Monday, May 17, 2010

Television Syndication Companies

Ziv Television Programs, Inc. � although syndication of radio shows had been around for years, Ziv was the first television syndication companies to syndicate its TV programs. Some of their more popular series included Sea Hunt (a show about a scuba diver), Highway Patrol (a cop show starring Broderick Crawford), Superman (the first TV show about the comic book super hero) and Mr. Ed (the sarcastic, wise cracking talking horse who was a lot smarter than his owner.)

Viacom � Viacom was the television syndication companies arm of CBS. Viacom handled syndication for network owned TV shows. They would eventually become an independent company and years later bought both paramount studios and CBS before Creating the UPN network. They syndicated programs, like Death Valley Days.

In the late 1960s, the FCC ruled that the networks could not schedule programs in the 6-8pm Fringe area of prime time. They also prohibited off network syndication or reruns during this time slot. As a result of the FCC�s ruling, a large market for Canadian programs such as the Gilligan�s Island clone Dusty Trail and game shows opened up for television syndication companies.

20th Century Fox � This television syndication companies produced Soul Train (a hip version of American Bandstand), That�s Hollywood (a celebrity lifestyle/biography program), Wild, Wild World of Animals (a documentary on animal behavior), Space: 1999 (a science fiction program) and Second City Television (a Canadian comedy sketch series).

Universal Studios- created a television syndication companies department that produced original programming such as Operation Prime Time (news magazine), The Bastard (mini-series adaptation of John Jakes� book), The Muppet Show (about all of the delightful puppet creations of Jim Hensen), The Mike Douglas Show (a variety/talk ), Merv Griffin, Dinah Shore, Phil Donahue (all talk shows).

Some of the biggest mistakes the networks made in programming were picked up by the television syndication companies and then became huge success stories such as:
� The Lawrence Welk Show - the original series aired ABC and was cancelled
� Lassie - the original series aired CBS and was cancelled
� Hee Haw - the original series aired CBS and was cancelled
� Baywatch - the original series aired on NBC for one season and was cancelled
� Star Trek � the original series was cancelled by the network and all of the spin offs have been produced by television syndication companies as first-run syndications and included Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager and Enterprise.

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