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This sometimes resulted in the staff forgetting to turn it on right at the beginning of a stereo program.On October 9, 1986, KTXL became a charter affiliate of the upstart Fox network, and eventually started branding as "Fox 40" on-air.
While most Fox affiliates since the mid-1990s have shifted away from running classic sitcoms and cartoons, to run syndicated talk shows on their daytime schedules; until recently, KTXL was among a few stations to be an exception to this status: the daytime lineup continued to feature sitcoms well into the 2000s, even still holding syndication rights to The Andy Griffith Show after many decades.The ABC affiliation moved to KOVR (channel 13) after KCCC-TV and KOVR reached an agreement to merge operations and turn over the KCCC license to the Federal Communications Commission.The former KCCC-TV studios and transmitting facilities were then sold to a group of broadcasters who applied for a new license, returning channel 40 to the air in 1959 as KVUE, broadcasting from studios near the old California state fairgrounds off Stockton Boulevard.In 1977, KTXL began a summer tradition by showcasing critically acclaimed classic feature films in annual "Summer Film Festival" presentations.Channel 40 made television history in 1981, by broadcasting the 1978 film The Deer Hunter (and later, many other movies) unedited with potentially objectionable material intact – this policy has been restricted somewhat in recent years.KTXL, along with NBC affiliate KCRA-TV, are the only Sacramento television stations to have never changed their network affiliations, as they were unaffected by affiliation swaps in 1995 (when KXTV acquired the ABC affiliation from KOVR, which in turn, switched to CBS) and 1998 (when KMAX-TV – channel 31 – took UPN from KQCA – channel 58, which switched from UPN to The WB).
KTXL was acquired by Tribune Broadcasting following the company's purchase of Renaissance Broadcasting in 1996.
The latter show aired until 1979, and was syndicated to several stations in California, Utah, Alaska and Hawaii.
Channel 40 was one of the few stations to hold syndicated rights to the entire Merrie Melodies/Looney Tunes cartoon libraries (up until recently, different companies held different components of the cartoon output; all rights are now held by Warner Bros.).
It would also mark a re-entry into the Sacramento market for Sinclair, which owned KOVR (channel 13) from 1997 until it sold the CBS affiliate to CBS Television Stations in 2005.
In November 1999, KTXL installed the first full-powered digital television transmitter in the Sacramento market operating on UHF channel 55.
All of this made KTXL one of the leading independent stations in the western United States.