In US TV, a program not on one of the traditional (or new) network
). These programs (mainly old network rerun
s, infotainment, and game show
s) boomed in the 70s, after the FCC
passed the Prime-Time
Access rules, taking a nightly half-hour away from the network
s (along with syndication rights, recently restored), giving it to their affiliates. In the cable
age, syndication has many more outlets. Still no increase in Stuff Worth Watching.
Prior to the widespread use of satellite dishes by television stations, syndicated shows were "bicycled"; the syndicator would make a few copies of an episode, and send it to stations in the largest markets. Once the show was broadcast, each station would send it to another station in a next-tier market, and on down the line, until the affiliate station in Podunk broadcast it, weeks or months later, then the tape, nearly worn out by this time, would get sent back to the distributor. Nowadays, all affiliates will get the Seinfeld rerun, via satellite, at the same time. Progress!