Syndicated programming is distributed and/or produced by syndication companies independent of networks.  Traditionally, syndicated companies bought the licenses to reruns of network shows after a show aired it’s first 88 or 100 episodes (4 or 5 seasons) exclusively on network TV.     These restrictions have been relaxed in recent years, as the increasing number of channels has increased the need for programing.  Now, syndication companies can buy reruns of network shows after 2 or 3 seasons.

First run syndication refers to shows that were made for syndication (non-network shows).  Syndication companies sometimes produce their own first run programming.   Syndication companies also air  first-run programming produced by independent production companies.

Radio shows are also produced by syndication companies, such as the Howard Stern or Steve Harvey show.

Syndication companies differ from networks in that they can provide programs to specific DMAs (Designated Market Area), as well as national and international markets.   Also, unlike networks and their affiliates, syndicators can’t guarantee the number of stations picking up the show or the time and day of air.  Those decisions are left up to the local station.

– Carol Basuru