WFBN continued this format until early 1984, when it dropped Spectrum in favor of music videos 24/7. By the fall of 1984, WFBN dropped the music videos and refilled the schedule with off-network classic sitcoms, dramas, movies, and religious shows. Grant Broadcasting bought WFBN in fall 1985 and changed its call letters to WGBO-TV in January 1986, adopting the moniker of "Super 66."
In January 1986, WGBO added a few more off-network sitcoms and a couple of kids shows. It also added a lot of westerns. The station also adopted a very slick on-air look, using CGI graphics of near-network quality. Sister stations WGBS-TV in Philadelphia and WBFS-TV in Miami adopted a similar look, even though it was run somewhat more cheaply than its two sisters. Grant had ambitions of turning his three stations into regional superstations.
Unfortunately, when WGBO tried to get more barter programming, it found the shelves were picked clean by WGN-TV, WFLD and WPWR-TV. The bargain product was picked clean by WPWR. Ratings were always very low on this station and did not go up under Grant's ownership. Grant also could not compete against the two established independent stations and was not even able to compete against WPWR (even with all the low budget shows WPWR had along with lots of barter shows). There simply wasn't enough programming to go around, even in a market as large as Chicago.
By the end of 1986, Grant was so badly overextended that it filed Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. While the other two stations kept similar formats with fewer shows, WGBO added a lot of infomercials, religion, and other paid programs. WGBO did hold on to some entertainment shows. Ratings did not deteriorate, but they were very low to begin with.
In 1989, WGBO (along with its sister stations) went into receivership. A group of creditors called Combined Broadcasting took over the stations. In the early 1990s, WGBO added some barter cartoons and sitcoms that other stations passed on or dropped previously. Finally, in 1994, in a group deal Combined Broadcasting sold WGBS (now WPSG and WBFS to the Paramount Stations Group (who sold its original Philadelphia station, WTXF-TV, to News Corporation), and WGBO to Univision. WCIU-TV had been affiliated with Univision for many years, but still aired some English-language programming. When Univision asked it to drop those shows, WCIU refused, hence Univision's purchase of WGBO and WCIU's switch to general-market programming for the first time in its history.
Univision took ownership of Channel 66 in January 1995. The station retained the WGBO call letters, but immediately switched to Spanish programming. WCIU picked up most of WGBO's general entertainment shows, but reruns of "Beverly Hills 90210" continued to run, in English, on Sunday nights for a few months after the Univision buyout.
WGBO-TV will be one of only two Chicago market full-power television stations (the other being WYCC) to broadcast from the top of the John Hancock Center when the DTV transition is complete. All of the other area stations will broadcast from the top of the Sears Tower.
Combined Communications and Chris-Craft Industries terminated negotiations over the sale of Combined's WBFS-TV Miami and WGBO-TV Chicago. (Florida; Illinois) (Brief Article)
Sep 27, 1993; Combined Communications and Chris-Craft Industries terminated negotiations over the sale of Combine's WBFS-TV Miami and...
Univision Television Group. (plans to acquire WGBO-TV in Joliet, Illinois for $35 million plus working capital) (Brief Article)
May 16, 1994; Spanish-format broadcaster Univision Television Group is buying WEBO-TV Joliet, III. (Chicago), from Combined Broadcasting for...