The station lost the Du Mont affiliation when the network shut down on August 6, 1956, which left the station as an exclusive ABC affiliate.
In order to align itself with Gannett's new newspaper entity USA Today, the station changed its call letters to KUSA-TV on March 19, 1984 (Minneapolis–St.
Paul sister station WTCN underwent a similar rebranding in 1985, when it changed its call letters to WUSA; however after Gannett purchased Washington, D. station WDVM-TV in 1986, it moved the WUSA call letters to its newly acquired station; the Minneapolis station that originally held the WUSA calls was renamed KARE-TV).
This left KBTV as a primary Du Mont and secondary ABC affiliate.
The station struggled in the ratings for several years, in part because ABC's overall ratings were not on par with the other major networks until the 1970s.
Like many Gannett stations, KUSA dropped the "-TV" suffix ten days after the official digital television transition date of June 12, 2009, although KUSA had made the transition to digital-exclusive broadcasts nearly two months earlier.
In April 1992, the station moved its operations into a new state-of-the-art facility at 500 Speer Boulevard (the original studio location was subsequently occupied by PBS member station KRMA-TV (channel 6)).
Since 2006, Broncos games are aired on channel 9 when they are shown on NBC's Sunday Night Football.
In July 1996, Rapid City NBC affiliate KEVN-TV opted to join Fox, leaving the Black Hills region of South Dakota without a full-power NBC affiliate.
The two stations share studio facilities located on East Speer Boulevard in Denver's Speer neighborhood (southeast of the studios of ABC affiliate KMGH-TV (channel 7) and the studios shared by Fox affiliate KDVR (channel 31) and CW affiliate KWGN-TV (channel 2)); KUSA maintains transmitter facilities atop Lookout Mountain, near Golden.