TV Stations Wikia

WBFS-TV, virtual channel 33 (UHF digital channel 32), is a MyNetworkTV-affiliated television station licensed to Miami, Florida, United States and also serving Fort Lauderdale. The station is owned by the CBS Television Stations subsidiary of ViacomCBS, as part of a duopoly with CBS owned-and-operated station WFOR-TV (channel 4). The two stations share studios on Northwest 18th Terrace in Doral, near the Miami International Airport; WBFS-TV's transmitter is located on Northwest 210th Street in Miramar. On cable, the station is carried on Comcast Xfinity channel 3. WBFS-TV is one of two CBS Corporation-owned stations carrying the Fox Corporation-owned MyNetworkTV service, alongside sister station WSBK-TV in Boston.


"South Florida's Super Station"[]

Prior to the station's launch, the UHF channel 33 frequency in the Miami–Fort Lauderdale market was occupied by a low-power translator of competing independent WCIX (channel 6, now WFOR-TV on channel 4), whose primary full-power signal could not be received very well in Broward County as its transmitter was located in Homestead, positioned farther southwest than the transmitters of other Miami area stations in order to prevent signal interference with WPTV-TV in West Palm Beach and WDBO-TV (now WKMG-TV) in Orlando.

WBFS first signed on the air on December 9, 1984, originally operating as an independent station. the station was owned by Grant Broadcasting. The station originally operated from studio facilities located on Northwest 52nd Avenue in Miami Gardens. The station ran numerous off-network reruns of classic television sitcoms from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, along with a number of cartoons. It also ran some off-network drama series, and classic western and martial arts movies that were usually shown on Saturday afternoons. WBFS soon made a name for itself in South Florida for its slick on-air look. It billed itself as "Florida's Super Station" (a slogan that present-day Tampa Bay sister station WTOG also used around the same time) and frequently used CGI graphics of near-network quality (similar graphics would be implemented on WGBS-TV (now WPSG) in Philadelphia and WGBO-TV in Chicago after Grant acquired those stations). The station was available on cable in the West Palm Beach area as well, and had identified as "Miami/Fort Lauderdale/West Palm Beach" in station IDs until the 1990s.

Financial difficulties under bankruptcy[]

However while the station itself turned a profit, Grant overextended itself while buying programming for its stations. In December 1986, shortly after Christmas, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The pressure came from debt with Viacom, which owned the distribution rights for half of the programs broadcast on Grant's stations. In January 1987, a deal was made to cut back the runs of the shows that the stations owned and pay reduced prices for licensing them.

Even with Grant's financial problems, WBFS continued to do well, and scored a major coup by becoming the on-air home of the NBA's new Miami Heat franchise in 1988. It added rights to games from the Florida Marlins of Major League Baseball's National League and the Florida Panthers of the NHL in 1993. However, Grant Broadcasting was unable to get out of debt, forcing the company into receivership in 1989. Combined Broadcasting, a company consisting of executives from the program distributors that Grant owed payments to, took over ownership of WBFS and its sister stations. The company pumped a lot of money into WBFS and WGBS, but ran primarily barter programming on WGBO.

Sale to Paramount and affiliation with UPN[]

In 1994, Combined sold WBFS and WGBS to Paramount Stations Group (which was soon acquired by former Grant creditor Viacom after it acquired Paramount Pictures that year), which sold its original Philadelphia station, WTXF-TV, to Fox Television Stations. Almost immediately, Paramount announced that WBFS and WGBS would join the soon-to-be created United Paramount Network (UPN), which was created through a programming partnership with owner Chris-Craft Industries (Viacom/Paramount itself would not acquire partial ownership of the network until 1996). WGBO was sold to Univision, which entered the deal after its then-affiliate in Chicago, WCIU-TV, refused to drop English-language programs from its schedule and become an exclusively Spanish-language programming outlet.

On January 16, 1995, WBFS became a UPN owned-and-operated station at the network's inception. The station continued to refer to itself as "WBFS TV 33" for some time afterward, but soon rebranded as "UPN 33". It had acquired more recent off-network sitcoms in the years following and soon began to add more first-run syndicated talk and reality shows. The station began to cut back on children's programs, such as The Wacky World of Tex Avery, Pokémon, Sailor Moon, Mummies Alive! and DuckTales from 1998 onward. By 2002, the station was only running children's programs during the morning hours.

In 2000, Paramount's parent company Viacom merged with CBS, making WBFS a sister station to CBS owned-and-operated station WFOR-TV, years after that station (as WCIX) shut down the channel 33 translator to make room for WBFS. As a result of the merger, WBFS moved into WFOR's facilities in Doral. When WAMI-TV (channel 69) became a Telefutura owned-and-operated station in January 2002, WBFS picked up a few of WAMI's former shows, including Fox Kids (the block, which was not carried on Fox affiliate WSVN (channel 7), by then was only offered on Saturdays). WBFS continued to run what eventually became 4Kids TV until the block was discontinued by Fox on December 27, 2008. Its successor, Weekend Marketplace, does not air at all in the Miami market. UPN ended its children's block, Disney's One Too, in August 2003. After Viacom split into two companies in December 2005, WBFS came under the ownership of CBS Corporation.

Transition to MyNetworkTV[]

On January 24, 2006, CBS Corporation and Time Warner's Warner Bros. Entertainment division announced that they would dissolve UPN and The WB, and move some of their programming to a newly created network, The CW. The network immediately announced a deal to affiliate with 15 stations owned by Tribune Broadcasting, with that company's WB affiliate WBZL (channel 39, now WSFL-TV) serving as its Miami affiliate. It would not have been an upset had WBFS been chosen as a charter station, however. CW officials were on record as preferring the "strongest" WB and UPN stations for the new network, and Miami–Fort Lauderdale was one of the few markets where the WB and UPN stations both had relatively strong viewership.

On February 22 of that year, News Corporation announced the launch of a new "sixth" network called MyNetworkTV, which would be operated by Fox Television Stations and its syndication division Twentieth Television. Although the service was created to give UPN and WB-affiliated stations that would not be joining The CW an alternate programming option, CBS initially announced on May 1, that WBFS, along with its Boston sister station WSBK-TV, would not join the network. It is believed that CBS's initial decision to deny its larger UPN stations affiliation agreements with MyNetworkTV was in retaliation against Fox for refusing to affiliate any of its UPN affiliates in markets where CBS Corporation or Tribune did not already sign deals to carry The CW with that network. However, on July 12, it was announced that WBFS would become South Florida's MyNetworkTV affiliate. The network debuted on September 5, 2006, and at that point, WBFS changed its on-air branding to "My 33".

TV stations in Florida
WBFS, Miami

WTTA, Tampa
WGFL-DT2, Gainesville
WFOX-DT2, Jacksonville
WECP-LD2, Panama City
WRBW, Orlando
WTCN-CA, Palm Beach

TV stations in South Florida and the Keys, including Miami–Dade, Fort Lauderdale and Key West
WSVN 7 (Fox)
W16CC-D 16 (Cubana)
WDGT-LD 24 (CTN Int'l)
WPXM 35 (Ion)
WCAY-CD 36 (Tourist info)
WSFL 39 (CW)
WJAN-CD 41 (ATeVe)
W43CB-D 43 (Ind)
WFUN-LD 48 (ATeVe)
WAMI-DT 69 (UMas)