Originally signed on the air on July 8, 1954 as KWK-TV, a primary CBS affiliate on VHF channel 4. It was was first owned by a consortium which included Robert T. Convey (28%) and the Newhouse Newspapers-published St. Louis Globe-Democrat (23%), who jointly operated KWK radio (1380 AM, now KXFN); Elzey M. Roberts Sr., former owner of KXOK radio (630 AM, frequency now occupied by KYFI), which had to be sold as a condition of the license grant (23%); and Missouri Valley Television Inc., made up of Saint Paul, Minnesota-based Hubbard Broadcasting (23%) and several St. Louis residents (combined 3%). The logo shown is from a 1950s KWK-TV ad.
The network (which owned KMOX (1120 AM)) purchased channel 4 in March 1958 after they originally won a permit to build a station on VHF channel 11, which the permit later went to hotelier Harold Koplar (founder of what would become KPLR-TV).
By late 1985, CBS was in rough financial straits, an after-effect of successfully fending off a hostile takeover attempt by Ted Turner the year before. CBS spent the latter portion of 1985 repurchasing a large portion of its stock to help block the Turner takeover. Once Turner sold his stock, CBS was saddled with significant debt and needed to raise money. Not long after Laurence Tisch became the company's chairman, CBS decided to sell KMOX-TV, at the time its smallest owned-and-operated television station by market size. On May 16, 1986, the original iteration of Viacom, the former CBS Inc. subsidiary and future parent company, completed its $122.5 million purchase of the station; so as to comply with an FCC regulation in place at the time that prohibited TV and radio stations in the same market but with different ownership from having the same callsigns, KMOX-TV's callsign was slightly modified to the present KMOV almost a month later on June 18.
This "4", despite a few secondary design element changes along the way, has been used by KMOV since 1992. In 1993, Viacom purchased Paramount Pictures merging its five-station group (including KMOV) into the Paramount Stations Group.
During this logo's run, Dallas-based Belo would purchase KMOV in 1997 from the Paramount Stations Group.
Since McLean, Virginia-based Gannett Company owned NBC affiliate KSDK (VHF channel 5), they intend on spinning off KMOV to Sander Media (owned by former Belo executive Jack Sander), which the Department of Justice threatened to block unless Gannett, Belo and Sander completely divested KMOV to a government-approved third-party company that would be barred from entering into any agreements with Gannett. On December 23, 2013, Des Moines, Iowa-based Meredith Corporation – which already had a broadcasting presence in Missouri through its ownership of fellow CBS affiliate KCTV in Kansas City – announced that it would purchase KMOV, along with KTVK and KASW in Phoenix (the latter of which Meredith would later sell to the Nexstar Broadcasting Group) for $407.5 million. The sale of KMOV was completed on February 28, 2014.