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Over time, it became one of the most successful and profitable independent stations in the country.

KMSP went through another ownership change on June 9, 1981, when 20th Century-Fox spun off United Television as an independent company owned by Fox shareholders; the transaction was approved alongside the 0 million sale of 20th Century-Fox to Marvin Davis.

Although it now faced having to buy an additional 19 hours of programming per day, it also would not have to invest nearly as much into its news department.

Most of the on-air and off-air staffers resigned, not wanting to work for a down-scaled independent operation.

KMSP-TV, virtual and VHF digital channel 9, is a Fox owned-and-operated television station licensed to Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States.

KMSP-TV is owned by the Fox Television Stations division of 21st Century Fox, and operates as part of a television duopoly with WFTC (channel 29), the Minneapolis–Saint Paul area's My Network TV owned-and-operated station.

In retaliation for losing ABC, KMSP-TV immediately removed all ABC branding and regularly preempted network programming.

Channel 9 then attempted to affiliate with NBC, thinking The Tonight Show would be a good lead-out from their 10 p.m. As a result of being rejected by both ABC and NBC, KMSP-TV prepared to become an independent station.

KSTP-TV looked forward to affiliating with the top network, as third-place NBC had been in a long ratings slump.It was far more successful than the station ever had been as an ABC affiliate.It became a regional superstation, available on nearly every cable system in Minnesota as well as large portions of North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Wisconsin.Throughout its years with ABC, KMSP was notorious for having a sub-standard news department with large staff turnover.Ratings were dismal with KMSP obtaining only one-third of the viewing audience of each of their two competitors, CBS affiliate WCCO-TV and NBC affiliate KSTP-TV.

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That January, channel 9 dropped Fox's Saturday night lineup; By the early 1990s, Fox had exploded in popularity; it had begun carrying strong shows that were starting to rival the program offerings of the "Big Three" networks, and had just picked up the broadcast rights to the NFL's National Football Conference. (with the two-hour premiere of Star Trek: Voyager), with channel 9 becoming a UPN owned-and-operated station due to Chris-Craft/United's ownership stake in the network—making it the second network-owned station in the Twin Cities (alongside CBS-owned WCCO-TV).

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