|Channels||Digital: 50.2 (UHF)
Virtual: 3.2 (PSIP)
|Owner||Morgan Murphy Media
(Television Wisconsin, Inc.)
|Founded||January 1, 1996|
|Call letters' meaning||TeleVision Wisconsin, Inc. (Name for Morgan Murphy's licensing company for WISC-TV for FCC recording purposes)|
|Former callsigns||(all fictional non-FCC calls)
My Madison TV (2006-2009)
|Former affiliations||Independent (1996-1998)
The WB (1998-2002)
TVW is the digital television subchannel of Madison, Wisconsin station WISC-TV and is affiliated with MyNetworkTV. The station is owned and operated by Morgan Murphy Media, WISC-TV's owners, and is available over-the-air on digital subchannel 50.2 (or virtual channel 3.2 through the PSIP protocol), as well as on channel 14 on DirecTV and cable television systems in south central Wisconsin.
TVW dates back to January 1, 1996, when it launched as WiSC2; the channel started out as a second programming provider from WISC-TV for the Madison media market. At its launch, programming was made up of syndicated shows, limited local news & productions, regional sporting events (including Milwaukee Bucks basketball), and a national affiliation with Bloomberg Television. However, WiSC2 was only available to one localized outlying cable area and a low-power line-of-sight programming service provider and not the main cable service in Madison, a setup that severely limited its potential audience.
In 1998, a deal was struck which brought The WB Television Network to the station; at the time, the WB was only seen on area cable systems through Superstation WGN, which dropped WB programming in 1999. The WB affiliation was critical in having Charter Communications finally add TVW to their Madison-area systems. To coincide with the addition of The WB, the station was re-branded TVW (which stands for Television Wisconsin, Inc., the license holder for WISC-TV). TVW carried the full WB schedule, along with a mix of syndicated programming, Wisconsin Badgers sports, and local shows produced by Channel 3 and Charter.
TVW aired as a Charter-exclusive channel on Channel 14 until fall 2000, when WISC launched their digital television signal on channel 50 and added TVW to subchannel 3.2, making it among the first permanent digital subchannels in the United States and allowing over-the-air reception of the channel. TVW would become WB14 in September 2001, though the "TVW" name was retained as an official identification.
August 2002 would see a network change for WB14: After ACME Communications purchased Madison's then-UPN affiliate, WHPN, the two stations would swap network affiliations, with WHPN becoming a WB affiliate (under the new WBUW call sign), while WB14 would change to "UPN 14" and become Madison's UPN affiliate. UPN had already had some history with WISC-TV, as the station carried UPN on a secondary overnight basis from 1995 until WHPN's launch in 1999.
On March 8, 2006, Morgan Murphy Media and Fox Entertainment Group announced1 that UPN 14 would be the Madison affiliate for the new MyNetworkTV service. The station's on-air name changed over to My Madison TV on August 7, 2006. The station continued to air UPN programming after midnight from MyNetworkTV's September 4 debut until UPN's closure on September 15.
During the week of July 1, 2009, My Madison TV reverted on-air identification back to TVW. Unveiling a logo absent of any network or channel identification, the rebranding was meant to emphasize a connection to Madison and Wisconsin in TVW's programming.2
Aside from the MyNetworkTV lineup, the TVW schedule consists mainly of local and syndicated programming, including original programs Divorce Court, The Wendy Williams Show, and The Steve Harvey Show, and reruns of Frasier, 'Til Death, and Law & Order: Criminal Intent. TVW also airs same-day rebroadcasts of Katie, Entertainment Tonight, and Dr. Phil, which air earlier on the day on WISC-TV 3.1. On weekends, TVW airs live sports programming from ESPN Plus, including college sports involving the Mid-American and Southeastern conferences, as well as occasional Wisconsin Badgers hockey broadcasts that are produced by Wisconsin Public Television. TVW also serves as a second outlet for WISC-TV programming when Channel 3 has prior commitments, and TVW Badgers games air throughout Charter's service area through the entire state over their "Xtra" Channel 87 for viewers outside the Madison market.
Local programs that are produced by and air on WISC-TV also appear on TVW, including Urban Theater (a music performance show hosted by John Urban) and Sidelines (a sports panel discussion show hosted by longtime Madison sportswriter Mike Lucas that also airs in Eastern Wisconsin on Time Warner Cable Sports 32). TVW also airs local high school sports events under the "PrepMania" banner.
In January 2004, WISC-TV launched UPN14 News at Nine, a 5-minute news update featuring local and national headlines plus a brief weather presentation. The program was expanded to 30 minutes in September 2005 and rechristened News 3 at 9 on UPN14 (a branding that was revised in subsequent years to reflect the station's name changes). News 3 at 9 would be cancelled as of January 1, 2012, the date WISC began producing the 9PM newscast for Fox affiliate WMSN-TV.3 Some WISC news content is still included on TVW, including hourly weather updates and repeats of WISC's early morning news from 7-9AM (while WISC airs CBS This Morning).