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Crossville/Knoxville, Tennessee
United States
Branding The CW 20
Slogan TV Now
Expect More (newscasts)
Channels Digital: 20 (UHF)
Virtual: 20 (PSIP)
Subchannels 20.1 The CW
20.2 Escape
Owner Gray Television
(Gray Television Licensee, LLC)
First air date September 23, 1997; 19 years ago (1997-09-23)
Call letters' meaning The WB (former affiliation) and XX (Roman numeral 20)
Sister station(s) WVLT-TV
Former channel number(s) 20 (UHF analog, 1997–2009)
50 (UHF digital, –2009)
Former affiliations The WB (1997–2006)
UPN (secondary, 2001–2002)
Transmitter power 652 kW
Height 735 m (2,411 ft)
Class DT
Facility ID 72971
Transmitter coordinates 36°6′33″N 84°20′17″W / 36.10917°N 84.33806°W / 36.10917; -84.33806
Licensing authority FCC
Public license information: Profile
Website cw20tv.com

WBXX-TV is a CW-affiliated television station serving Knoxville, Tennessee, United States that is licensed to Crossville. It broadcasts a high definition digital signal on UHF channel 20 (also the station's virtual channel via PSIP) from a transmitter in unincorporated southwestern Anderson County. The station is owned by Gray Television as part of a duopoly with CBS affiliate WVLT-TV, with studios located on Papermill Drive (near I-40/I-75) on the city's westside.

On cable, the station is available on Charter Spectrum channel 12 in SD and 712 in HD, as well as Comcast Xfinity channels 7 and 1007, WOW! channels 7 and 907, and AT&T U-Verse channels 20 and 1020.


WBXX began operation in October 6, 1997; the station is the only one that was ever built by ACME Communications from the ground up (KWBQ in Albuquerque, New Mexico was also signed on by ACME but its construction permit originally belonged to another entity). It was primarily an affiliate of The WB Television Network from its sign-on until 2006, though it did run select UPN programming during 2001 and 2002 as that network did not have a Knoxville affiliate at the time.[1]

WBXX was consistently one of the highest-rated WB stations in the country, and was recognized as such by The WB network. After being known as "WB20" since signing on, WBXX rebranded as "East Tennessee's WB" in September 2003. When the station took affiliation with The CW, it was renamed "East Tennessee's CW." WBXX rebranded again, to its current "CW20" moniker, in August 2008.

WBXX is the only full-powered Knoxville-market station to be licensed in a city in the Central Time Zone; Cumberland County (where Crossville is located) and Fentress County are the only two counties in the Knoxville market that observe Central Time, one hour earlier than Knoxville, in Eastern Time. However, while national CW programming is promoted with both Eastern and Central Time listings, WBXX local programming is promoted with only Eastern Time listings.

In February 2011, ACME Communications announced a deal to sell the station to Virginia-based Lockwood Broadcasting Group. The sale was approved by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on March 21 with the consummation being completed on May 6.[2][3][4] From 1998 until 2004, the station aired a series of interstitials during children's programming called "WB 20 Kids Club" (later "Dubba Clubba") hosted by comedian Jackson Bailey (known as "Joe Cool"). The interstitials featured information and contests to viewers in several vignettes each weekday covering topics such as science, biology, conservation, music, and pet care.

Beginning in September 2015, WBXX will broadcast Atlantic Coast Conference football and men’s basketball syndicated from Raycom Sports-operated ACC Network, some of which will be shared with the main channel of CBS affiliate WVLT-TV. Those games were previously broadcast on MyNetworkTV affiliate WVLT-DT2 from 2009 until the end of the 2014-2015 season.

On October 1, 2015, Gray Television announced that it would acquire WBXX-TV from Lockwood Broadcast Group. The purchase was made as part of Gray's acquisition of the broadcasting assets of Schurz Communications; as part of the deal, Lockwood received KAKE in Wichita, Kansas (which Gray put up for sale following the deal with Schurz) and paid $11.2 million to Gray.[5] Gray (through WVLT-TV, Inc.) took the operations of the station via Local Marketing Agreement.[6] The sale was completed on February 1, 2016. [7]

Digital television[edit]

Digital channels[edit]

The station's digital signal is multiplexed:

Channel Video Aspect PSIP Short Name Programming[8]
20.1 1080i 16:9 WBXX Main WBXX-TV programming / The CW
20.2 480i 4:3 WBXX 2 Escape

Analog-to-digital conversion[edit]

WBXX-TV shut down its analog signal, over UHF channel 20, 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 relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 50 to channel 20.[9]


Syndicated programming on the station includes How I Met Your Mother, Maury, Family Guy and The Big Bang Theory, among others.


Until mid-late 2013, WBXX aired the nationally syndicated morning show The Daily Buzz from 6 until 8. The program was produced by ACME Communications, and during the company's ownership of this station, there were local weather cut-ins focusing on the Knoxville area. It is unknown if these updates were still provided with WBXX's ownership change to Lockwood. The Daily Buzz then moved to sister station WKNX-TV, which aired it until its sudden cancellation on April 17, 2015.

At one point in time, NBC affiliate WBIR-TV (then owned by Gannett, now owned by Tegna) began producing a nightly newscast on this station through an outsourcing agreement, called 10 News at 10. The newscast only aired for twelve minutes in an abbreviated format featuring the day's top stories along with an updated weather forecast. The broadcast originated from WBIR's facility on Hutchinson Avenue in Knoxville's Lincoln Park section (official address is Bill Williams Avenue). It was offered as an alternative to Fox affiliate WTNZ which had nightly local news produced by ABC affiliate WATE-TV. In early March 2011, WTNZ terminated its news share agreement with WATE after entering into another contract with WBIR. As a result, the latter station stopped producing the nightly update for WBXX.

On August 1, 2011, WATE (owned by Young Broadcasting, now owned by Nexstar Media Group) returned to the prime time newscast race with a new nightly 35 minute broadcast on WBXX (The CW 20 News at 10) through another outsourcing agreement. Corresponding with the addition, WATE upgraded to high definition newscasts that October 17 becoming the third local news operation in Knoxville to make the change. Initially, the newscast on WBXX was not included in the upgrade as it lacked a high definition-capable master control at its separate studios to receive the newscast in HD. This lasted until early April 2012 when WBXX underwent a master control upgrade. The CW 20 News at 10 originated from WATE's studios in Camp House on North Broadway in the city's Old North Knoxville section. Starting on January 1, 2017, sister station WVLT-TV took over production of WBXX's newscasts from WATE which include the morning (7-9 a.m.) and primetime 10 p.m. newscasts. [10][11][12]


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