Metromedia owned the station until 1986 when Rupert Murdoch, after buying 20th Century Fox, purchased the Metromedia television stations to form the nucleus of the Fox network. WTTG became one of Fox's six original owned-and-operated stations when the network launched on October 9, 1986, all the while retaining consistently high ratings, a rarity for a Fox station in its early years of operation at the time, and continuing to easily out-rate WDCA and new competitor WCQR (channel 50, now WDCW). Initially, its programming was similar to what it had run as a true independent station, since Fox only programmed for a few hours on weekends in its early years (the network would not have a full seven-day schedule worth of programs until 1993).
As channel 5 transitioned to an O&O and more independent stations signed on, it lost much of its cable audience. Though not distributed as widely as it once was, it is still available on several cable providers in Maryland and Virginia outside the D.C. metro area.