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KRIV, virtual and UHF digital channel 26, is a Fox owned-and-operated television station licensed to Houston, Texas, 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 KTXH (channel 20). The two stations share studios on Southwest Freeway in Houston (between the Uptown and Greenway Plaza districts); KRIV's transmitter is located near Missouri City, Texas, in unincorporated northeastern Fort Bend County.
|Branding||Fox 26 (general)|
Fox 26 News (newscasts)
|Slogan||Your Station for Life|
|Channels||Digital: 26 (UHF)|
Virtual: 26 (PSIP)
|Owner||Fox Television Stations, LLC|
|First air date||August 15, 1971|
|Call letters' meaning||Albert KRIVin|
(former executive of former parent company, Metromedia)
|Former channel number(s)|
|Former affiliations||Independent (1971–1986)|
|Transmitter power||1000 kW|
|Height||598 m (1,962 ft)|
|Public license information||Profile|
The station first signed on the air on August 15, 1971 as KVRL, operating as an independent station. It was the third UHF television station in Houston, after KHTV (channel 39, now KIAH) and KVVV-TV (channel 16, which lasted only for 18 months). Four years after signing on, in 1975, the station's call letters were changed to KDOG—a callsign chosen by former station general manager Leroy Gloger. Another former general manager, Jerry Marcus commented (upon his retirement) that he saw the calls appropriate during the station's formative years as, in his words, channel 26 was a "dogged station" ratings-wise. The station's slogan during this timeframe was "Where every dog has his day." During this period, the station aired English-language general entertainment programming including old cartoons, sitcoms, and classic movies during the daytime hours, along with Spanish-language programs including telenovelas, movies and serial drama series at night. For its first two decades on the air, channel 26 operated from studio facilities located at 3935 Westheimer Road in Houston's Highland Village section, which is now the site of an H-E-B Central Market.
Acquisition by MetromediaEdit
In May 1978, Metromedia purchased the station and changed its call letters to the current KRIV-TV, named in honor of then-Metromedia executive Albert Krivin. Jerry Marcus, general sales manager of Metromedia's Washington, D.C. station WTTG, was hired to manage channel 26's operations, remaining there until his retirement in December 1999. This influx of dollars from Metromedia's investment in the station resulted in KRIV acquiring higher-profile syndicated programs and by 1983, the establishment of its news department. The station ran a general entertainment format complete with cartoons, sitcoms, movies, first-run syndicated shows, locally produced talk shows and one of the few Spanish-language public affairs programs on television at the time. Overall, the station's viewership ranked near KHTV, a more well-established outlet, over the years.
As a Fox owned-and-operated stationEdit
In 1986, Australian newspaper tycoon Rupert Murdoch purchased KRIV and the other five television stations in the Metromedia group, all of which became the founding owned-and-operated stations of his new television network, the Fox Broadcasting Company; upon the change in ownership, the station officially dropped the "-TV" suffix from its callsign. The acquisition resulted in channel 26 and the other former Metromedia stations to suddenly adopt a more sophisticated on-air appearance for a network, that at the time, did not exist. A unified music and graphics package was featured on all of the original Fox-owned stations, including KRIV, which was consistently noted for featuring graphics that were among the first of their kind for local television. The station changed its on-air branding to the current "Fox 26" upon the network's October 9, 1986 launch. Despite being a member of the new network, KRIV's schedule wouldn't change that much, as at that time, Fox only aired a late-night talk show upon the network's launch; even when primetime programming followed in 1987, the network initially aired the lineup on Saturdays and Sundays. Fox continued to gradually add additional nights of programming over the next six years until it went seven days a week in 1993. Over that seven-year wait, KRIV was still essentially a de facto independent station.
As a Fox owned-and-operated station, KRIV acquired more first-run syndicated programming. Upon adding its weekday morning newscast in 1993, KRIV removed its morning cartoon block, although it continued to run afternoon children's programming from Fox Kids until the network discontinued that block's weekday lineup nationwide in the end of 2001. It should also be noted that, from the 1993–1994 period when Fox acquired the rights to carry the NFC package from CBS as well as more VHF outlets to accommodate this (resulting in affiliation switches through New World Communications), KRIV is the longest serving Fox O&O not to be located in an NFC market (the Houston Texans are a member of the AFC; however, since their founding in 2002, the station does air at least two Texans games a year, when the team plays host to an NFC team at NRG Stadium, or, beginning in 2014, with the institution of 'cross-flex' rules, games that are arbitrarily moved from KHOU to KRIV).
In 1997, KRIV moved from its original Westheimer Road studios to a state-of-the-art digital facility near the Southwest Freeway (the former studio facilities currently house a Central Market food store, owned by the grocery chain H-E-B). and upgraded the look of its newscasts with the debut of a brand new set, graphics, news theme ("The Edge" by VU Music, now Cue11) and a new multi-paned rectangle logo similar to those implemented by other Fox-owned stations following the network's 1994 affiliation agreement with New World Communications.
With this upgraded presence in Houston, channel 26 went from outperforming former independents KTXH and KHWB (the former KHTV, now KIAH) to regularly challenging the market's Big Three stations–NBC affiliate KPRC-TV (channel 2), CBS affiliate KHOU-TV (channel 11) and ABC-owned KTRK-TV (channel 13)–in the ratings. During this time KRIV's studios also became a taping location for various syndicated programs produced by 20th Television, including the court shows Texas Justice, Cristina's Court and Judge Alex. In mid-August 2006, channel 26's website adopted the MyFox website design originally designed by Fox Interactive Media; this technically marked the station's first serious online venture in a number of years, as the station's previous 2001-era website served as somewhat of a placeholder and contained little station information.
On December 14, 2017, The Walt Disney Company, owner of ABC's owned-and-operated station KTRK-TV (channel 13), announced its intent to buy KRIV's parent company, 21st Century Fox, for $66.1 billion; the sale, which closed on March 20, 2019, excluded KRIV and sister station KTXH as well as the Fox network, the MyNetworkTV programming service and the Fox Television Stations unit, which were all transferred to the newly-formed Fox Corporation.
The station's digital channel is multiplexed:
|Channel||Video||Aspect||PSIP Short Name||Programming|
|26.1||720p||16:9||KRIV-DT||Main KRIV programming / Fox|
Unlike most Fox owned-and-operated stations, KRIV has been reluctant to multiplex its digital channel in large part due to its ownership of KTXH which carries Movies!, Decades and Buzzr on its subchannels. It would not multiplex its signal until the December 22, 2016 launch of Light TV, owned by MGM Television, Hearst Communications and the husband-and-wife team of Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, which airs religious- and family-themed programming.
KRIV discontinued regular programming on its analog signal, over UHF channel 26, on June 12, 2009, as part of the federally mandated transition from analog to digital television. The station's digital signal relocated from its pre-transition UHF channel 27 to channel 26 for post-transition operations.
As a Fox owned-and-operated station (in fact, one of the network's charter O&Os), KRIV has cleared the entire Fox primetime lineup and largely without interruption. Outside of network and local programming (including news programming), syndicated programming on KRIV includes Judge Judy, The Wendy Williams Show, The Real, Steve, Dish Nation and TMZ (including its live counterpart).
Since the launch of Fox's sports division, KRIV has aired all Fox Sports productions. Currently, its sports offerings include select Big 12 Conference football games, plus at least two Houston Texans games each season (primarily when playing an NFC opponent at NRG Stadium, and since 2014, via the NFL's new 'cross-flex' broadcast rules, Texans games involving an AFC opponent that are moved over from KHOU). The station was also involved with Houston's previous NFL team, the Oilers for three seasons, from 1994 to 1996. Through Fox's Major League Baseball contract, it has carried both World Series featuring the Houston Astros in 2005 and 2017, the latter giving the Astros their first World Series title. It also airs any Saturday afternoon games that involve the Astros.
KRIV presently broadcasts 54 hours of locally produced newscasts each week (with 9 hours on weekdays, 5 hours on Saturdays and 4 hours on Sundays); in regards to the number of hours devoted to news programming, it is the highest newscast output of any television station in the Houston market. As is standard with Fox stations that carry early evening weekend newscasts, KRIV's Saturday and Sunday 5:00 p.m. newscasts are subject to preemption due to network sports telecasts that are scheduled to overlap into the timeslot. Outside of regular news programming, KRIV also carries The Isiah Factor: Uncensored, a news and discussion program hosted by KRIV reporter/anchor Isiah Carey, weeknights following its 10 p.m. newscast, and the political talk program What's Your Point?, hosted by KRIV reporter Greg Groogan, at 7:00 a.m. on Sunday mornings before the national broadcast of Fox News Sunday.
Throughout KRIV's history, news has been an important element of the station's programming. From its 1971 launch until the 1983 formation of its news department, KRIV ran hourly local news updates during regular programming. These updates gave way to the 1983 launch of KRIV's 9 p.m. newscast, the first primetime newscast in the Houston market, eventually moving to 7 p.m. by 1986 before moving back to 9 p.m. by 1989. In addition, the station also launched an investigative unit in 1987 and launched City Under Siege, which primarily aired at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday nights with a focus on crime-related news and investigative segments (at a time when Houston was dealing with an uptick in crime during the 1980s oil glut which greatly affected the region's economy) and was originally hosted by anchors Jim Marsh and Fran Fawcett. One of Fox's early standout hit series, Cops, was in part influenced by City Under Siege which therefore could be considered a predecessor of Cops. During the early 1990s, KRIV launched a midday newscast at 12:30 p.m., and in 1993 joined several other Fox-owned stations in launching a weekday morning newscast -- with KRIV doing so with a one-hour newscast at 7 a.m. (and filling a void in the market following ABC-owned KTRK's decision to clear Good Morning America in its entirety, resulting in its 7 a.m. half-hour newscast being moved to 6 a.m.).
Following its relocation to its current studios, KRIV began to upgrade its on-air presentation and resources, coinciding with the launch of Fox News and its satellite news service Fox NewsEdge, and began utilizing its own news helicopter, SkyFox (whose original incarnation crashed in 2000 killing its pilot) during this time. By 2001, KRIV began to gradually expand its news offerings, starting with an expansion of its morning newscast at 6 a.m. and expanding its 12:30 p.m. newscast to one hour at noon. The noon broadcast would eventually be truncated to a half-hour at 12:30 p.m., while its morning newscast expanded by two additional hours on both ends, eventually airing from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. On August 18, 2008, KRIV debuted an hour-long weeknight 5 p.m. newscast that competes against its competitors' local 5 p.m. newscasts as well as their respective network affiliates' national newscasts at 5:30 p.m.
On January 31, 2009, KRIV became the fourth television station in Houston (behind KHOU, KTRK-TV and KPRC) to begin broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition; with the transition came the adoption of a new high-definition version of the standardized graphics package used on Fox's owned-and-operated stations. KRIV would further expand its morning newscast on both ends in the 2009-10 television season, adding a less formal 9 a.m. extension of its morning newscast (titled Fox 26 Morning News Extra) on September 7, 2009, followed by another expansion of its morning newscast to 4 a.m. on March 29, 2010. With this move, KRIV not only became the first (and so far only) station in Houston to air a morning newscast in the full 4 a.m. hour (versus its competitors' 4:30 a.m. newscast), but it also became the first Fox-owned station to start their morning newscasts at 4 a.m.
On July 7, 2012, KRIV significantly expanded its news offerings on weekends beyond its one primetime hour, debuting a three-hour weekend morning newscast from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. and expanding its hour-long 5 p.m. newscast to the weekends for a total of eight additional hours of news on the weekends. Prior to the launch of the new newscasts, KRIV was one of only two Fox-owned stations – alongside Chicago sister station WFLD – that did not have an early evening newscast seven nights each week. On August 21, 2017, KRIV launched a 10 p.m. weeknight newscast titled The NewsEdge at 10, which emphasizes a recap format similar to the "10 at 10" format used by many stations across the country, as well as additional light feature segments towards the end of the broadcast. The launch of The NewsEdge, which notably became dominated during its launch week by coverage of Hurricane Harvey, would also be coupled with the expansion of The Isiah Factor, originally a special segment within its 9 p.m. newscast focused on news and political topics hosted by KRIV reporter/anchor Isiah Carey, to a permanent spot at 10:30 p.m. as The Isiah Factor: Uncensored. KRIV has since marketed its primetime newscast block as the Fox 26 Power Block.
On September 24, 2018, KRIV rebranded the first three hours of its weekday morning newscast from 4 a.m. to 7 a.m. as Wake Up! with SallyMac & Lina, with longtime KRIV reporter/anchor Sally MacDonald and new hire Lina De Florias (who would join the station from KTVK/KPHO-TV in Phoenix) serving as the namesake anchors, and featuring a format similar to that of its 10 p.m. newscast. On January 21, 2019, KRIV would rebrand the latter three hours of its morning newscast from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. (which retained its existing format) as Houston's Morning Show. Anchored by longtime morning anchors Jose Grinan and Melissa Wilson and targeting a straightforward local approach, the newscast competes directly with network morning shows on KPRC, KHOU and KTRK as well as Morning Dose on CW affiliate KIAH.
For years, KRIV has touted its newscasts as the fastest growing in the Houston area ratings, and as of 2019 airs the only primetime newscast in the Houston market. Throughout the years, its strongest competition in primetime outside of network programming on KPRC, KHOU and KTRK has been from KIAH as well as all-news independent KNWS (channel 51, now KYAZ), with even future sister station KTXH at one point having considered launching a newscast in the early 1990s. KTXH's plans would eventually be shelved as KIAH (then known as KHTV) canceled its newscasts by the fall of 1992 while KNWS (which launched in 1993) began to wind down its news operations gradually by the end of the 1990s. KRIV would not gain competition in primetime until 2000 when KHTV (which became KHWB by this time) relaunched its news department, followed by the 2002 launch of News 24 Houston, an all-news cable channel owned by Time Warner Cable and KHOU parent company Belo. News 24 Houston would shut down in 2004 after Belo pulled out of their partnership with Time Warner (who eventually sold its Houston cable operations to Comcast in 2006), while KIAH retooled its newscasts in 2011 under a newsreel-style format entitled NewsFix that lasted until 2018. In terms of demographics, KRIV's newscasts usually perform well among younger viewers 25-35, which long has also been the key audience for KRIV and the Fox network.
Notable current on-air news staffEdit
Notable former on-air staffEdit
- "Disney Buys Big Chunk Of Fox In $66.1B Deal". TVNewsCheck. December 14, 2017. Retrieved December 15, 2017.
- "Murdoch: New Fox Interested In More Stations". TVNewsCheck. December 14, 2017. Retrieved December 14, 2017.
- RabbitEars TV Query for KRIV
- List of Digital Full-Power Stations Archived 2013-08-29 at the Wayback Machine
- CDBS Print
- In Houston, KRIV Adding Weekend Newscasts, TVSpy, June 15, 2012.
- Mcguff, Mike (2018-09-23). "'Wake Up! With SallyMac & Lina' debuts Monday on FOX 26 KRIV". mikemcguff.com. Retrieved 2019-07-02.
- "Vietnamese-American reporters shine in the US". 9 July 2012. Retrieved 13 March 2013.
- "Hank Plante bio". Archived from the original on 4 January 2014. Retrieved 13 March 2013.