KING-TV, virtual channel 5 (UHF digital channel 48), is an NBC-affiliated television station licensed to Seattle, Washington, United States and also serving Tacoma. The station is owned by Tegna Inc., as part of a duopoly with Everett-licensed independent station KONG (channel 16). The two stations share studios at the Home Plate Center in the SoDo district of Seattle; KING-TV's transmitter is located in the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle.

KING-TV is one of five Seattle television stations that are available in Canada on satellite providers Bell TV and Shaw Direct, and is available to most cable subscribers in the Vancouver/Victoria, British Columbia area as the NBC affiliate. The station is also carried on several cable providers in southeastern Alaska and northwestern Oregon.

History[edit | edit source]

Channel 5 first took to the air as KRSC-TV on November 25, 1948, becoming the first television station in the Pacific Northwest. The station was originally owned by Palmer K. Leberman's Radio Sales Corporation, which also operated KRSC radio (1150 AM, now KKNW, and FM 98.1, now KING-FM). The first broadcast on channel 5 was a live remote of a Thanksgiving Day high school football game – the telecast was plagued with technical difficulties, but local viewers reported being impressed nonetheless. Channel 5 was originally a primary CBS affiliate, and carried secondary affiliations with NBC, ABC and DuMont.

Eight months after the television station debuted, KRSC-TV and KRSC-FM were purchased by King Broadcasting Company, owners of KING radio (1090 AM, now KFNQ) and the original KING-FM (94.9, frequency now occupied by KUOW-FM), for $375,000 in May 1949. The station changed its callsign to KING-TV to match its radio sisters (according to legend, King Broadcasting president Dorothy Bullitt purchased the KING call letters while on a fishing boat). For many years, the stations' logo was "King Mike", an anthropomorphized microphone in ermine robes and a crown, drawn by cartoonist Walt Disney (Portland, Oregon sister stations KGW-AM-FM-TV used a similar logo, called "Pioneer Mike"; the King Mike logo was later brought back for KING's 50th anniversary in 1998 and still appears in promotional announcements to this day).

Once the FCC-imposed freeze on television station license awards ended in 1952, KING-TV lost its monopoly in the market. During 1953, the Seattle–Tacoma area received three new stations: KTNT-TV (channel 11, now KSTW) debuted in March as the market's CBS outlet; while NBC went to KMO-TV (channel 13, now KCPQ), which signed on in August. NBC moved a few months later to KOMO-TV (channel 4), which went on the air in December. By the end of the year, KING-TV was left with poor-performing ABC and DuMont, the latter of which ceased operations in 1956. Subsequently, Bullitt lobbied NBC for a group affiliation for her stations, and in October 1958, KING-TV and KGW-TV in Portland began carrying NBC programming. In Seattle, channel 5 shared NBC and ABC with KOMO-TV for most of the 1958–59 television season. On September 27, 1959, KING-TV became an exclusive NBC station and KOMO-TV affiliated with ABC full-time. KING-TV is one of a few handful of stations in the country to have held a primary affiliation with all of the "Big Three" networks.

Dissatisfied with Stimson Bullitt's management style, Dorothy Bullitt, and Mr. Bullitt's sisters, arranged for his voluntary resignation from King Broadcasting in 1972. Stimson sold his company shares to his sisters, Harriet and Patsy. He then received control of the family's real estate interests. Ancil Payne, who had served as general manager of the company's Portland stations since 1965, became president and CEO. By the 1970s and 1980s, KING-TV was the flagship of a growing regional media empire which at various times included ventures in publishing, the film industry, cable television systems (under the name of King Videocable, the assets of which have by now been absorbed into Comcast) and even various timber assets in the Far East.

Locally produced programs that debuted on the station during the 1970s and 1980s included Seattle Today, a mid-morning talk show hosted by Cliff Lenz and Shirley Hudson and later by Susan Michaels and Colby Chester; Seattle Tonight, Tonite!, hosted by Ross McGowan and later Dick Klinger; Almost Live!, a Saturday night talk and sketch-comedy program originally starring Ross Shafer; and a local Evening Magazine franchise, first hosted by Penny LeGate and Brian Tracey. Of these, only Evening Magazine exists today. How Come?, a half-hour early Sunday evening family television program hosted by Al Wallace, won several awards during its run during the 1970s and early 1980s. The show covered topics on how things were made or done in the world. Dick Klinger hosted the show after Al Wallace died.

King Broadcasting's stations included KGW radio and television in Portland, KREM-TV in Spokane, KTVB-TV in Boise, KHNL-TV and KFVE in Honolulu and KYA/KOIT radio in San Francisco. Long-time station-owner Dorothy Bullitt died in June 1989. Dorothy Bullitt's daughters Harriet Bullitt and Priscilla "Patsy" Bullitt Collins decided to sell the King assets in 1992—eventually selling King Broadcasting (including KING, KREM, KGW, KTVB, KHNL/KFVE and the cable provider assets) to The Providence Journal Company. KING-TV and other King Broadcasting stations later became Belo properties as a result of that company's merger with The Providence Journal Company in 1997. As a result, Belo was forced to divest KIRO-TV to Cox Enterprises in order to keep the higher rated KING-TV.

Bonneville International Corporation purchased KING-AM in 1994. 1999 saw the end of Almost Live! During the 1990s, the show launched the career of Bill Nye the Science Guy, Joel McHale (of The Soup fame) and locally, Pat Cashman and John Keister (who replaced Ross Shafer as host). KING-TV was also the home for Watch This!, a fast-paced Emmy Award-winning show aimed at children and teenagers; the show lasted five years and was hosted by local anchors, Jim Dever and Mimi Gan. On December 18, 1995, King Broadcasting launched Northwest Cable News (NWCN), which was a 24-hour regional cable news channel available primarily to cable providers in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho with lesser cable coverage in Alaska, Montana and California.

Gannett/Tegna, move to SoDo[edit | edit source]

On June 13, 2013, the Gannett Company announced that it would acquire Belo. The sale was completed on December 23. On June 29, 2015, Gannett's newspaper business was spun out, with KING and Gannett's former TV properties renamed Tegna.

In April 2014, KING announced plans to sell its South Lake Union headquarters and re-locate, taking advantage of a booming real estate market in the South Union Lake area. In September 2014, it was reported that the station was planning to lease multiple floors at the Home Plate Center, a complex in the SoDo area of Seattle, and located across the street from T-Mobile Park (formerly Safeco Field). In March 2015, Gannett confirmed that KING, KONG, and NWCN would move to the lower three floors of the Home Plate Center, and announced plans for KING to utilize the lower floor for the market's first street-side studio. The former facilities were sold to Kilroy Realty for nearly $50 million, and were demolished during the summer of 2016, and will be replaced by mixed-use developments.

The choice of a smaller location was in response to concerns that the large size of its previous facility inhibited collaboration. The ground floor contains two studios: a street-side studio for KING's news programming, and the other for local productions such as New Day Northwest. The newsroom is located on the second floor, and contained NWCN's main set. The new facility was equipped with new Grass Valley master control, graphics, and playout hardware, and Sony automation equipment. After broadcasting its final newscast from the North Dexter Avenue studio on February 12, 2016, KING quietly transitioned its master control to Home Plate Center during that night's broadcast of Late Night with Seth Meyers, and began broadcasting newscasts from the new facility the following morning.

On January 6, 2017, NWCN was shut down due to declining viewership and the reluctance of local cable systems to pay more for the channel to keep it operating.

TV stations in Washington
KING, Seattle

KNDO/KNDU, Yakima/Richland
KHQ, Spokane

TV stations in the Puget Sound Region, including Seattle, Tacoma and Everett
K08OU-D 8 (3ABN)
KSTW 11 (CW)
KVOS 12 (H&I)
KCPQ 13 (Fox)
KONG 16 (Ind)
KRUM-LD 24 (Ind)
KWPX 33 (Ion)
KFFV 44 (Ind)
KWDK 56 (Daystar)
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