Saturday, November 14, 2009

Syndication of Television Programs

Syndication of television programs is the bread and butter of the TV industry. It makes it possible for productions companies the take the risks associated with making a new program without necessarily risking bankruptcy. The national networks only provide programming during specific time slots during the day. Local stations have always had to scramble for content to run during the times when the network cables were off. Syndication of television programs helped to fill in the empty time slots. Sometimes the networks would provide second-run syndication of their shows for morning and late afternoon viewing.

First-run syndication of television programs for children is frequently sold to network affiliates. The same is true for specialty programs like agriculture programs in rural areas. Games shows are another popular first-run syndication genre. Animal shows are another popular type of show. These first-run syndicated shows can be produced with relatively low budgets so they can be sold for less and still provide sufficient entertainment to keeps the viewing audience happy.

Talk shows became the next big hit for the syndication of television programs. These are also low budget shows and tend to be extremely popular in almost any time slot from early morning to after midnight. The daytime versions tend to be straight talk shows designed to appeal to stay at home adults. Good examples of these shows are Oprah Winfery, Ellen DeGeneres and Doctor Phil. The night time versions are more reminiscent of the variety shows 1970s except they combine guest performances with celebrity interviews and are normally hosted by former comedians like Johnny Carson, Jay Leno, Craig Ferguson and Conan O�Brian.

More recently, the �judge� shows became another popular variety for syndication of television programs for the daytime market. Judge Judy is the best example of this kind of program.

When planning the syndication of television programs, you would expect that a show that does well in its network run will do well in syndication, but this is not always true. The classic example was Mission Impossible, a highly rated network show that bombed in syndication. The two best examples of TV shows that bombed on the networks by became cash cows in the syndication of television programs were Fame and Star Trek. Both of these shows were cancelled by the networks and became cult hits in syndication.

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