The market leader in news, weather, and original local programming is the NBC station WDIV-TV in Detroit. Local 4 is the leading NBC affiliate in the nation's 40 largest markets.
Viewers are aware that the only television station located in the heart of Detroit will exceed their expectations. Big neighborhood events such as the Ford Fireworks and the America's Thanksgiving Parade are supported by the Big Event Station of Local 4. Michigan's most popular TV website is ClickOnDetroit.com.
Local 4 has garnered regional and national Edward R. Murrow Awards, the NAB Service to America Award, Michigan Emmys, and the Michigan Association of Broadcasters Station of the Year Award for the previous eight consecutive years.
In Detroit, Michigan, WDIV-TV (channel 4) is an NBC-affiliated television station. Graham Holdings Company's Graham Media Group subsidiary uses it as its major broadcast asset. WDIV-TV is the only major television station in the market with offices and studios within the city limits of Detroit. The station's studios are located on West Lafayette Boulevard. Southfield is home to all of Detroit's other television stations, but Greenfield Road is the location of WDIV's transmitter.
WDIV-TV broadcasts several syndicated programs, including Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy!, The Jennifer Hudson Show, Rachael Ray, and Inside Edition. WDIV-TV is one of the few American television stations to have shown Wheel and Jeopardy! since their respective syndication debuts in 1983 and 1984. WDIV-TV used this as grounds for their decision to have the episodes deleted from the schedule of CBC-owned and -operated station CBET-DT in Windsor for the 2011–12 season, a year before the CBC decided to discontinue airing the episodes altogether.
WDIV was the origination point for a large number of locally produced shows that went on to become national. At 4:00 p.m., the channel transmitted live Dr. Sonya Freidman's talk show Sonya. After a delay, the station, which operated under the Post-Newsweek Stations umbrella, syndicated it to USA Network due to its immense popularity (which is now co-owned with NBC under NBCUniversal).
WDIV also produces the afternoon entertainment program The Tony Orlando Show. Due to management considerations, The Jenny Jones Show, a syndicated daytime chat show, replaced the program after one year at the station.
Later, WDIV engaged Dick Purtan, a morning radio host for WOMC (104.3 FM), to conduct live segments during a comedy block from 4 to 5 p.m. called Purtan's People. Tom Ryan of WOMC then presented a monthly program of B-movies with humorous sketches (in which Ryan played a character known as Count Scary). This was the height of the popularity of Second City Television and Joe Flaherty's Count Floyd on NBC's late-night programming. Count Scary was eventually fired from WDIV and moved to WKBD-Shocktoberfest TV (channel 50).
One local show concept for a Detroit-based comedy-drama titled Hamtramck that aired just once nearly cost the station money. In Hamtramck's Polish-American community, it generated a tempest of dispute. Alan Frank, the show's executive producer, expressed apologies to the general audience.
Chuck Gaidica, a meteorologist, presented both his own program and game shows for the Michigan Lottery. Bernie Smilovitz was the host of The Chuck and Bernie Show, which included former Detroit Pistons head coach Chuck Daly, and The Sparky and Bernie Show, which featured Detroit Tigers manager Sparky Anderson. Furthermore, Smilovitz hosted the Weekend at Bernie's Bloopers specials.
From 1975 to 1994, and previously from 1947 to 1952, WDIV was the Detroit Tigers' principal over-the-air television partner. During the majority of WDIV's second stint as the Tigers' broadcaster, Hall of Famers George Kell and Al Kaline served as the play-by-play announcer and color analyst, respectively. Throughout the majority of WDIV's tenure as the Tigers' television home, Bernie Smiltovitz hosted the pregame show Tigers 'XX (1984, 1985, etc.).
WDIV preempted or rescheduled any affected NBC programming that was displaced by the station's coverage of Tigers games (which normally ranged from 40 to 50 telecasts every season, with the majority occurring on weekends). From 1947 until 1989, the station televised any Tigers games covered nationally by NBC's Major League Baseball coverage, including the 1968 and 1984 World Series victories.
From 2004 through 2008, WDIV and WDWB/WMY shared the Detroit Pistons' over-the-air broadcasting rights. Fox Sports Detroit was granted exclusive local broadcast rights for the Pistons following the 2007–08 season. The "Malice in the Palace" game between the Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers on November 19, 2004, which culminated in the most infamous brawl in NBA history, was televised by the local station WDIV, which also carried all Pistons games via NBC's broadcast arrangement with the NBA from 1990 to 2002.
The station has previously broadcast preseason and team programs for the Detroit Lions of the National Football League, although not as a "official station partner." From 1970 to 1997, the American Football Conference's broadcast arrangement with NBC permitted the broadcast of home interconference games on channel 4. (which in some years included Thanksgiving games). Since 2006, the station has broadcast Lions games as part of NBC's Sunday Night Football package.
In addition, as part of NBC's broadcast agreement with the NHL, Red Wings games were shown through 2021, including the team's run to the 2008 Stanley Cup Finals. However, the network was frequently challenged by CBC Television's CBET-DT in Windsor, which also carries NHL playoff coverage.
During the 1970s and 1980s, WDIV preempted one to two hours of NBC's daytime programming daily. The station refused to broadcast Late Night with David Letterman and its replacement, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, at 12:35 a.m. for many years. In addition, the station did not initially clear the Letterman-era program. Prior to 1999, the station decided to replace The Jenny Jones Show with syndicated off-network programs such as Barney Miller.
In place of the game series Card Sharks and All Star Secrets, This Morning, hosted by Cathie Mann, aired throughout the 1978–1979 season. For many years, the 12:30 p.m. NBC programming was replaced with a newscast. During the 1983–1984 season, the newscast was extended to one hour, replacing NBC's noontime programming (most notably Super Password). WDIV missed the 1983 reincarnation of Dream House during that season in favor of the popular syndicated game show Tic-Tac-Dough.
With the exception of a brief period from 2013 to 2015 when it aired at 2 p.m. following the debut of their own regional talk show Live In The D, WDIV has generally delayed the fourth hour of Today, which is nationally broadcast at 10 a.m., airing it at 11 a.m. from its debut until September 9, 2022. The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Ricki Lake Show, and Rachael Ray have replaced Live In The D at 10 a.m. on WDIV, which now airs The Ellen DeGeneres Show, The Ricki Lake Show, and Rachael Ray.
Instead of running NBC's late-night replay of Today's fourth hour until 2019, the station elected to air a repeat of the 11 p.m. newscast, paid programming, and a second repeat of Inside Edition. National Heads-Up Poker Championship, Face the Ace, and Poker After Dark were among the NBC poker events that WDIV and all other Post-Newsweek stations refused to broadcast.
From 1999 until 2002, the popular soap series Passions was not cleared by WDIV at 2:00 p.m. Instead, it aired day-ahead on WADL (channel 38) at noon, while WDIV showed daytime talk shows. The Houston sister station KPRC-TV continued to air Passions until August 30, 2004, when it became the last NBC station to do so.
When NBC ceased broadcasting the soap opera in 2007, just these two NBC affiliates continued to air it. Sunset Beach was shown by UPN affiliates WKBD and KTXH, not the two NBC stations, which never aired the soap opera.
NBC programming is still occasionally interrupted for special events such as the annual Ford Fireworks and America's Thanksgiving Parade (whose coverage, incidentally, replaces the live Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade broadcast on the station, though it does carry the later tape-delayed broadcast) and infomercials.
Reruns of This TV films also air several times a year during prime time on WDIV's main channel (typically on Saturday nights or right after sweeps so new network programming is unaffected), both to satisfy "make goods" obligations for regional advertisers and to recover revenue from developing news and weather events that preempt commercials.
WDIV-TV broadcasts 3612 hours of locally produced newscasts per week, including 6 hours on weekdays, 3 hours on weekends, and 1 12 hours on Sundays. Through an agreement with the respective owners of WJBK and WXYZ-TV, Fox Television Stations, and E. W. Scripps Company, the station shares a Eurocopter A350 helicopter for news gathering with them.
With its huge front camera pod and bright red hue, this aircraft sticks out on the ground, and its HD video system is completely digital (hence the callsign "Red Bird"). Metro Traffic, which provides traffic reporting from its analog SD video platform aloft on a Bell 206 aircraft, is an additional service provider with which WDIV has a contract. This blue and white helicopter features a smaller camera pod. Both helicopters are operated by HeliInc, which provides aviation services to broadcasters in different regions.
Eleven ordinary Ford E350 vans modified with two-band digital microwave transmitters and video editing platforms for electronic news gathering are part of WDIV's fleet of 14 news vehicles. One of these vehicles is a digital satellite uplink package and microwave vehicle with dual functionality. One micro-ENG E150 van with quick deployment capability for short-range broadcasts is available at the station, and a second satellite uplink vehicle with a much larger 1.8-meter antenna is also accessible.
The station added a half-hour late-afternoon newscast at 4 p.m. on January 8, 2007. In the spring of 2007, WDIV received one of the most distinguished accolades in broadcast journalism, the RTNDA Edward R. Murrow Award.
The award for best documentary went to Devin Scillian, who produced and reported on "The China Syndrome." On August 19, 2007, beginning with the 11 p.m. newscast, WDIV began broadcasting its local newscasts in high definition, becoming the second television station in Detroit to do so.
In order to attract individuals who are at work during that time, WDIV eliminated its lunchtime newscast in August 2013 and switched to an online-only broadcast. Due to viewer demand, the station reinstated the noon newscast on the television channel on January 13, 2014.
In August of 2014, WDIV revealed a brand-new studio built by EWI Worldwide in Livonia, Michigan and constructed domestically.
On November 11, 2016, after 38 years, Carmen Harlan departed the station to spend more time with her grandchildren.
On September 12, 2022, WDIV extended its noon newscast to an entire hour.