its affiliation with that network ending in June 2010. On December 7, 2010, KDAF began carrying This TV on digital subchannel 33.3.[9] The 33.2 subchannel was later reactivated as a charter affiliate of Antenna TV upon its launch on January 1, 2011.[10]

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

KDAF shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 33, at 8 a.m. on June 12, 2009, the official date in which full-power television stations in the United States transitioned from analog to digital broadcasts under federal mandate. The station's digital signal remained on its pre-transition UHF channel 32,[11] using PSIP to display KDAF's virtual channel as 33 on digital television receivers.

News operation[edit]

KDAF presently broadcasts 11½ hours of locally produced newscasts each week (the station airs nightly newscasts at 5 and 9 p.m.; the 5 p.m. newscast runs for one hour on Saturdays and Sundays, while it is a half-hour program on weekdays; the 9 p.m. newscast airs for one hour seven nights a week). The station also produces a half-hour public affairs program on Sunday mornings called DFW Close-Up.

After being sold to Metromedia, KDAF (as KRLD-TV) debuted the first primetime newscast ever attempted in the Dallas-Fort Worth market, which aired at 7:00 p.m. After Metromedia was acquired by News Corporation, channel 33's news department was closed down shortly after the company assumed control of the station. With an increase in revenues by the early 1990s, Fox announced plans to re-establish KDAF's news department and launch a primetime newscast that would compete with then-independent station KTVT's 9 p.m. newscast. These plans were shelved after Fox decided to affiliate with KDFW – which already had a functioning news department – through the network's affiliation deal with New World Communications, and sell KDAF in turn; Fox was already beginning to phase in news departments on most of its stations, with the New World stations becoming among the first to take on a news-intensive format.

Tribune Broadcasting decided to re-establish a news department for KDAF after its purchase of the station; in 1999, it launched a half-hour newscast at 9 p.m. weeknights (originally anchored by Patrick Greenlaw and Crystal Thornton), in order to compete with KDFW's hour-long newscast in the same timeslot. Within a year, it was expanded to seven days a week (with Dawn Tongish as weekend anchor) and then expanded to an hour on weeknights only in January 2001[12] (weekend newscasts followed suit by 2003). In late February 2009, Tom Crespo and co-anchor Terri Chappell were replaced on the weeknight newscasts by Amanda Salinas and Walt Maciborski (the latter joining from WFTS in Tampa). KDAF debuted a new nightly 5:30 p.m. newscast on September 21, 2009 to compete with KDFW's own 5:30 newscast as well as the network newscasts on KTVT, KXAS-TV (channel 5) and WFAA (channel 8), featuring former interns turned full-time reporters and some new segments that would end up being irrelevant at the 9 p.m. hour.

KDAF's former newscast logo used from 2008 to 2011; still used sporadically in promos for EyeOpener.

In March 2010, KDAF expanded its early evening newscast to a full hour from 5-6 p.m. on weekdays while the weekend editions retained the 5:30 start time; then in May, the weekday newscast was reduced to a half-hour, retaining the 5 p.m. start time. On weekdays, the newscast now competes against local newscasts on KDFW, WFAA, KXAS and KTVT, while the weekend 5:30 p.m. newscast competes on Saturdays against national newscasts on WFAA, KXAS and KTVT (as they – along with KDFW – do not air their early evening newscasts until 6 p.m.), and against local newscasts on KTVT, WFAA and KDFW and a national network newscast on KXAS on Sundays. On May 22, 2010, KDAF became the last remaining English language station in the Dallas-Fort Worth market to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition. Unlike the other stations in the Dallas-Fort Worth market, video shot during field reports is recorded and broadcast in true high definition. The other stations broadcast studio segments in HD, but their video footage during field reports are shot in 16:9 widescreen standard definition.

On October 31, 2011, KDAF began producing and airing EyeOpener, a three-hour morning news program (starting at 5 a.m.) distributed by Tribune that originally premiered as a test run in May 2011 on Houston sister station KIAH; the program features a mix of news, lifestyle, entertainment and opinion segments. Local news and traffic updates are presented live by national news host Nerissa Night, while weather segments are presented by meteorologist Krista Villarreal. Other segments are also produced at the KDAF studios, which replaced Tribune's Chicago headquarters as the show's production hub. The program is also syndicated to Tribune stations in four additional markets (Philadelphia, Miami, Portland, Oregon and Fort Smith, Arkansas), as well as a non-Tribune station in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Local news and weather segments are each provided by those stations.[13]

During the summer of 2012, KDAF's news department underwent a series of staff departures: news director David Duitch left to become website editor for The Dallas Morning News in July following ratings declines during his tenure,[14] while August saw the departures of chief meteorologist Bob Goosman and sports reporter Chase Williams,[15] the resignation of reporter Giselle Phelps[16] and Walt MacIborski's departure for Indianapolis sister station WXIN.[14] On August 16 of that year, EyeOpener senior producer Larissa Hall was promoted to a director of content position to oversee the newscasts.[14]


KDAF's current newscast logo.

On September 4, 2012, KDAF management announced to station staff that the evening newscasts would adopt a format similar to EyeOpener, in order to reduce costs and make the broadcast profitable (the 9 p.m. newscast regularly places a very distant second behind KDFW's newscast in the same timeslot). The revamped newscast – titled Nightcap – debuted on November 1, 2012, incorporating multimedia journalists (which require a single person to film, edit and report news stories) and humor within most of its story content.[17] New staff members were hired to anchor and report for the newscasts, while about half of the newsroom (including several staffers that were with KDAF since the current news department's inception in January 1999) was laid off.[18] Even with the format switch, KDAF remains in last place among Dallas-Fort Worth's news-producing English stations, to the point of registering "hashmarks" (indicating viewership too low to register a ratings point) on some nights during the initial switch to the Nightcap format, though ratings have slowly increased since then (particularly in the adult 25-54 demographic).[19][20]

Larissa Hall, who oversaw Nightcap's launch as KDAF's director of content, left the station at the end of 2012, shifting to other duties within Tribune and giving Nightcap only partial oversight.[21] Nightcap's future appears to be cloudy with the November 2013 hiring of a new news director for KDAF in Steve Simon, who moves over from a producing position at Tribune's Houston CW affiliate, KIAH. While at KIAH, Simon helped shepherd the launch of NewsFix, an anchor-free, newsreel-style newscast that requires fewer staff than most newscasts and uses only an off-camera narrator for continuity; it is believed that Simon will institute the NewsFix format at KDAF at a date to be determined.[22][23]

News/station presentation[edit]

Newscast titles[edit]

  • KNBN-TV 33 News (1981–1984)
  • KRLD-TV 33 News (1984–1986)
  • WB33 News at Nine (1999–2005)
  • WB News at Nine (2005–2006)
  • CW33 News (2006–2008 and 2011–2012)[24]
  • KDAF 33 News (2008)
  • The 33 News (2008–2011)[25]
  • EyeOpener (morning newscast; 2011–present)
  • Nightcap (evening newscasts; 2012–present)

Station slogans[edit]

  • "Channel 33, First in Texas" (1981–1984)
  • "Channel 33 Is Your Place" (1984–1986)
  • "The Future Home of WB 33" (early–late 1995; used to promote the switch from Fox to The WB)
  • "Watch Your Frog" (2002–2005; reference to Michigan J. Frog, The WB's then-mascot)
  • "Putting Our Community First" (2003–present, for public service announcements and community efforts)
  • "We Play Favorites" (2005–2006)
  • "The Future Home of the New CW33" (2006; used to promote the switch from The WB to The CW)
  • "A Different Kind of News" (news slogan, 2012–present; promotions for EyeOpener use the variant "A Different Kind of Morning Show")

News team[edit]

Current on-air staff[edit]

Weather team
  • Kevin Roth - meteorologist; weeknights at 5 and 9 p.m.
  • Krista Villarreal - meteorologist; weather cut-ins during EyeOpener[13]
  • Amanda Fitzpatrick - weather anchor; weekends at 5 and 9 p.m.
Segment reporters
DFW Close Up

Former on-air staff[edit]

  • Walt Maciborski - weeknight anchor (2009–2012; now with KEYE-TV/Austin, Texas)
  • Rebecca Miller - chief meteorologist (2009–2012)
  • Tommy Noel - reporter/morning news anchor (2009–2012)
  • Daniel Novick - reporter (2011–2013)
  • Crystal Thornton - weeknight anchor (1999–2002)
  • Dawn Tongish - weekend anchor (1999–2012)


  1. ^ "FCC Assignment of License / Transfer of Control Group Search Results - Facility ID 73879". FCC.gov. Federal Communications Commission. 
  3. ^ Fox Network Takes 12 Stations from Big Three, The Buffalo News (via HighBeam Research), May 24, 1994.
  4. ^ Fox, Renaissance trade markets, Broadcasting & Cable (via HighBeam Research), November 21, 1994.
  5. ^ Tribune's renaissance: $1.13-billion purchase of six more TVs brings broadcaster into one-third of U.S. homes, Broadcasting & Cable (via HighBeam Research), July 8, 1996.
  6. ^ 'Gilmore Girls' meet 'Smackdown'; CW Network to combine WB, UPN in CBS-Warner venture beginning in September, CNNMoney.com, January 24, 2006.
  7. ^ UPN and WB to Combine, Forming New TV Network, The New York Times, January 24, 2006.
  8. ^ RabbitEars TV Query for KDAF
  9. ^ http://dallas.thistv.com/
  10. ^ http://antennatv.tv/shows/antenna/affiliates/
  11. ^ "DTV Tentative Channel Designations for the First and Second Rounds" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-03-24. 
  12. ^ Dallas/Fort Worth Market Profile (in 2002)
  13. ^ a b CW33 hires new meteorologist, ramps up for early morning show on two levels
  14. ^ a b c CW33 tabs Larissa Hall as newsroom's latest Director of Content, UncleBarky.com, August 16, 2012.
  15. ^ Report: Meteorologist Bob Goosmann, sports anchor Chase Williams leave KDAF, DFW.com, August 1, 2012.
  16. ^ Reporter Giselle Phelps resigns from Dallas-based CW33, UncleBarky.com, August 11, 2012.
  17. ^ Nightcap springs itself on CW33
  18. ^ "Transitioning" at CW33 claims first wave of staffers, UncleBarky.com, October 10, 2012.
  19. ^ Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Mon., Nov. 5) -- Peacock again crows with 18-to-49-year-olds
  20. ^ Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Wed., March 27) -- a diminished Idol stll good enough
  21. ^ "Larissa Hall shifing responsibilities with Tribune-owned CW33 and its prime-time Nightcap news show," from UncleBarky.com, 12/19/2012
  22. ^ "CW33's Nightcap to be supplanted by NewsFix," from UncleBarky.com, 11/25/2013
  23. ^ "Steve Simon expands NewsFix to KDAF from KIAH," from MikeMcGuff.com, 11/25/2013
  24. ^ KDAF CW 33 News at 9 Close
  25. ^ KDAF The 33 News Open

External links[edit]