First Run Syndication is a method of distributing radio and television programs outside of the major networks. If a television show isn't picked up by a network, producers attempt to sell the show directly to the affiliates and independent stations, in an attempt to get a high enough clearance across the country to make the show profitable enough to produce. While the practice is OlderThanTelevision with radio shows being syndicated, the practice is most widely associated with television.

In the early days of television, First Run Syndicators profited by both a lack of satellites transmitting network programming and the lack of product available to networks during downtime hours. While many bigger market stations produced their own news and children's shows, many smaller markets eagerly bought up the more professionally produced syndicated product.

In the late 1960s and early '70s, networks controlled three and a half hours of prime time a night, typically 7:30 - 11:00pm. The FCC ruled that to promote local programming they needed to be forced to give up a half hour. Called Prime Time Access, this was intended to be a half hour between the news and network entertainment, filled with local info and public affair programming created by the local stations. Instead the local stations just purchased bigger quantities of first run syndicated versions of {{game show}}s and other programming. While some of these shows were highly praised (''Series/TheMuppetShow'' and ''Series/MutualOfOmahasWildKingdom'' for example), most critics of the day bemoaned them as increasing 'The Vast Wasteland'. By the late 1980s, network news had by and large been moved to the 6:30 PM timeslot, freeing up the 7:00 PM slot as an additional Prime Access slot. The rule was repealed in 1996, but the affiliates have resisted in giving any time slots back.

In 1987, the success of ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' prompted a new era in syndicated {{after show}}s being created. Shows such as ''Series/WKRPInCincinnati'' and ''Series/WhatsHappening'' were revived, as well as new originals such as ''Series/TalesFromTheDarkside'', ''Series/FridayThe13thTheSeries'' and ''Series/WarOfTheWorlds'', premiered to varying degrees of success.

Today, with the event of cable television and internet providers creating their own content, the practice is virtually no longer needed, except for a handful of reality (e.g., ''Series/JudgeJudy''), talk (e.g., ''The Queen Latifah Show''), game (e.g., ''Series/FamilyFeud''), and news shows (e.g., ''Series/EntertainmentTonight'').

First-run syndication was also the preferred method of distribution for the MerchandiseDriven cartoons of TheEighties.
!!Examples of First Run Syndicated shows


[[folder: Shows in First Run Syndication for their entire run]]
* ''WesternAnimation/AdventuresOfTheGalaxyRangers''
* ''[[WesternAnimation/DennisTheMenace All-New Dennis the Menace]]''
* ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars''
* ''WesternAnimation/BikerMiceFromMars'' (1993 series)
* ''WesternAnimation/BionicSix''
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Bravestarr}}''
* ''WesternAnimation/BrunoTheKid''
* ''Series/BullseyeUS''
* ''Series/CaptainPowerAndTheSoldiersOfTheFuture''
* ''WesternAnimation/CaptainSimianAndTheSpaceMonkeys''
* ''WesternAnimation/CareBears1980s''
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Centurions}}''
* ''Series/{{Cleopatra 2525}}''
* ''Series/TheChallengers''
* ''WesternAnimation/ChipNDaleRescueRangers'' (after a sneak preview on Creator/DisneyChannel)
* ''WesternAnimation/ChuckNorrisKarateKommandos''
* ''WesternAnimation/ComicStrip''
* ''WesternAnimation/{{COPS}}'' (the cartoon, not the Fox series)
* ''WesternAnimation/DefendersOfTheEarth''
* ''WesternAnimation/DenverTheLastDinosaur''
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Dinosaucers}}''
* ''WesternAnimation/TheDisneyAfternoon''
* ''WesternAnimation/DuckTales''
* ''Series/EarthFinalConflict''
* ''WesternAnimation/ExoSquad''
* ''Series/{{Farscape}}''
* ''Series/FernwoodTonight''
* ''WesternAnimation/FilmationsGhostbusters''
* ''Series/FridayThe13thTheSeries''
* ''WesternAnimation/GIJoeARealAmericanHero''
* ''WesternAnimation/HeathcliffAndTheCatillacCats''
* ''WesternAnimation/HeManAndTheMastersOfTheUniverse1983''
* ''Series/HerculesTheLegendaryJourneys''
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Inhumanoids}}''
* ''WesternAnimation/JayceAndTheWheeledWarriors''
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Jem}}''
* ''Series/JudgeJudy''
* ''Series/MaryHartmanMaryHartman''
* ''WesternAnimation/{{MASK}}''
* ''[[WesternAnimation/PotsworthAndCompany Midnight Patrol]]''
* ''WesternAnimation/MonsterForce''
* ''Series/{{Monsters}}''
* ''Series/TheMuppetShow''
* ''Series/MutantX''
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyAndFriends''
* ''WesternAnimation/TheNewAdventuresOfHeMan''
* ''WesternAnimation/TheNewAdventuresOfJonnyQuest''
* ''Series/OutOfThisWorld''
* ''Series/ThePeoplesCourt''
* ''Series/ThePinkertons''
* ''WesternAnimation/RamboTheForceOfFreedom''
* ''Anime/{{Robotech}}''
* ''Anime/RoninWarriors'' (English dub)
* ''Anime/SaberRiderAndTheStarSheriffs''
* ''WesternAnimation/SheRaPrincessOfPower''
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Silverhawks}}''
* ''WesternAnimation/SkyCommanders''
* ''Series/SmallWonder''
* ''Series/SoulTrain''
* ''WesternAnimation/SpiralZone''
* ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine''
* ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration''
* ''WesternAnimation/StuntDawgs''
* ''Series/SuperForce''
* ''WesternAnimation/TaleSpin'' (after a sneak preview on Disney Channel)
* ''Series/TalesFromTheDarkside''
* ''WesternAnimation/ThunderCats1985''
* ''WesternAnimation/TheTransformers''
* ''Series/{{VIP}}''
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Visionaries}}''
* ''Anime/{{Voltron}}''
* ''Series/WarOfTheWorlds''
* ''Series/XenaWarriorPrincess''

[[folder:Shows in both first-run syndicated and network run]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TwoStupidDogs'': Ran in FRS from 1993-95; also seen on Creator/{{TBS}} Sunday mornings
* ''WesternAnimation/AdventuresOfTheGummiBears'': Ran on NBC 1985-89, {{Channel Hop}}ped to ABC 1989-90, final season ran as part of ''Main/TheDisneyAfternoon'' in 1990.
* ''Series/AmericanBandstand'': Began on local UsefulNotes/{{Philadelphia}} station WFIL (currently ABC O&O WPVI) in 1952, moved to ABC in 1957, went FRS in 1987, ended its run on Creator/USANetwork in 1989.
* ''Series/{{Andromeda}}'': Began in FRS, picked up by [[Creator/{{Syfy}} Sci Fi Channel]] midway through 4th season
* ''Series/{{Baywatch}}'': Cancelled by NBC after one season, successfully entered FRS a year later
* ''Series/BeakmansWorld'': Aired on TLC and in FRS in its first season, then on TLC and CBS
* ''Series/BreakTheBank1976'': Cancelled by ABC after one season; later FRS
* ''Series/CharlesInCharge'': The series was cancelled by CBS after one season, revived in FRS a few seasons afterward.
* ''Series/{{Concentration}}'': Cancelled by NBC in March 1973; became FRS a few months later (lasting until 1978; another revival aired on NBC from 1987-91 w/ reruns until 1993)
* ''WesternAnimation/DarkwingDuck'': After a sneak preview on Creator/DisneyChannel, ran concurrently on FRS (as part of ''The Disney Afternoon'') and ABC
* ''WesternAnimation/DennisTheMenace'': AnimatedAdaptation of [[ComicStrip/DennisTheMenace the US comic strip]] created by Hank Ketcham. First season ran in FRS, second season moved to Creator/{{CBS}} on Saturday mornings.
* ''Anime/DragonBall'': Creator/FUNimation and Creator/TheOceanGroup's initial English dub from 1995 aired in syndication.
* ''Anime/DragonBallZ'': The original Creator/SabanEntertainment/FUNimation/Ocean co-production was also created for syndication. Considering the early time slots it got in many markets, the show did quite well (good enough to warrant a full hour-long block during season 2). Despite this, Saban eventually backed out of the project, forcing Creator/FUNimation to abandon the dub. Reruns on the Creator/CartoonNetwork block Toonami turned out to be a huge success, and this was enough to warrant a continuation of the English dub.
* ''Film/{{Fame}}'': Cancelled by NBC after two seasons, moved to FRS for the rest of its run
* ''WesternAnimation/GoofTroop'': Same as ''Darkwing Duck''
* ''Series/{{Jeopardy}}'': Began on NBC in 1964, ran concurrently on NBC and FRS in 1974-75 before ending, back to NBC for a season in 1978-79, current FRS evening run began in 1984
* ''WesternAnimation/JonnyQuestTheRealAdventures'': Ran concurrently on Creator/{{TBS}}, Creator/{{TNT}}, Creator/CartoonNetwork and FRS in some cities
* ''Series/MamasFamily'': This SpinOff of ''Series/TheCarolBurnettShow'' spent a year and a half on NBC before going on to very successful FRS run.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheMightyDucks'': Concurrent runs on FRS (as a part of what was once ''The Disney Afternoon'') and ABC
* ''Series/MrEd'': One of the few shows to start out in FRS before being picked up by CBS for its second season on.
* ''WesternAnimation/OneHundredAndOneDalmatiansTheSeries'': Fifty-two episodes of the show debuted in syndication in 1997 on weekday afternoons (or mornings depending on the market), while ABC aired thirteen episodes of the show as part of ''Main/OneSaturdayMorning'' beginning a week after the show began airing in syndication.
* ''Anime/{{Pokemon}}'': The Creator/FourKidsEntertainment dub originally debuted in syndication, before moving to Creator/KidsWB (and later Creator/CartoonNetwork).
* ''WesternAnimation/TheRealGhostbusters'': Debuted on ABC in 1986, began a concurrent run on FRS with new episodes in 1987.
* ''Manga/SailorMoon'': Very similar scenario to ''Dragon Ball Z'', since the English dub (by Creator/DiC) was originally created for syndication, before finding fame through Toonami. Although unlike ''Dragon Ball Z'', the show didn't do very well in syndication, due to the terrible time slots it was given in most markets.
* ''Series/SaleOfTheCentury'': Jim Perry had two concurrent runs, on NBC and FRS.
* ''Series/{{SCTV}}'': Was FRS for its first three seasons before being aired on NBC as ''SCTV [=Network90=]'', then moved to Creator/{{Cinemax}}.
* ''Series/{{Starcade}}'': Aired on Creator/{{TBS}} from 1982-83, then moved to FRS from 1983-84 (being distributed by Turner Program Services, Turner's own syndication arm)
* ''WesternAnimation/SWATKats'': Ran in FRS from 1993-95; also seen on TBS Sunday mornings.
* ''WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles1987'': Debuted in FRS in 1987, also ran on CBS starting in 1990.
* ''Series/TicTacDough'': Ran briefly on CBS before becoming FRS; according to Wink Martindale, the show was to have been on CBS and FRS at the same time.
* ''WesternAnimation/TinyToonAdventures'': The first episode "The Looney Beginning" aired as a special in primetime on CBS. Then the first and second seasons debuted in syndication until the third season where it moved to Fox as part of the Creator/FoxKids block.
* ''Series/TooCloseForComfort'': Cancelled by ABC after four seasons; a few seasons were FRS, before the show was totally revamped into the fully FRS AfterShow ''The Ted Knight Show''.
* ''Series/TheTwilightZone1985'': Ran for two seasons on CBS, then moved to FRS so there would be enough episodes to rerun the show as a daily strip.
* ''Series/{{Webster}}'': Was cancelled by ABC, its last two seasons being FRS.
* ''Series/WheelOfFortune'': Daytime and syndicated runs were concurrent in the 1980s and 1990s

[[folder: After Shows that were FRS]]
* ''The Munsters Today!''
* ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration''
* ''The New WKRP''
* ''The Ted Knight Show'': Popular revamp of ''Series/TooCloseForComfort'', already greenlit for another season at the time of Ted Knight's sudden death.
* ''Whats Happening, Now!!!''