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A rerun or repeat is a re-airing of an episode of a radio or television broadcast. The invention of the rerun is generally credited to Desi Arnaz. Some viewers find reruns annoying, although many viewers appreciate the opportunity to re-watch a program they enjoyed or watch one they missed the first time around. There are two types of reruns—those that occur during a hiatus, and those that occur when a program is syndicated. Reruns can also be, as the case with more popular shows, when a show is aired outside of its timeslot (e.g. in the afternoon).

In the UK, the word "repeat" refers only to a single episode; "rerun" or "rerunning" is the preferred term for an entire series/season. "Repeat" is also used to refer to programs shown less than a week after the original broadcast, before the next episode of the series.


Reruns in the United States

In the United States, most television shows from the late 1940s and early 1950s were performed live, and in many cases they were never recorded. However, television networks in the United States began making kinescope recordings of shows broadcast live from the East Coast. This allowed the show to be broadcast a few hours later for the West Coast. These kinescopes, along with pre-filmed shows, and later, videotape, paved the way for extensive reruns of syndicated television series.[1]

During hiatus

In the United States, currently running shows will rerun older episodes from the same season in order to fill the time slot with the same program. This is often done for headliner shows because the length of the year (52 weeks) is far more than the length of a pick-up (13 weeks) or a full season (around 24 weeks). Shows will tend to start re-running episodes around November and show only reruns from mid-December until sweeps in February (where a show will return to new episodes in order to spike their ratings). This winter phase is often used to trial new shows in order to see if they deserve a 13-episode run. Headliners will return from February Sweeps until May Sweeps, with only limited reruns used. These are more frequently referred to as repeats, with reruns the term more commonly used for syndicated programs.[citation needed]

Television specials

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