WFLD airs over forty hours of news every week, along with airing syndicated first run talk/court/reality shows, off-network sitcoms, Fox's primetime network programming, and sports.
Field Enterprises sold controlling interest in WFLD to Kaiser Broadcasting in 1972, and the two companies' new partnership would see WFLD joining Kaiser's stable of UHF independent stations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Cleveland, and Detroit. In 1977, Kaiser ended the partnership by selling its share of the stations back to Field Enterprises.
From the late 1960s to the 1980s, WFLD carried a wide variety of syndicated series, movies, and local public affairs programming. To counter-program against its more established VHF rivals, channel 32 offered documentaries, adult dramas, westerns, and live sports, though for much of the time it trailed WGN-TV (channel 9) in the ratings among Chicago's independent stations until the late 1970s. When it won bids to air shows in syndication such as M*A*S*H, All in the Family, Happy Days, and others, the station finally beat WGN-TV in the ratings, and the two stations continued to go head-to-head throughout the 1980s.
In 1968, WFLD acquired broadcast rights to the Chicago White Sox baseball team from WGN-TV, carrying them initially until 1972, and again from 1982 to 1989. During the 1980s WFLD also aired games of the NBA's Chicago Bulls, until WGN-TV acquired broadcast rights to both teams in 1990 (Chicago-area attorney and real estate investor Jerry Reinsdorf owns both franchises). WFLD was also noteworthy as the longtime home of the local B-movie program Svengoolie. There were two versions of this show; the original began in 1971 as "Screming Yellow Theatre" with local disc jockey Jerry G. Bishop doing scary voices and later wearing a long blond wig and such. Bishop became such a hit with viewers that the show was popularly called "Svengoolie" after his character (although the name didn't change), and this version lasted until 1973. The second version began in 1979 with Rich Koz as "Son Of Svengoolie", and it ran until 1986. The show currently airs on WCIU-TV (channel 26).
In 1983, Field sold WFLD to Metromedia as part of a company-wide liquidation. At that time programming changed slightly but graphics were abruptly changed to reflect the new ownership. Metromedia's television stations, including WFLD, were sold to the News Corporation in 1986, and they formed the core of the new Fox Broadcasting Company. Following the 1986 sale to the new Fox ownership, the station continued to compete aggressively in the market. Now known on-air as Fox 32, the station expanded its news presence as well. Fox's news presence began in 1987 with the premiere of the half-hour "Fox 32 News at 7" (touted as "the news that doesn't get home before you do") along with a half-hour 11:00 PM newscast which lasted until they consolidated both newscasts to compete with then-independent WGN's 9PM newscast. The newscast was moved back to 7:00 PM by the fall of 1988, and returned to 9:00 PM by the fall of 1989, in anticipation of Fox's expanding prime time schedule. Sometime in 1991, the newscast was rebranded its news operation from "Fox 32 News" to "Fox News Chicago" (though most verbal references are to simply "Fox News"). The station started airing a morning newscast first called Good Day Chicago, which later became Fox Thing in the Morning in place of the morning cartoon block.
The afternoon cartoon block, which became Fox Kids by 1992, continued on the station, as well as the top-rated off-network sitcoms in the evening. It also added more first-run talk shows and court shows. When Fox ended the weekday kids block in January 2002, WFLD added more first-run reality and talk shows to the lineup.
In the mid-1990s, after several years of being known on the air as "Fox 32" (or even "Fox Thirty-Two"), the station rebranded itself as "Fox Chicago" because many Chicagoans watch WFLD via cable (Channel 12 or Channel 3 on most area cable systems). Unlike other Fox-owned stations, WFLD does not use the usual Fox mandate of the Fox (Channel Number) branding due to the embarrassment of being the largest Fox station on the UHF dial.
Fox purchased WPWR-TV in 2002, and WPWR's operations were integrated into WFLD's facilities in downtown Chicago.
In January 2003, WFLD dropped the Fox Saturday morning cartoon block, now outsourced by Fox to producer "4 Kids TV", and the programs now air on WPWR in the same four-hour time block. WFLD is the first of the original six Fox-owned stations (owned prior to the New World stations purchase) to drop Fox's Saturday children's programming.
On May 7, 2006, WFLD adopted a new look for its newscasts, featuring a brand new set, new music, and new graphics. Similar appearance packages are also being rolled out to other Fox-owned stations such as WNYW. When the new look debuted, the main station logo wasn't changed much (only the new color scheme was added).
On September 11, 2006, WFLD relaunched its website under the MyFox platform (which was rolled out to other Fox-owned stations throughout 2006), now located at myfoxchicago.com On April 9, 2007, WFLD launched a new 10:00 PM newscast called "the TEN", anchored by David Novarro and former WLS-TV and WBBM-TV anchor/reporter Lauren Cohn which, according to the Chicago Sun-Times' Robert Feder's April 18, 2007 column, beat CBS O&O WBBM-TV's 10PM news on its second day on the air. In September 2007, WFLD's morning newscast "Fox News in the Morning" was re-named "Good Day Chicago" for a second time.
For some time, WFLD's newscasts have had less of a tabloid feel than those on its Fox sisters. However, they are somewhat flashier than the other newscasts in the Chicago market.
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After the analog television shutdown and digital conversion, which is tentatively scheduled to take place on February 17, 2009 , WFLD will continue digital broadcasts on its current pre-transition channel number, 31. However, through the use of PSIP, digital television receivers will display WFLD's virtual channel as 32.