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On January 22, 1947, the station was licensed for commercial broadcasting as KTLA on channel 5, becoming the first commercial television station in Los Angeles, the first to broadcast west of the Mississippi River, and the eighth television station in the United States.Estimates of television sets in Los Angeles County at the time ranged from 350 to 600, since experimental station W6XAO (later KTSL and now KCBS-TV) was already in operation.KTLA spent much of the early and mid-1980s battling KTTV (channel 11) for the spot of the top-rated independent station in Southern California, offering a variety of general entertainment programs including movies, sports and off-network reruns; it took the top spot among the market's independents full-time after KTTV became a Fox charter station in October 1986.The station stayed out of the kids' business throughout the 1980s, unlike other Tribune stations but acquired stronger programming like Full House, Cheers, Punky Brewster, and Silver Spoons. Television division of Time Warner and the Tribune Company announced the formation of The WB Television Network.In 1979, KTLA acquired Happy Days, in 1981 Laverne and Shirley, Little House On The Prairie, in 1982 Taxi, and CHi Ps, among other shows.The station continued to emphasize hour long dramas during the day on weekdays but began to run recent sitcoms in the evenings.and Dish Network (the latter service available only to grandfathered subscribers that had purchased its a la carte superstation tier before Dish halted sales of the package to new subscribers in September 2013), as well as on cable providers in select cities within the southwestern United States and throughout Canada.

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KTLA was originally affiliated with the Du Mont Television Network, of which Paramount held a minority stake; it disaffiliated from the network in 1948 and converted into an independent station.Bob Hope served as the emcee for KTLA's inaugural broadcast, titled as The Western Premiere of Commercial Television, which was broadcast live that evening from a garage on the Paramount Studios lot and featured appearances from many Hollywood luminaries.Hope delivered what was perhaps the most famous line of the telecast when, at the program's start, he identified the new station as "KTL" – mistakenly omitting the "A" at the end of the call sign.In November 1982, Golden West sold KTLA to investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts for 5 million.In May 1985, KKR sold the station to Chicago-based Tribune Broadcasting, for a then-record price of 0 million, which beat the station's earlier record sale price set by the 1982 acquisition by KKR.

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