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WUPL, virtual channel 54 (UHF digital channel 24), is a MyNetworkTV-affiliated television station serving New Orleans, Louisiana, United States that is licensed to Slidell. The station is owned by Tegna Inc., as part of a duopoly with New Orleans-licensed CBS affiliate WWL-TV (channel 4). The two stations share studios on Rampart Street in the historic French Quarter district; WUPL's transmitter is located off Behrman Highway in the city's Algiers neighborhood. On cable, the station is available on Cox Communications channel 2 and Charter Spectrum channel 16.

HistoryEdit

As a UPN affiliateEdit

The station first signed on the air on June 1, 1995, as an affiliate of the United Paramount Network (UPN). It was owned by Texas broadcaster Larry Safir via his company, Middle America Communications. Safir also owned Univision affiliate KNVO in the Rio Grande Valley. Prior to the station's sign-on, WHNO (channel 20) was approached by UPN for an affiliation, though WHNO's owner LeSEA Broadcasting declined all netlet offers on their stations through the country, as the programming planned for both UPN and competitor The WB conflicted with the company's core programming values; as a result, programming from UPN, which launched on January 16, 1995, was only available on New Orleans-area cable and satellite providers through New York City-based national superstation WWOR for the 5½ months prior to WUPL's debut. Along with programming from UPN, the station ran a general entertainment format, offering vintage off-network sitcoms, talk shows, court shows and other syndicated programs. In 1996, Safir entered a deal with Cox Enterprises to take over operations of the station, and in 1997, he sold the station to the Paramount Stations Group subsidiary of Viacom; as a result, WUPL became a UPN owned-and-operated station (Viacom launched UPN in a programming partnership with Chris-Craft Industries/United Television, and acquired a 50% interest in the network from Chris-Craft/United in 1996).

Viacom merged with CBS in 2000. Despite Viacom's ownership of WUPL, the market's CBS affiliation remained on WWL-TV (channel 4), the highest-rated television station in New Orleans and CBS' strongest affiliate for over 20 years. Viacom briefly considered buying WWL-TV, in which it would create a duopoly with WUPL. However, after Belo Corporation turned down Viacom's offer to buy the station, Viacom decided instead to sell WUPL to Belo in July 2005 for $14.5 million.

As a MyNetworkTV affiliateEdit

On January 24, 2006, Time Warner and CBS Corporation (the latter of which took over WUPL and UPN after Viacom split into two companies one month earlier) announced that both companies would partner to launch The CW, which would replace The WB and UPN; the network, which debuted on September 18, 2006, would feature a mix of programs carried over from its two predecessor networks as well as newer series. The day of the announcement of the network's formation, Tribune Broadcasting signed a ten-year agreement to affiliate the network with 16 of the group's 19 WB affiliates; as a result, WNOL-TV (channel 38) was announced as The CW's New Orleans affiliate.

Three weeks later, on February 9, CBS filed a lawsuit against Belo Corporation over the failure to finalize the sale of WUPL to Belo. The deal was slated to close by the end of 2005, but was placed on hold when Hurricane Katrina devastated the New Orleans metropolitan area in late August of that year. Though the lawsuit provided some doubt as to its future affiliation, on July 12, 2006, it was announced that WUPL would become an affiliate of MyNetworkTV. Since News Corporation owns Fox and MyNetworkTV, CBS originally relented on allowing any of its UPN affiliates to affiliate with the new network because The CW did not affiliate with any of News Corporation's UPN stations (CBS and Time Warner instead chose Tribune and CBS Television Stations as The CW's core station groups, with Tribune getting affiliations in the three largest markets of New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago among other markets, along with Tribune's WNOL-TV in New Orleans).

On February 26, 2007, Belo announced that it would go forward with the purchase of WUPL from CBS. A Belo press release also said the sale—which had already received FCC approval—"settles litigation between Belo and CBS over the purchase that arose after Hurricane Katrina." At that time, Belo closed on WUPL, and later acquired its low-power repeater, WBXN-CA (channel 18; previously a separate station, K10NG, affiliated with The Box and later MTV2) on April 20, 2007. Before then, WUPL was one of two television stations in New Orleans at the time that whose ownership held interest in a major network (the other was former WB affiliate WNOL-TV, owned by that network's part-owner, the Tribune Company), and the only one to be a network owned-and-operated station.

In mid-April 2007, Belo moved WUPL's operations into WWL-TV's facility on Rampart Street. On June 13, 2013, the Gannett Company announced that it would acquire Belo for $1.5 billion. The sale was completed on December 23.

On June 29, 2015, the Gannett Company split in two, with one side specializing in print media and the other side specializing in broadcast and digital media. WWL and WUPL were retained by the latter company, named Tegna. As of the start of April 2018, WUPL now has a similar logo to that of WWL's, due to Tegna's company-wide redesign of its graphical imaging, and the MyNetworkTV branding is completely played down, bringing it in line with Tegna's other two MyNetworkTV affiliates.


TV stations in Louisiana
WUPL, Slidell

KNOE-DT3, Monroe
WBXH-CD, Baton Rouge
KADN-DT3, Lafayette
KSHV, Shreveport
KWWE-LD, Lake Charles

TV stations in Greater New Orleans
WWL 4 (CBS)
WDSU 6 (NBC)
WVUE 8 (Fox)
WYES 12 (PBS)
WHNO 20 (CTN)
WTNO-LP 22 (AZA)
WGNO 26 (ABC)
KNLD-LD 28 (Daystar)
KFOL-CD 30 (Ind)
WLAE 32 (ETV)
WQDT-LD 34 (Buzzr)
WNOL 38 (CW)
KNOV-CD 41 (Info)
KGLA 42 (TLM)
K47JO-D 47 (HSN2)
WPXL 49 (Ion)
WUPL 54 (MNTV)
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