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During the 1970s and 1980s, WKAQ-TV, then branded as "Telemundo Canal 2" ("Telemundo Channel 2"), had become a major producer of telenovelas.The station was also known for its "fingers" logo – a bold number "2" with the silhouette of two upright fingers inside the number – and referred to itself as "El canal de los dedos" ("The Channel of the Fingers").These stations joined KVEA (channel 52) in Los Angeles, run by its general manager and part-owner Joe Wallach, in 1985.The following year, KVEA's part-owner, Reliance Group Holdings, acquired the Telemundo brand when it purchased John Blair & Co., which also owned WSCV (channel 51) in Fort Lauderdale–Miami-West Palm Beach in addition to WKAQ-TV. In 1987, Reliance Capital Group executives Saul Steinberg and Henry Silverman merged all these stations into the Telemundo Group.The network also began to produce its own original telenovelas, the first of which to premiere were Angélica, mi vida ("Angelica, My Life"), Marielena, Guadalupe, Señora Tentación ("Lady Temptation") and Tres Destinos ("Three Destinations").International distributors soon approached the network for the syndication rights to air these programs on television networks in other countries.The new corporation quickly went public, and in 1987, Reliance decided to rebrand Net Span as Telemundo.

The following year in 1993, Telemundo underwent an extensive rebranding, introducing the signature framed "T" letter logo (which has been used by the network since that point in various design elements), and a promotional campaign using the slogan "Arriba, Telemundo, Arriba" ("Upwards, Telemundo, Upwards").

Housed at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood, the network began daily production of three shows on the lot that year: La Hora Lunática ("The Crazy Hour"), a daytime talk-variety show hosted by Los Angeles radio personality Humberto Luna, comedians Mario Ramírez Reyes "El Comodín" and Hugo Armando, and producer Jackie Torres; El y Ella ("He and She"), a daily talk show focusing on gender-related issues that was created and produced by Gigi Graciette, who co-hosted the program with Antonio Farre; and Dando y Dando ("Giving and Giving"), an audience and viewer participation game show hosted by Rafael Sigler.

The first wave of major changes to Telemundo came on August 11, 1997, when the network revamped its prime time schedule by cutting an hour of its prime time telenovela lineup; concurrently, local newscasts on the network's owned-and-operated and affiliate stations were moved an hour earlier to p.m.

Ramos wanted to maintain a consistent branding for his media properties based around the "mundo" theme (the Spanish word for "world"), and chose to brand his new television property as "Telemundo" (in effect, translating to "Teleworld" or "World TV").

Ramos had tried to obtain a television station license as early as the mid-1940s; however, because of a freeze imposed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that suspended the filing and approval of broadcast license applications for new television stations in the United States and its territories due to World War II, he had to wait until 1954 to obtain the license.

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