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A rerun is a re-airing of an episode of a television program. Reruns can be very annoying, unless the viewer thoroughly enjoys the show, or the viewer did not see the first airing. There are two types of reruns, those that occur during a hiatus[?], and those that occur when a program is syndicated.

During Hiatus

Most episodic television shows run only during a certain season. In the northern hemisphere, this season is normally from early September until late May. In the summer (and sometimes around the holidays) shows stop filming. No more episodes are being produced, so the network airs previous episodes in their stead.


When a television program becomes popular, it often goes into syndication. This is when many episodes of the program are sold as a package for a large sum of money. Generally the buyer is either a cable company or a host of local television stations. Often, programs are not economical until they are sold for syndication. Unfortunately since local television stations often need to sell more commercial airtime than network affiliates, syndicated shows are usually cut to make room for extra commercials.

Reruns in the United Kingdom

Because commercial television programs in the UK are not sponsored by a single advertiser over the course of an entire year, series usually run for shorter seasons - typically 6, 7 or 13 episodes - and are then replaced by others. The BBC follows a similar pattern. As in the US, fewer new episodes are made in summer, and so selected shows from the previous seasons are repeated. Until recently it was also common practice for the BBC, ITV and Channel 4 to repeat classic shows from their archives, but this has more or less dried up in favour of newer (and cheaper) formats like reality shows, except on the BBC where older BBC shows, especially sitcoms like Dad's Army and Fawlty Towers, are frequently rerun as if to remind television licence payers that the BBC still represents value for money.

Syndication did not exist in Britain until the arrival of satellite, cable and later digital television from 1989 on. Nowadays the UK has many channels which repackage and rebroadcast "classic" programming from both sides of the Atlantic. Unfortunately many of these channels, like their US counterparts, insist on making commercial timing cuts, even to BBC shows. In the eyes of some viewers these are the unkindest cuts of all. Some channels get around this by running shows in longer time slots, and critics of timing cuts see no reason why the other channels should not do the same.

Rerun is also the name of a child character in Peanuts.

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