In 1957, WGN-TV became one of the first television stations in the Chicago market to broadcast live programming in color.
Notable WGN-TV productions during the 1960s through the 1980s included several incarnations of the immensely popular Bozo's Circus, Ray Rayner and His Friends, Garfield Goose and Friends (which was hosted by Frazier Thomas, who also hosted a popular family movie showcase on the station titled Family Classics), The Mulqueens, and the popular children's educational series The Space Explorers.
The former "superstation" feed, WGN America, was converted by Tribune into a conventional basic cable network in December 2014 through the channel's removal of all WGN-TV-produced news, sports and event programs and its concurrent addition to cable providers within the Chicago market (including Comcast Xfinity, AT&T U-verse, WOW!
and RCN) – in addition to its existing local carriage on the Direc TV and Dish Network satellite services.
WGN-TV had also telecast performances of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, beginning in 1953, when Fritz Reiner was the orchestra's music director.
The station lost the Du Mont affiliation when the network ceased operations on August 6, 1956; at that point, WGN-TV became an independent station.
WGN-TV served as the Chicago affiliate of the United Network for its one month of existence in 1967, airing The Las Vegas Show. Farm Report debuted in national syndication, also originating from WGN-TV's studios.
From 1974 to 1982, Phil Donahue's syndicated daytime talk show Donahue originated from the WGN-TV studios. In 1961, the WGN stations moved to studio facilities on West Bradley Place in the North Center neighborhood, a move undertaken for civil defense concerns in order to provide the station a safe location to broadcast in case of a hostile attack targeting downtown Chicago.
WGN-TV originally held dual primary affiliations with CBS and the Du Mont Television Network, sharing both networks with WBKB (channel 4).
For its first 13 years on the air, WGN-TV had operated from an annex of the Tribune Tower with their sister radio station at 435 North Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago, a space currently filled by Dylan's Candy Bar.
the television station, however, remains at the Bradley Place facility to this day.