KTLA is the channel 5 television station in Los Angeles, California. Owned by the Tribune Company, KTLA is an affiliate of The CW Television Network. KTLA's studios are on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, and its transmitter is located atop Mount Wilson. The station's signal covers the Southern California region, and KTLA is also available as a regional superstation via cable and satellite in the United States and Canada.

KTLA was the first commercially licensed television station in the western United States, having begun operations in 1947.


History Edit

Early years Edit

Originally owned by Paramount Pictures subsidiary Television Productions, Inc., and located on the Paramount Studios lot, the station was licensed by the Federal Communications Commission in 1939 as experimental station W6XYZ, on channel 4, but did not go on the air until September 1942. Klaus Landsberg, already an accomplished television pioneer at the age of 26, was the original station manager and engineer. On January 22, 1947, it was licensed for commercial broadcast as KTLA on channel 5, becoming the first commercial television station to broadcast west of the Mississippi River. Estimates of television sets in the Los Angeles area at the time ranged from 350 to 600.

Bob Hope served as the emcee for KTLA's inaugural broadcast, which was broadcast that evening from a garage on the Paramount Studios lot. The program, titled as the "Western Premiere of Commercial Television", featured appearances from many Hollywood luminaries. Hope delivered what was perhaps the most famous line of the evening when, at the program's start, he identified the new station as "KTL", mistakenly omitting the "A" at the end of the call sign.

KTLA originally carried programming from Paramount's partner, DuMont, but discontinued the practice after the 1947-48 season. Despite this, the FCC still considered KTLA and sister station, WBKB (now WBBM-TV) in Chicago to be DuMont owned-and-operated stations because Paramount held a minority stake in DuMont. As a result, the agency would not allow DuMont to buy additional VHF stations -- a problem that would later play a large role in the failure of the DuMont network, whose programming was splintered among other Los Angeles stations until the network's demise in 1956. Paramount even launched a short-lived "Paramount Television Network" in 1949, with KTLA and WBKB as its flagship stations.[2][3] The programming service never gelled into a true television network.

In 1958, KTLA moved to the Paramount Sunset Studios on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, originally the Warner Bros. Sunset Studios. For many years, those who have worked on Stage 6 at KTLA have been told that it was the site of filming Al Jolson's landmark film The Jazz Singer in 1927; Mark Evanier, who wrote for one such show in 1978, points out on his website that Stage 6 didn't even exist at the time The Jazz Singer was produced and the actual location used was probably what is now Stage 9.

In 1964, KTLA was purchased by actor and singer Gene Autry and merged with his other radio properties (including Los Angeles' KMPC) into an umbrella company, Golden West Broadcasters. From 1964 to 1995, the station was the broadcast television home of the Los Angeles/California Angels baseball team, which was also owned by Autry. KTLA carried selected Los Angeles Lakers games from the early-to-mid 1970s. During the 1970s, KTLA became one of the nation's first superstations, and was eventually carried on cable systems across much of the country west of the Mississippi.

In the late 1960s and 1970s, KTLA sought a different programming strategy from the competition. It would emphasize syndicated reruns of off-network programs (with a heavy emphasis on western-themed programs such as The Gene Autry Show), first-run talk shows, movies, and sports programming. Children's programming, with the exception of weekend morning Popeye cartoons, were also phased out. It also launched a 10 p.m. newscast in the mid-1960s, the simply-titled News at Ten (now KTLA Prime News).

A Tribune Broadcasting station Edit

In 1982, Golden West sold KTLA to investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. for $245 million. In 1985, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts sold KTLA to Tribune Broadcasting. Under Tribune, KTLA continued to acquire high rated off-network sitcoms as well as talk shows. In July 1991, KTLA added the first live, local morning newscast, the KTLA Morning News, to compete with major network morning shows. At first, the KTLA Morning News suffered from low ratings. However, the ability to cover breaking news live (as opposed to the network morning programs, which were aired on a three-hour tape delay) attracted more viewers to channel 5. As time went on, the KTLA Morning News has enjoyed great ratings success, generally ranking number one in its main 7-9 a.m. time period. The program's success spawned rival KTTV to launch its own local morning program, Good Day L.A., in 1993.

In March 1991, KTLA was the first station to air the infamous video of the Rodney King beating by Los Angeles police. From 1994 to 1995, the station aired gavel to gavel coverage of the O.J. Simpson trial anchored by Marta Waller.

Also around 1995, KTLA introduced a midday newscast at noon, but was discontinued sometime in 1997. This was revived on April 1, 2009 with the relaunch of a midday newscast at 1:00 PM weekdays.

Locally, KTLA has been co-owned with the Los Angeles Times since 2000 when Times Mirror, the previous owners of the daily newspaper, merged with Tribune.

The WB comes to KTLA Edit

In January 1995, KTLA became a charter affiliate of The WB Television Network, in which KTLA's parent company Tribune held a 25 percent ownership stake. That fall, KTLA added afternoon cartoons from Kids' WB, entering the weekday children's television business for the first time in many years. KTLA also broadcasts the annual Tournament of Roses Parade from Pasadena as well. The station has aired the Rose Parade since 1948, and while other local stations also broadcast the parade over the years, KTLA remains the sole English-language outlet in the Los Angeles area to continuously broadcast the event. The station also served as host broadcaster of the Hollywood Christmas Parade, which was later syndicated to all Tribune-owned stations.

Tribune purchased the Times-Mirror Company, parent company of the Los Angeles Times, in 2000, bringing the Times into common ownership with channel 5. The Times had been the original owner of Los Angeles' Fox station, KTTV.

"Where L.A. Lives" Edit

The station launched a new branding campaign in January 2005, which omitted all references to its channel 5 position (Although when rebranding as a CW affiliate, the channel 5 reference would return). It adopted a new logo, and became known on the air as KTLA The WB: Where L.A. Lives. The new look also featured a brand new black and orange color scheme for news broadcasts and other functions of the network.

On January 24, 2006, the Warner Bros. Television unit of Time Warner and CBS announced it would be merging the operations of its WB and UPN networks into a joint-venture, The CW Television Network. KTLA became the Los Angeles affiliate of the new network. The station rebranded itself as "KTLA 5 The CW" on September 18, 2006.

KTLA today Edit

KTLA tower on Sunset Boulevard in 2007Today, KTLA is a typical CW affiliate running the usual blend of syndicated shows, first-run prime time programming from The CW, early morning and evening newscasts, and sports. KTLA is the over-the-air home of the Los Angeles Clippers; the station carried Clippers games from 1985 to 1991, and picked them up again in 2002 and was also the TV home of the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1993 to 2001. Although not as wide-spread in national carriage as its Chicago sister station, WGN-TV, KTLA is available via satellite as a superstation, throughout North America on Ku-band, C-band, and Dish Network systems, as well as on cable systems in selected cities throughout the Southwestern part of the United States and in Canada nationwide.

KTLA offers around 30 hours per week of local news, and its 10 p.m. newscast was the most-watched for decades until KTTV took the top spot consistently since 2000[citation needed]. The KTLA Morning Show is the number two-rated local morning show, behind Good Day L.A.

KTLA's facility is also home to Sunset Bronson Studios (formerly Tribune Studios), where shows like Greed, Fox's Celebrity Boxing specials, WKRP in Cincinnati, Judge Judy, Hannah Montana, Solid Gold, Name That Tune, Family Feud, Win Ben Stein's Money, Lingo, The Newlywed Game, MADtv and Judge Joe Brown have been produced over the years. With its location, KTLA and PBS member station KCET are currently the only Los Angeles area broadcasters based in Hollywood. On February 14, 2008, Tribune Company announced the sale of Tribune Studios and related real estate in Los Angeles to Hudson Capital LLC for $125 million.

While KTLA and KCET are the only broadcasters from Hollywood, there has been speculation that KTLA might move into the Los Angeles Times Headquarters in Downtown Los Angeles integrating their operations with their newspaper counterpart.

On January 13, 2007, KTLA began broadcasting its newscasts in High Definition, becoming the second Los Angeles television station to do so.

Sixtieth anniversary Edit

On January 22, 2007, KTLA celebrated its 60th anniversary of continuous broadcasting in Los Angeles. Two days later, on January 24, 2007, KTLA was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, becoming the first television station or network to receive such an honor. In addition to the station itself, six other individuals associated with the station -- former owner Gene Autry, reporters Stan Chambers and Larry McCormick, news anchors Hal Fishman and George Putnam, and KTLA founder Klaus Landsberg -- have received stars on the Walk of Fame.

In addition, KTLA continued its celebration on the weekend after Thanksgiving by airing a 60-hour marathon of classic shows that aired on KTLA in the past. KTLA also aired retrospectives of historic Los Angeles news stories during its weekend newscasts.[6] However, the retro news segments were canceled on November 24 due to extensive coverage of the Corral Canyon fire in Malibu, California.

Among the programs shown during the marathon were The Honeymooners, The Jack Benny Program, The Little Rascals, Wonder Woman, and Peter Gunn.

News operation Edit

Several of KTLA's well-known evening news anchors include Hal Fishman, Larry McCormick, and George Putnam. Its veteran field reporters have included Stan Chambers (who has been with the station since its inception in 1947) and Warren Wilson. Stu Nahan and Ed Arnold (who now anchors KOCE-TV's Real Orange) were formerly the sports anchors. Accompanying his news anchoring career, McCormick also hosted KTLA's own public affairs production called Making It!, which featured stories on the entrepreneurial successes of ethnic minorities. The station briefly ran a noon newscast during the mid-1990s anchored by Marta Waller.

For many years channel 5's news operations were considered the benchmark of Los Angeles television. Its evening news program was often serious and no-nonsense in nature and has received many awards and distinctions. However, KTLA's newscasts have become more tabloid-based in nature in recent years, perhaps to compete with KTTV. Both stations have rivaled each other in ratings for many years. As part of the change, KTLA has placed more emphasis in entertainment news, and has featured personalities including Mindy Burbano Stearns, Zorianna Kitt, and recently Ross King as entertainment reporters.

In 2004, KTLA debuted a reality show segment on its morning news titled "The Audition", in which several actors and actresses competed for a role as weathercaster on the News at Ten. Ross King was the winner in the first installment. Jessica Holmes, of Nickelodeon fame, won the second installment and is now their morning traffic reporter. Although KTLA does not cover police pursuits like other stations, they have put more emphasis in local crime stories, as opposed to politics, health, and other serious news. As part of the 2005 graphics change, KTLA's graphics were significantly modernized, and a new, futuristic-looking set was constructed for their newscasts.

On May 29, 2006, the KTLA Morning News became the KTLA Morning Show. On August 7 of the same year, KTLA extended their Morning Show news broadcast by an hour, creating five straight hours of news between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m.

KTLA has also created synergy between Tribune Company entities. For example, entertainment reporter Sam Rubin is often seen on WGN-TV in Chicago. Ron Olsen also frequently reports on upcoming stories in the Los Angeles Times from the paper's headquarters in Downtown Los Angeles.

During the 1970s, KTLA operated a well-equipped helicopter known as the "Telecopter" for its news operations (having debuted in 1958); the Telecopter was the most advanced airborne television broadcast device of its time, but was ultimately sold to another Los Angeles station, KNBC, which flew the Telecopter with pilot Francis Gary Powers and cameraman George Spears until its fatal crash on August 1, 1977.

On July 30, 2007, Hal Fishman anchored what would be his final broadcast for KTLA. Following several days of hospitalization for a liver infection, Fishman died on August 7, 2007. KTLA's newscasts that morning and evening were dedicated to Fishman, for whom channel 5 dedicated its news studio in 2000. After Fishman's passing, KTLA installed longtime Morning Show co-host Carlos Amezcua as the interim co-anchor on Prime News. Local media speculated that Amezcua would be given the assignment permanently, but on September 4, Amezcua announced he would be leaving channel 5 to take over as co-anchor of KTTV's evening newscast, replacing John Beard. ([1], [2]) Morning news co-anchor Emmett Miller took over as interim evening anchor, and on December 4 was named as Fishman's permanent replacement. ([3])

On February 4, 2008, KTLA changed the names of its morning newscasts. The First Edition news is now known as KTLA News @ 5 AM, while the Early Edition program is now known as KTLA News @ 6 AM. The KTLA Morning Show has now reverted back to its original title, KTLA Morning News, while their 9 AM hour is now called KTLA News @ 9 AM. KTLA was to have had a graphics change which was supposed to have taken effect in the first-quarter of 2008, but has yet to happen as of 2009.([4])

On January 19, 2009, KTLA launched a 6:30pm newscast anchored by Emmett Miller and Leila Feinstein. It will be the region's first 6:30pm newscast since the mid-1990's when KCAL-TV and KCBS-TV aired newscasts during this time slot before becoming sister stations in 2001.

On April 1, 2009, KTLA expanded the number of hours of local newscast per week. First, the KTLA Morning News began at a earlier time at 4:30 AM. The 4:30 AM newscast is anchored by Asha Blake. KTLA also, once again, began airing a midday newscast airing weekdays at 1:00PM, anchored by Frank Buckley and Michaela Pereira. Lastly, KTLA will add 6:30 PM newscasts on weekends, anchored by Cher Calvin and Lu Parker.

In popular culture Edit

KTLA gained a bit of notoriety among fans of the television show Mystery Science Theater 3000 on November 30, 1991 with the airing of their mockery of the movie War of the Colossal Beast. In the movie, there are scenes of a KTLA news anchor predicting where the title character Glen Manning will end up next. That anchor is the real KTLA reporter Stan Chambers, with the station since the beginning and still reporting daily from the field (as of 2009[update]). The anchor ends up pronouncing the station's call letters as "KIT-lah". In a skit segment later in the show, Joel Robinson, portrayed by Joel Hodgson, mocks the anchor's "KTLA Predicts" style of newsreading and parodies Criswell. The phrase "KTLA Predicts" became a catchphrase among fans of the show.

During the 1950's, while Paramount owned the station, that company was also producing Popeye cartoons. In one episode, Popeye's nephews turn on their television to "chanel number 5" (not the perfume, but channel 5 – KTLA).

KTLA has also been featured in other media (usually with its newscasts). Hal Fishman was featured reporting for Channel 5 News at Ten in the movie Malibu's Most Wanted. In one scene in the 2002 movie Showtime, the KTLA SkyCam 5 (later renamed the KTLA HD Telecopter, now renamed to Sky 5 HD) was seen among a group of helicopters surrounding the Bonaventure Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles.