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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.
Popeye continued Sunday Mornings but with only the 1960s King Features episodes.
Later in the 1970s more drama shows like Kung Fu, Wonder Woman and Starsky & Hutch were added.
A 10-minute fragment from KTLA's first broadcast exists at the Paley Center for Media.
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.
The station was licensed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1939 as experimental station W6XYZ, broadcasting on VHF channel 4; it did not sign on the air until September 1942.
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.
Despite this, the FCC still considered Paramount as controlling manager of Du Mont due to the strength of the company's voting stock and their influence in managing the network.
As a result, the agency did not allow Du Mont to buy additional VHF stations—a problem that would later play a large role in the failure of Du Mont, whose programming was splintered among other Los Angeles stations—including KTSL, KHJ-TV (channel 9, now KCAL-TV), KTTV (channel 11) and KCOP-TV (channel 13)—until the network's demise in 1956.
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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 commercial television station in the United States.