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Balaban and Katz was already well known for owning several movie theaters in the Chicago area.
In order to establish the station, the company hired television pioneer William C.
WTMJ-TV concurrently moved to VHF channel 4—from channel 3—to avoid interference with fellow CBS affiliate WKZO-TV (now WWMT) in Kalamazoo, Michigan (on the other side of Lake Michigan), which itself broadcast on channel 3.
however, the service never gelled into a true television network.
In February 1953, United Paramount Theaters merged with the American Broadcasting Company (ABC), which already owned WENR-TV (channel 7).
One of the station's early highlights was its telecast of the National Football League's championship game between the Chicago Cardinals and the Philadelphia Eagles on December 28, 1947.
In April 1948, WBKB began sharing the market's CBS affiliation with WGN-TV (channel 9), after that station signed on.
The WBKB call letters were subsequently assumed by channel 7 (that station would eventually change its callsign to WLS-TV in 1968).