|Predecessor||Allen B. DuMont Laboratories|
DuMont Broadcasting Corporation
Metropolitan Broadcasting Corporation
|Founded||1931as Allen B. DuMont Labs|
|Defunct||1997(as a media company)|
|Fate||Sold off. Corporate name continues as owner of MetroMedia Technologies.|
|Successor||Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (content library)|
Fox Television Stations (broadcast stations)
|Headquarters||New York City|
|John W. Kluge, founder/chairman/CEO
Stuart Subotnick, Current President/CEOWilliam Ishida, President/CEO Metromedia Technologies, Inc.
|Products||television, radio, entertainment, advertising|
The Samuel Goldwyn Company
Motion Picture Corporation of America
Metropolitan Broadcasting Corporation
Metromedia (also often MetroMedia) was an American media company that owned radio and television stations in the United States from 1956 to 1986 and controlled Orion Pictures from 1988 to 1997. Metromedia was established in 1956 after the DuMont Television Network ceased operations and its owned-and-operated stations were spun off into a separate company. Metromedia sold its television stations to News Corporation in 1985 (which News Corp. then used to form the nucleus of Fox Television Stations), and spun off its radio stations into a separate company in 1986. Metromedia then acquired ownership stakes in various film studios, including controlling ownership in Orion. In 1997, Metromedia closed down and sold its media assets to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
The company arose from the ashes of the DuMont Television Network, the world's first commercial television network. DuMont had been in economic trouble throughout its existence, and was seriously undermined when ABC accepted a buyout offer from United Paramount Theaters in 1953. The ABC-UPT deal gave ABC the resources to operate a national television service along the lines of CBS and NBC. DuMont officials quickly realized the ABC-UPT deal put their network on life support, and agreed in principle to merge with ABC. However, it was forced to back out of the deal when minority owner Paramount Pictures raised antitrust concerns. UPT had only spun off from Paramount four years earlier, and there were still doubts about whether the two companies were really separate.
By 1955, DuMont realized it could not compete against the other three networks and decided to wind down its operations. Soon after DuMont formally shut down network service in 1956, the parent firm DuMont Laboratories spun off the network's two remaining owned and operated stations, WABD in New York City and WTTG in Washington, D.C., to shareholders as the DuMont Broadcasting Corporation. The company's headquarters were co-located with WABD in the former DuMont Tele-Centre (which was later renamed the Metromedia Telecenter) in New York.
In 1957, DuMont Broadcasting purchased two New York area radio stations, WNEW (now WBBR) and WHFI (later WNEW-FM and WWFS), and later that year changed its name to the Metropolitan Broadcasting Corporation to distance itself from its former parent company. The following year, Paramount sold its shares in Metropolitan Broadcasting to Washington-based investor John Kluge, enough to give Kluge controlling interest. Kluge installed himself as chairman, and later increased his holdings to 75 percent. WABD's call letters were later changed to WNEW-TV to match its new radio sisters.
Metropolitan Broadcasting's first acquisitions included WHK-AM-FM in Cleveland (in 1958); the Foster & Kleiser outdoor advertising firm (in 1959); and KOVR in Stockton, California, Benedict Gimbel Jr.-owned WIP-AM-FM in Philadelphia, WTVH-TV (now WHOI) in Peoria, Illinois, and WTVP television (now WAND) in Decatur, Illinois (all in 1960). In 1961 Metropolitan purchased KMBC-AM-TV in Kansas City, Missouri. Later that year the company's name was changed to Metromedia; the Metropolitan Broadcasting name was retained for its broadcasting division until 1967.
In separate 1963 deals the company expanded into Los Angeles, buying first KTTV and later KLAC and the original KLAC-FM (now KIIS-FM). The company would later engineer a swap of FM facilities; the second KLAC-FM (later KMET and now KTWV) was established in 1965. Metromedia also entered the realm of live entertainment by purchasing the Ice Capades (in 1963) and the Harlem Globetrotters (in 1967). Later in the decade Metromedia opened a television production center in Los Angeles, known as Metromedia Square, which served as the studio facility for numerous network programs. Metromedia also owned a TV production and distribution company called Metromedia Producers Corporation (MPC), established in 1968 from Wolper Productions. MPC produced and syndicated various programs and TV movies, most notably the game show Truth or Consequences and the 1972-86 version of The Merv Griffin Show. Metromedia spent the 1970s and the first half of the 1980s increasing its television and radio station portfolio, and continued to expand its syndication business. In 1976, it teamed up with MTM Enterprises to launch a first-run syndicated variety show.
Metromedia entered the record business in 1969 with the launch of the Metromedia Records label, whose biggest-selling artist was Bobby Sherman. The label was also notable as having issued the first two studio albums of Peter Allen, Peter Allen (1971) and Tenterfield Saddler (1972). The label was closed in 1974. Allen's Tenterfield Saddler, the title song of which has become an Australian standard, was acquired and reissued by A&M Records in 1978.
In 1976, similar to the more successful SFM Holiday Network of syndicated stations launched two years later, Metromedia teamed up with Ogilvy and Mather for a proposed linking of independent TV stations termed MetroNet. The proposed programming would consist of several Sunday night family dramas, on weeknights a half-hour serial and a gothic series similar to Dark Shadows, and on Saturdays a variety program hosted by Charo. The plans for MetroNet failed when advertisers balked at Metromedia's advertising rate, which was only slightly lower than the Big Three's and low national coverage, leaving for another similar operation, Operation Prime Time. In 1979, Metromedia Producers Corporation had also reached a deal with Bob Stewart Productions for an exclusive co-producing agreement.
In 1982, Metromedia made its biggest broadcasting purchase when it acquired WCVB-TV in Boston for $220 million, which at the time was the largest amount ever spent on a single television station property. Two years later, John Kluge bought out Metromedia's shareholders and took the company private.
Also around this time, Metromedia attempted to bring to the air a national newscast for independent stations (much as the rival Tribune Company had created Independent Network News in 1980), planned for launch in the fall of 1983; the company attempted to hire Charles Kuralt away from CBS News to serve as anchor. Kuralt chose to stay to with CBS; John Hart was also considered as an anchor, but ultimately the planned newscast never came to fruition.
On May 4, 1985, Kluge announced the sale of Metromedia's television stations, and Metromedia Producers Corp., to News Corporation (owned by Australian newspaper publisher Rupert Murdoch) and 20th Century Fox Film Corporation (owned jointly by Murdoch and Marvin Davis) for $3.5 billion. With the exception of WCVB-TV (which was subsequently sold to the Hearst Corporation), all of the former Metromedia stations formed the nucleus of the Fox Broadcasting Company (which began operations on October 9, 1986), while MPC was folded into 20th Century Fox Television. The transactions became official on March 6, 1986. Because of these transactions, and the fact that Metromedia was originally spun off from the DuMont Television Network, radio personality Clarke Ingram has suggested that the Fox network is a revival or at least a linear descendant of DuMont.
Kluge also sold Metromedia's outdoor advertising firm, the Harlem Globetrotters, and the Ice Capades in 1985, sold Metromedia Records to Tom Ficara and Combined Artists, and spun off the radio stations into a separate company (which took on the Metropolitan Broadcasting name) citation needed][
In retaliation for a lawsuit brought by Paul Winchell, who sought the rights to his children's television program Winchell-Mahoney Time, which was produced at KTTV in Los Angeles during the mid-1960s, it is believed that KTTV management destroyed the program's video tapes. In 1989 Winchell was awarded nearly $18 million as compensation for Metromedia's capricious behavior.
In 1983, Christine Craft, a former evening news co-anchor at KMBC-TV in Kansas City, sued Metromedia on claims of fraud and sexual discrimination. After spending eight months at KMBC-TV in 1981, she was demoted to reporting assignment after a focus group study claimed Craft was "too old, too unattractive and not deferential to men" in the eyes of viewers. Craft declined the reassignment and subsequently resigned from the station. Craft initially won her case, though she lost on appeal at the U.S. Supreme Court.
On May 22, 1986, Metromedia acquired a 6.5% stake in Orion Pictures Corporation; a movie and television studio. By December, the stake in Orion's ownership was increased to 9.3% to 12.6% and on April 12, 1988, to 44.1% On May 20, 1988, Metromedia acquired Sumner Redstone's share for $78 million, holding a majority stake in Orion Pictures worth nearly 67%. In 1995, Kluge merged Orion, MCEG Sterling (producer of the Look Who's Talking series), the holding company Actava, and Metromedia into a new Metromedia. In 1996, Metromedia acquired Motion Picture Corporation of America and The Samuel Goldwyn Company. On April 11, 1997, Metromedia sold Orion/Goldwyn and MPCA to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer for $573 million and was closed on July 10 of the same year. In 1998, MPCA broke apart from MGM becoming independent again.
Following the sale of the film business to MGM, Metromedia still owned Metromedia Restaurant Group (which it had renamed from S&A Restaurant Group, which was acquired from Grand Metropolitan) in 1990 as well as Metromedia Fiber Network. The latter went bankrupt a few years later and became AboveNet, while the former went bankrupt in 2008.
Beginning in 1967, Metromedia's television stations began utilizing a sans-serif typeface for their on-air logo. The typeface was a proprietary one called Metromedia Television Alphabet, which was as distinctive as the typeface employed by Group W unit of Westinghouse Electric for its TV and radio stations beginning in 1963. Metromedia Television Alphabet was used for the channel numbers of its television stations until 1977, when another typeface modeled slightly after the Futura family was introduced.
Stations are listed alphabetically by state and city of license.
|City of license / Market||Station||Channel
|Years owned||Current ownership status|
|Los Angeles||KTTV||11 (11)||1963–1986||Fox owned-and-operated (O&O)|
|San Francisco - Oakland - San Jose||KNEW-TV||32 (33)||1968–1970||Non-commercial independent station, KMTP-TV, owned by Minority Television Project|
|Stockton - Sacramento - Modesto||KOVR||13 (25)||1959–1964||CBS owned-and-operated (O&O)|
|Washington, D.C.||WTTG **||5 (36)||1956–1986||Fox owned-and-operated (O&O)|
|Chicago||WFLD-TV||32 (31)||1983–1986||Fox owned-and-operated (O&O)|
|Decatur - Springfield -
Champaign - Urbana, Illinois
|WTVP||17 (17)||1960–1965||NBC affiliate, WAND, owned by Block Communications|
|Peoria - Bloomington, Illinois||WTVH-TV||19 (19)||1959–1965||TBD owned-and-operated (O&O), WHOI|
|Newport, KY - Cincinnati||WXIX-TV||19 (29)||1972–1983||Fox affiliate owned by Gray Television|
|Boston||WCVB-TV||5 (20)||1982–1986||ABC affiliate owned by Hearst Television|
|Minneapolis - St. Paul||WTCN-TV||11 (11)||1972–1983||NBC affiliate, KARE, owned by Tegna|
(sale to Standard General pending)
|Kansas City, Missouri||KMBC-TV 1||9 (29)||1961–1982||ABC affiliate owned by Hearst Television|
|New York City||WABD/WNEW-TV **||5 (44)||1956–1986||Fox owned-and-operated (O&O), WNYW|
|Dallas - Fort Worth||KRLD-TV||33 (32)||1983–1986||The CW affiliate, KDAF, owned by Nexstar Media Group|
|Houston||KRIV-TV||26 (26)||1978–1986||Fox owned-and-operated (O&O)|
|AM Station||FM Station|
|City of License/Market||Station||Years owned||Current ownership|
|Los Angeles||KLAC 570||1963–1984||iHeartMedia|
|KLAC-FM 102.7||1963–1965||KIIS-FM, iHeartMedia|
|KLAC-FM/KMET 94.7||1965–1986||KTWV, Audacy, Inc.|
|San Francisco - Oakland||KNEW 910||1966–1980||KKSF, iHeartMedia|
|KSAN-FM 94.9||1966–1981||KYLD, iHeartMedia|
|Denver - Boulder||KHOW 630||1981–1985||iHeartMedia|
|Washington, D.C.||WASH-FM 97.1||1968–1986||iHeartMedia|
|Tampa - St. Petersburg - Clearwater||WWBA-FM 107.3||1981–1986||WXGL, Cox Media Group|
|Chicago||WDHF/WMET-FM 95.5||1972–1983||WCHI-FM, iHeartMedia|
|Baltimore||WCBM 680||1963–1986||WCBM Maryland Inc.|
|WCBM-FM 106.5||1963–1968||WWMX, Audacy, Inc.|
|Detroit||WOMC 104.3||1972–1986||Audacy, Inc.|
|Kansas City, Missouri||KMBC–980 1||1961–1967||KMBZ, Audacy, Inc.|
|KMBC-FM/KMBR 99.7 **||1962–1967||KZPT, Audacy, Inc.|
|New York City||WNEW 1130||1957–1986||WBBR, Bloomberg L.P.|
|WNEW-FM 102.7 **||1958–1986||Audacy, Inc.|
|Philadelphia||WIP 610||1959–1986||WTEL, Beasley Broadcast Group|
|WIP-FM/WMMR 93.3||1959–1986||Beasley Broadcast Group|
|Cleveland||WHK 1420 2||1958–1972||Salem Media Group|
|WHK-FM/WMMS 100.7 2||1958–1972||iHeartMedia|
|Dallas - Fort Worth||KRLD 1080 3||1978–1986||Audacy, Inc.|
|Seattle - Tacoma||KJR 950||1980–1984||iHeartMedia|
This is a list of television programs that were produced and/or syndicated by Metromedia Producers Corporation (MPC):