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WOFL, virtual channel 35 (UHF digital channel 22), is a Fox owned-and-operated television station licensed to Orlando, Florida, United States. The station is owned by the Fox Television Stations subsidiary of Fox Corporation, as part of a duopoly with MyNetworkTV owned-and-operated station WRBW (channel 65). The two stations share studios on Skyline Drive in Lake Mary; WOFL's transmitter is located in unincorporated Bithlo, Florida.

On cable, the station is available in standard definition on channel 3 on Charter Spectrum, channel 11 on Comcast Xfinity, and channel 35 on CenturyLink Prism, and in high definition on Spectrum and Prism channel 1035, and Xfinity channel 434.

WOFL operates a semi-satellite in Ocala, WOGX (channel 51), which serves the Gainesville television market. This station clears all network programming as provided through its parent station but airs a separate offering of syndicated programming, albeit with separate local commercials and legal station identifications. Master control and most internal operations for WOGX are based at WOFL's studios.

History[]

The channel 35 allocation in Orlando was previously occupied by WSWB, Central Florida's first independent station, which signed on the air on March 31, 1974. Owned by Sun World Broadcasting, WSWB produced children's programming (Uncle Hubie's Penthouse Barnyard), and aired reruns of such shows as Batman, Bugs Bunny, Popeye, Green Acres, Mister Ed and Lost in Space; it was also the first station in central Florida to carry The Benny Hill Show. The 1970s recession impacted the station's operations; Sun World encountered financial difficulties and was forced to file for bankruptcy in January 1976. The station abruptly signed off the air mid-program in May 1977 acting on the order of the U.S. Marshals that ordered the shutdown of the station's transmitter; following a subsequent auction, WSWB's studios would later become the studios for WMFE television (now WUCF-TV) and radio.

Then-unknown media mogul Ted Turner tried to buy the station; however, the attempt failed because of ensuing legal actions. In fact, the station's 44-acre (18 ha) transmitter site was briefly owned by Turner while the tower and broadcasting equipment were tied up in a judgment claim held by Pat Robertson, owner of the Christian Broadcasting Network. As a result, channel 35 remained off the air until the license was granted to a group of investors known as The Omega Group, with the Meredith Corporation owning a non-voting interest. Meredith would be consultants for the station, holding an option to eventually buy out the other partners. The station signed back on the air on October 15, 1979 under its current call letters, WOFL.

Meredith Corporation exercised its option to buy out Omega in 1982. In 1986, the station moved to its current facility in Lake Mary—a major change from the prior studios that were located in a converted bank building in Orlando's adult-entertainment district centered on South Orange Blossom Trail. As the 1980s progressed, WOFL acquired more recent sitcoms, cartoons and movies.

WOFL became one of the Fox Broadcasting Company's charter affiliates at the network's inception on October 9, 1986. The station was frequently ranked as one of the country's leading Fox affiliates during the network's early years, achieving a number one ranking on several occasions through the early 1990s. It was also the most profitable station in Meredith's station group, despite being its only UHF "independent" station at that time. As the 1990s progressed, WOFL offered fewer movies and older shows, and more talk, reality and court shows. As with most Fox stations, WOFL carried children's programming including those from the network's Fox Kids block. Despite having competing independents, WOFL was one of the last remaining Fox affiliates in a major market to retain broadcasting rights to most cartoons syndicated by Disney throughout the 1990s; while this left Orlando without an official The Disney Afternoon lineup (due to Fox Kids competing for those same timeframes in most markets), the station still aired all of the lineup, though out of pattern in other timeslots.

Most of WOFL's programming, including Fox programming, was originally seen in Citrus County on W49AI in the 1980s. The station did not air WOFL's late-night programming, however, as it signed off at midnight. This arrangement continued until WOGX became a Fox affiliate in 1991. In the mid-1990s, WOFL took over the operations of Gainesville's Fox affiliate, Ocala-based WOGX (channel 51), which became a semi-satellite of WOFL.

WOFL, along with KVVU in Las Vegas, were excluded from the 1994 affiliation deal between Meredith and CBS. The two stations were among Fox's strongest affiliates at the time, despite WOFL broadcasting on the UHF band. At the same time, CBS's existing Orlando station, WCPX-TV (channel 6, now WKMG-TV), was one of that network's weaker affiliates, and Fox did not want to move from a UHF outlet to a lower-rated VHF outlet. Meredith briefly owned WCPX for one day in September 1997, following a merger with that station's owner, First Media.

In 2002, Meredith traded WOFL and WOGX to News Corporation's Fox Television Stations Group, and, in return, Meredith received KPTV in Portland, Oregon; the deal was finalized on June 17, 2002, making WOFL a Fox owned-and-operated station, and sister station to then-UPN affiliate WRBW. Fox had acquired WRBW and KPTV several months earlier, when it acquired the United Television station group. This trade protected WOFL's Fox affiliation. After the trade was finalized, WRBW merged its operations with those of WOFL, and moved into WOFL's facility in Lake Mary. WOFL was the only network-owned station in the Orlando/Daytona Beach market during that time as the Chris-Craft purchase effectively stripped WRBW of its status as a UPN O&O. WOFL began airing fewer cartoons on the weekdays in the late 1990s and, in 2002, dropped them altogether during the five-day week when Fox ended its children's programming block and leased the lineup to 4Kids Entertainment under the 4Kids TV brand. Until Fox bought WJZY in Charlotte in 2013, it was also the smallest Fox O&O in the Eastern Time Zone.


TV stations in Florida
WSVN, Miami

WTVT, Tampa
WOGX, Gainesville
WFOX, Jacksonville
WTWC-DT2, Tallahassee
WPGX, Panama City
WOFL, Orlando
WFTX, Fort Myers
WFLX, West Palm Beach

TV stations in East Central Florida and the Space Coast, including Orlando, Daytona Beach and Melbourne
WESH 2 (NBC)
WKMG 6 (CBS)
WFTV 9 (ABC)
WDSC 15 (ETV)
WKCF 18 (CW)
W21AU-D 21 (ATeVe)
WUCF 24 (PBS)
WOTF 26 (UMas)
WRDQ 27 (Ind)
WFEF-LD 28 (Comet)
WRCF-CD 29 (Escape)
WTMO-CD/WKME-CD/WMVJ-CD 31 (TLM)
W32DJ-D 32 (3ABN)
WOFL 35 (Fox)
WZXZ-CD 36 (SSN)
WHDO-CD 38 (Biz)
WVEN 43 (UNI)
WTGL 45 (Rel)
WATV-LD 47 (AZA)
WDTO-LD 50 (Daystar)
WHLV 52 (TBN)
WACX 55 (Rel)
WOPX 56 (Ion)
WRBW 65 (MNTV)
WEFS 68 (ETV)