WPIX is the CW affiliate for New York, owned by Tribune Broadcasting. It is not, however, Tribune's flagship station - that honor goes to the venerable WGN in Chicago. The call letters are a reference to the New York Daily News, which referred to itself as the "Picture Paper" and uses a stylized camera in its logo.
WPIX has arguably been the most distinctive of New York's independent/small network stations. Its 1970s and 1980s presentation was perhaps the most professional in its market, but mention must be made of the station's distinctive programming - editorials, burning logs, network news (with network newscasters!), and Ralph Kramden.
WPIX became 11 Alive in 1977. This was not simply a slogan or catchphrase - 11 Alive was the actual station name, and was incorporated into the station logo and nearly all presentation elements with the exception of news and editorials. 11 Alive was arguably one of the first major television brands outside of the venerable television networks.
The campaign did not originate at WPIX. WXIA in Atlanta adopted the 11 Alive name a year before, and continues to use the name to this day, although the two stations are very different, as WXIA has always been a major network affiliate. Regardless, the 11 Alive period continues to be fondly remembered by New Yorkers.
11 Alive Mark II
The 11 Alive logo was modernized in 1982. The new, sleeker design was accompanied by idents and presentation elements from the Moving Image Company. The slick, filmed look of the new idents is in stark contrast to the primitive video effects used previously - and still looks very nice today. However, the overall look didn't last too long - new, videotaped graphics were adopted in fall of 1983.
In 1984, WPIX reintroduced its classic 1969 "circle 11" logo, which was dropped from full-time use in 1977. The logo was initially incorporated into the third, and final, "11 Alive" logo, although this coincided with the gradual phasing out of that brand - announcers began referring to the station as "Channel 11", and presentation from 1985 onward began to feature the logo by itself. With slick new idents introduced in 1986, "11 Alive" was finally dead at WPIX.
The 1980s rendition of the logo is tweaked from the original - the numbers are spaced farther apart and the circle is of a different width. Despite the similarity, the logo predates the World Trade Center by three years. The similarity was, however, noted - most memorably in the "Henry Tillman's Big Idea" campaign. In these promos, the fictional WPIX promotions director is tasked with finding a Big Idea for the station's new logo, but the idea keeps eluding him - despite the fact that the WTC towers are featured prominently in each ad. One ad even goes so far as to include a farcical musical "dream sequence" with dancing Twin Towers in top hat and cane - unthinkable now for obvious reasons!
The "Circle 11" was phased out - again - starting around 1994. The new black/gold logo featured similar bold number styling to the circle 11, but dropped the circle and gave the top a slight angle to make the number more obvious. The bigger addition came the next year when WPIX became a charter affiliate of The WB, which Tribune partly owned. A WB logo was affixed to the new 11, and WPIX became "The WB11". The logo got another facelift in 2000, enlarging the WB.