Ken Foote

Syndication in the TV industry is the process of selling shows to local stations in various markets around the country. It is for many stations their lifeblood for existence.

Syndication started in the 1950’s when TV stations were rapidly emerging and needed programming to fill time slots while making the cash register go “KA-JING!” Back then, the regional reps had to not only clear the show on a station but then had to find a sponsor. Depending on the market, a rep might literally stay there 3-4 months without going home until this was done! Sea Hunt, starring the late Lloyd Bridges, was one of the earliest syndicated shows and most successful.

Typically, syndication for shows that have been on a major network like CBS take place approximately after the show has run for four seasons so that there are sufficient episodes to air. A show on the network typically airs only once a week but syndication is oftentimes seven times a week!

Nobody can predict the success of a show in syndication with 100 percent accuracy but there have been some actors and actresses in a lead role that have had multiple shows on network TV and syndication with a pretty high degree of success. They include:

— Lucille Ball: I Love Lucy, The Lucy Show, Here’s Lucy

— Andy Griffith: Andy Griffith Show, Matlock

— Raymond Burr: Perry Mason, Ironside, Perry Mason TV Movies

— Buddy Epsen: Beverly Hillbillies, Barnaby Jones

— Bill Cosby: I Spy, The Cosby Show

— Lorne Greene: Bonanza, Battlestar Galactica

— Dick Van Dyke: Dick Van Dyke, Diagnosis: Murder

— Carroll O’Connor: All In The Family, In The Heat Of The Night

— James Garner: Maverick, Rockford Files

— Larry Hagman: I Dream Of Jeannie, Dallas

This list is by no means exhaustive but these are the ones that come to mind for me, and I have only listed those shows that were scripted comedy or drama.

To be an actor or actress to have more than one hit on network television and then in syndication is like striking gold! And this is a small club of individuals too.

If you would like to add one that I have missed, please email me at and/or add it in the comments box below.

See you next time.

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