WAGA - History - As A Fox Station

As A Fox Station

In 1994, New World announced an affiliation agreement with Fox; as part of that agreement, Fox's parent company News Corporation acquired a 20% ownership stake in New World. This deal resulted in most of New World's stations, including WAGA, switching to Fox beginning in September 1994. However, as in most New World markets, Fox Kids children's programming stayed on former Fox O&O WATL-TV (channel 36), because WAGA was interested in airing more local news programming. All but one station would retain its existing syndicated programming lineup. The lone exception was WGNX (channel 46, now WGCL-TV), which became the new CBS affiliate despite turning it down at first, and sold many of its syndicated shows over to WVEU (channel 69, now WUPA), which became a charter affiliate of UPN in January 1995 (eventually becoming an owned-and-operated station of that network). In the meantime, WATL would become independent until it became a charter affiliate of The WB in 1995. At that time, Fox finalized the sale of WATL to Qwest Broadcasting (which was controlled by musician Quincy Jones), which merged with The WB's part-owner, the Tribune Company in 2000 (WATL is now owned by the Gannett Company as part of a duopoly with WXIA-TV).

The affiliation switch occurred on December 11, 1994, ending WAGA's 45-year stint as a CBS affiliate. It was originally scheduled for November 27, but was pushed back two weeks while negotiations between New World Communications, Fox and CBS were ongoing. Before the switch, WAGA was the longest-tenured CBS affiliate south of Washington, D.C.; an honor now held by Charlotte, North Carolina's WBTV.

With the affiliation switch, WAGA poured more resources into its news department. It added local newscasts in morning and early evening timeslots, along with the move of the 11 p.m. newscast to 10 p.m., and the station also ran first-run syndicated talk/reality shows, game shows and movies. It did not run any children's programming except for some educational shows on weekends. Also, with the affiliation switch, WAGA remained the home station for the Atlanta Falcons; a year before the affiliation changeover, Fox had then-recently won the television rights to the National Football Conference of the NFL – a major reason why it sought an affiliation deal with New World. Since the Falcons play in the NFC, channel 5 had carried most Falcons games since the team's inception. In 2005, WAGA and the Falcons celebrated 40 years together.

Early in 1997, New World merged with Fox. Upon becoming a Fox-owned station (the second in Atlanta), the station rebranded itself as "Fox 5 Atlanta", per the network's branding guidelines. However, as with the other former New World stations that are still owned by Fox, the New World name lives on as channel 5's licensee.

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