Hearst Television, Inc. (formerly Hearst-Argyle Television) is a broadcasting company in the United States owned by Hearst Communications. From 1998 to mid-2009, the company traded its common stock on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “HTV.”
Hearst-Argyle was formed in 1997 with the merger of Hearst Corporation’s broadcasting division and stations owned by Argyle Television Holdings II, which is partially related to the company of the same name (in 1994) sold its stations to New World Communications, stations that eventually became Fox-owned stations. Hearst’s involvement in broadcasting dates to the 1920s.
In terms of audience reach, Hearst is the third-largest group owner of ABC-affiliated stations, behind the E. W. Scripps Company and Sinclair Broadcast Group, and ahead of Tegna Inc., and the second-largest group owner of NBC affiliates, behind Tegna.
Hearst-owned ABC affiliates in National Football League markets simulcast Monday Night Football games from ESPN that involve these teams – ESPN is 20% owned by Hearst, the rest being owned by ABC’s parent, The Walt Disney Company. Other Hearst-owned stations also carry ESPN-aired NFL games, even though they are affiliated with other networks (like WBAL-TV, Baltimore’s NBC affiliate). Hearst also holds some joint ventures for syndicated programming with NBCUniversal Television Distribution.
On June 3, 2009, the Hearst Corporation announced that it would purchase substantially all of the stock not held by Hearst. Hearst-Argyle Television then dropped “Argyle” from its name and became a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Hearst Corporation.
In February 2009, Hearst-Argyle announced that its stations (except for KITV and its satellites in Hawaii, which had already completed their transition to digital, and WPTZ in Plattsburgh, New York, and WNNE in Hartford, Vermont, which followed the other Champlain Valley in transition on February 17, 2009) would comply with the new DTV transition date of June 12, 2009.
Currently, Hearst owns a total of 34 overall television stations but considers two groups of four stations and an NBC station with an ABC digital subchannel joint operations, bringing their count down to 31 under that consideration: eleven NBC affiliates, fifteen ABC affiliates (one as a subchannel of an NBC affiliate, and one which acts as a two-station simulcast), two CBS affiliates, six CW affiliates (two traditional, two subchannel (which are part of a two-station simulcast), and two-channel shares), two MyNetworkTV affiliates (one traditional, one subchannel), and one independent station.