KMAX-TV, virtual channel 31 (UHF digital channel 21), is a CW owned-and-operated television station licensed to Sacramento, California, United States. The station is owned by the CBS Television Stations subsidiary of CBS Corporation, as part of a duopoly with Stockton-licensed CBS owned-and-operated station KOVR (channel 13). The two stations share studios on KOVR Drive in West Sacramento and transmitter facilities in Walnut Grove.
The station first signed on the air on October 5, 1974 as KMUV-TV, operating as an independent station. It originally operated from studio facilities located on Media Place in Sacramento. The station was originally owned by Sid Grayson and had carried an all-movie format to counter-program against the area's other established stations, particularly then-independent KTXL (channel 40, now a Fox affiliate). However, on May 1, 1976, KMUV abandoned its all-movie format and largely began to air Spanish-language programming, along with some English-language religious programs (such as The PTL Club).
On April 2, 1981, Koplar Broadcasting (then-owner and founder of St. Louis' KPLR-TV) purchased channel 31 and relaunched it on April 6 of that year under the callsign KRBK-TV (named for company founder Harold Koplar's son, Robert "Bob" Koplar), formatted as an English-language general entertainment independent to compete directly with KTXL.
Pappas Telecasting purchased the station in 1994. On January 11, 1995, the station changed its call letters to KPWB-TV (for Pappas WB) to reflect its affiliation with The WB Television Network, which launched the same day. Paramount Stations Group bought the station in March 1998, thus resulting in an affiliation swap with KQCA (channel 58) on January 5 of that year, that saw the UPN affiliation move to channel 31, which assumed the present call letters KMAX-TV, while The WB affiliation moved to KQCA. With Paramount's ownership stake in UPN, KMAX became the first station in Sacramento to be owned and operated by a major network. Viacom acquired CBS in 1999, merging Paramount Stations Group with CBS' owned-and-operated stations to form the Viacom Television Stations Group.
Channel 31 was the flagship television home of the NBA's Sacramento Kings from the 1988–89 season until the middle of the 2002–03 season, when the team's owners, the Maloof family, terminated the station's contract due to the Kings forming their own sales and marketing departments and taking the ad sales "in house." KMAX remains the local over-the-air affiliate of the San Francisco Giants Major League Baseball franchise. It also held local broadcast rights to the Oakland Athletics before that team moved all its telecasts to regional sports network Comcast SportsNet California in 2009.
In May 2005, Viacom purchased KOVR from the Sinclair Broadcast Group, creating a duopoly with KMAX; KMAX's operations were also relocated to KOVR's studios in West Sacramento. Seven months later, Viacom divested itself of CBS due to the company's split into two separate entities (one of which retained the Viacom name); KOVR and KMAX, along with the other CBS and UPN stations operated by Viacom, became part of the newly formed CBS Corporation.
On January 24, 2006, CBS Corporation and Time Warner's Warner Bros. Entertainment (the division that operated The WB) announced that they would dissolve UPN and The WB, and move some of their programming to a newly created network, The CW. KMAX, as a CBS-owned UPN station, was tapped to become the market's affiliate of the new network through an 11-station affiliation deal, and became a charter affiliate of The CW on September 18, 2006. The station changed its on-air branding from "UPN 31" to "CW31" one month before The CW's September 18 launch to reflect this. As the Sacramento affiliate of The CW, KMAX-TV airs the Saturday morning educational One Magnificent Morning lineup on a four-hour delay, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. due to the Saturday edition of Good Day (it formerly aired until 4:00 p.m. until the block was cut by two hours in October 2017).
|TV stations in California|
| KTLA, Los Angeles|
KSBY-DT2, Santa Barbara/Santa Maria/San Luis Obispo
|TV stations in Northern California, including Sacramento, Stockton, and Modesto|
| KCRA 3 (NBC)|
KVIE 6 (PBS)