WVLT-TV signed on the air on October 18, 1953, under the original call letters of WTSK-TV and operating on the channel 26 frequency.
The call letters changed to WTVK in 1954.
In 1956, WTVK became the ABC affiliate after WBIR-TV signed on to take the CBS affiliation.
On September 17, 1979, WTVK swapped affiliations with WATE-TV and became the NBC affiliate.
Studio entrance, circa 1988 (though the NBC logo on the sign was no longer being used).
On September 10, 1988, WTVK swapped affiliations again with WBIR, taking over the CBS affiliation (therefore rejoining the network since its 1953 sign-on). This logo would be short-lived, as the station would change its channel position and callsign three months later. To anticipate for the switch WTVK debuted a new tagline called WTVK 26 and CBS: together again to reflect the station rejoining CBS.
On December 1, 1988, WTVK moved up the dial from UHF channel 26 to VHF channel 8, and changed its call letters to WKXT-TV.
In 1996, Gray Communications Systems bought the station, and changed its calls to the current WVLT-TV in 1997. The call letters "VLT" stands for VoLunTeer State, which is Tennessee's official nickname.