KTXL, channel 40, is a Fox Broadcasting Company-affiliated television station in Sacramento, California, owned by the Tribune Company. KTXL's studio and offices are located in South Sacramento, and its transmitter is near Walnut Grove, California.
The channel 40 frequency in Sacramento was first occupied in September of 1953 by KCCC-TV, affiliated with all four television networks: ABC, CBS, NBC and the DuMont Television Network. KCCC's first broadcast was the 1953 World Series. The station became a primary ABC affiliate by 1955, after KCRA-TV and KBET-TV (now KXTV) signed on; and dropped DuMont after that network folded in 1956. It was the Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto area's first television station. However, as a UHF station, it suffered in the ratings because TV sets were not required to have UHF tuning until 1964. Although its fate was sealed when the first VHF stations signed on in the area, it managed to hang on until 1957. The ABC affiliation moved to KOVR after KCCC signed off when an agreement was made between KCCC-TV and KOVR to merge operations and end KCCC programming.
KCCC (now off air) was then sold to a group of broadcasters who would return the station to the air in 1959 as KVUE, broadcasting from studios near the old California state fairgrounds off Stockton Boulevard. The station operated for about six months before falling silent again. That was the end of the original channel 40 license.
Camellia City Telecasters, a group headed by Jack Matranga, former owner and co-founder of KGMS radio in Sacramento applied for a license to operate channel 40. On October 26, 1968 KTXL signed on, operating as an independent station for nearly the first two decades of its existence. It was then known as TV 40. The station gained a huge advantage early on when its original owner won the local syndicated rights to a massive number of movies, including classic and contemporary films. At one point, it had one of the largest film libraries in the Sacramento area. In addition, KTXL ventured into in-house productions, such as the children's program "Captain Mitch" and "Big Time Wrestling". The latter show aired until 1979, and was syndicated to several stations in California, Utah, Alaska and Hawaii. Channel 40 was one of the few stations to hold syndicated rights to the entire Merrie Melodies/Looney Tunes cartoon libraries (up until recently, different companies held different components of the cartoon output). KTXL offered Japanese cartoons dubbed into English including Speed Racer, Marine Boy, Ultraman and Star Blazers.
In 1974, KTXL became the first area station to air a 10pm newscast (originally only five days a week, and later seven days a week--the station's news history is noted below under Newscasts), and in 1977 began a summer tradition by showcasing some of the greatest films ever made in annual "Summer Film Festivals".
In 1981, channel 40 made television history by showing the 1978 movie The Deer Hunter (and later many other movies) uncut and unedited, complete with objectionable material--this kind of policy has been tightened somewhat in succeeding years.
All of this made KTXL one of the leading independent stations in the West. It also attained regional-superstation status via land-microwave relay to nearly every cable system north of the Bay Area, as well as several cable systems in Oregon,Montana and Nevada.
KTXL has long been known for ending a program or movie before the closing credits, and viewers should know this is not the way these shows/films were intended to be seen.
KTXL started broadcasting from its new 2000-foot "Monster Tower" in October 1985, significantly increasing its signal strength and adding stereo capability. Initially, the station would only turn on the stereo signal during stereo programming. This sometimes resulted in the staff forgetting to turn it on right at the beginning of a stereo program.
In 1986, KTXL became a charter affiliate of the newly-formed Fox Broadcasting Company. In the following year, Camellia City Telecasters sold KTXL to Renaissance Broadcasting. Today, KTXL (now and currently known as Fox 40) continues as a Fox affiliate. Its nightly newscasts follow a "hard-edged" format (with crime stories among its headlines), while following the lead of many ten o'clock newscasts by reserving its sportscasts for the final segment (in an attempt to lure many viewers to all-night cable sports channels such as ESPN and Fox Sports Net for further sports coverage). Most Fox affiliates, since the mid-1990's, would evolve their daytime programming lineup by leaning away from classic sitcoms and cartoons toward a talk show format. KTXL is among a few stations to be an exception to this: the daytime lineup is still filled with sitcoms to this day (Even KTXL is still holding syndication rights to The Andy Griffith Show after many decades, though many shows from the 80s and 90s air currently), but a few talk shows and reality/court shows were known to fill the lineup. In place of 40's own children's lineup after Captain Mitch's retirement, the station aired Fox Kids until the network eliminated the lineup in 2002.
KTXL became a Tribune-owned station when the company purchased Renaissance Broadcasting in 1997. When the station's new owners took over, they bulk-erased a lot of old locally-produced programming, and threw all the 16 mm film in the dumpster. Most of the film was rescued by collectors though.
In the summer of 2005, KTXL debuted the Fox 40 Morning News, which runs from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. opposite KMAX's Good Day Sacramento, and the first hour of KQCA's morning newscast. On September 8, 2008, KTXL reformatted Fox 40 Morning News to Fox 40 Live; expanded the broadcast to 4.5 hours (4:30-9am); hired well-known former Sacramento morning radio personality Paul Robins as presenter; and introduced a new news set adorned with flat-screens and an accompanying kitchen set. KTXL joins KCRA and KMAX with 4:30am newscasts.
KTXL now competes at 10:00 p.m. with KOVR and the KCRA-produced half-hour news program on KQCA. Channel 40 tops the ratings in "demos", and often comes in first or second in overall viewership at 10pm. On September 8, 2008, longtime KCAL-TV-KCBS-TV Los Angeles anchor-reporter Jaime Garza joined Donna Cordova as co-anchor of the weeknight "Fox 40 News At Ten."