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KTHV first signed on the air on November 27, 1955; it was originally owned by the Arkansas Television Company, a consortium that included among others, the owners of radio station KWKH in Shreveport, the owners of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, and Little Rock businessman and insurance executive Clyde E. Lowry. The KTHV call letters were derived from former sister radio station KTHS (whose calls stood for "Kome To Hot Springs), which later became KAAY after being sold to LIN Broadcasting in the 1960s. It took the CBS affiliation from KATV, due to KTHS' long time affiliation with CBS Radio.


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KTHV's font used on the call letters (and its "Action News" wordmark) is similar to the one used by NBC News and NBC Sports font from 1972-1976.


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KTHV remained a locally owned entity until December 1994, when the station was acquired by the Gannett Company in an all-stock transaction. Gannett's purchase of KTHV marked a re-entry into the Little Rock–Pine Bluff television market for the company, which previously had owned NBC affiliate KARK-TV (channel 4) from when Gannett merged with Combined Communications Corporation in 1978 until it was sold to Southwest Media in 1983. The purchase of KTHV was believed to be positioning on Gannett's part to have a station in the former home of then first-term President Bill Clinton.


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KTHV rebranded as Today's THV, in November 1995, a branding that may have been inspired by Journal Broadcast Group's Milwaukee flagship station and NBC affiliate WTMJ-TV, which itself has branded as Today's TMJ4 (a branding inspired by the common viewer nickname for the station, "TMJ", in reference to founding owners The Milwaukee Journal) since July 1992. Unlike that station or WTMJ's Boise sister station KIVI-TV (which brands as either Today's Channel 6 or Today's 6), the station branded simply as Today's THV, omitting verbal references to its VHF channel 11 allocation, although a stylized "11" was included in the station's logo.


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The station's branding was amended (along with the introduction of a new logo) on February 28, 2013, being revised to THV 11.

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