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I was looking at broadcast schedules trying to figure out when a season of a show I like would enter syndication, and I realized that I wasn't really even sure what syndication was.

So, what is syndication, and what determines when/if a show will be offered in syndication?

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Syndication is quite simply the process of renting an existing (already filmed) TV show to a network and it typically falls into one of two categories:

  1. An existing show which has reached a number of episodes, usually 100, is rented to other channels who can then air reruns of it. This is sometimes called Off-network syndication and examples would include any foreign television show which airs in other countries.

  2. A new show is made by a production company with the intention to sell it to channels later. This is typically called First-run syndication, some examples include:

Wikipedia also mentions a third type of syndication which appears to be unique (or at least most common) to the USA called Public broadcasting syndication in which a larger network will allow a public broadcasting (non-profit TV) network, such as PBS in the US, to rent a television show for re-broadcast. Some examples include:


In additions to sources linked above, additional information from:

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