How Does a Show Go Into Syndication?


A typical show goes into syndication when it has aired on a major network in a prime-time slot, usually for 100 episodes. The production company that made the show then sells the rights to a syndicate, which, in turn, offers it to a cable company, television station, foreign network or any other outlet that pays to air it. That process is known as off-network syndication. There are other kinds of syndicated shows, though. In fact, most of what’s on television is syndicated.

Types of Syndicated Programs

  • First-run syndicated programs such as game shows are ones that haven’t run on a network but are sold directly to television stations as syndicated programs. So they may run at different times in different markets. Second-run syndication is when the same season of a network show also runs on an independent channel. In barter syndication, the production company gets money up front from an advertiser in exchange for commercial time slots in the show. Most shows are sold into syndication at conventions such as NATPE, the National Association of Television Production Executives, which brings together all of the interested parties to buy and sell.

Radio Syndication

  • Radio syndication also goes through syndicates because they know how to sell a particular radio program to enough stations to make it worthwhile for national advertisers. The main difference is you can make your own radio show and sell it to the syndicate.

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