When a show is sold to a foreign country, things may well be changed for a foreign audience. That is, things apart from the obligatory dubbing or subtitling.
This is especially prevalent in anime
exported to America and other western countries for broadcast, though it's lessened over time. See Cut-and-Paste Translation
Sometime in the '70s or '80s, television standards in America changed to include more commercials, so shows made before a certain point might be edited to add several extra minutes of commercials. This might also happen to BBC shows exported to the US or Canada, unless shown on commercial-free public or pay television, or run in a longer timeslot with adverts added to make up time.
Occasionally this is done where there is no clearance
for footage to be re-used and an alternate clip may be shown.
For a similar phenomenon that removes chunks of screen time for other reasons, see Bowdlerise
, though some "edited for syndication" scenes (read: the ones that aren't cut because of length or copyright/licensing issues) are because of a scene that was considered so violent, vulgar, blasphemous, or sexually charged that it has to be cut or toned down in reruns on television, so bowdlerization and Edited for Syndication
do go hand in hand, depending on the circumstances behind the edited part.
of Deleted Scene
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Anime & Manga
- In the first chapter of Cowboy Bebop, Jet finds a bottle at a thrashed bar. In the Japanese original, he says "Presidente? I'll take it"; however, since there is a brandy called Presidente Domecq in Mexico, the Mexican dub replaces it with "A bottle of tequila, eh? I'll give myself a little luxury".
- Instead of cutting scenes out, the version of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann that airs on SyFy speeds some scenes up to fit in more commercial, including both the opening and closing (the latter of which is impossible to hear anyway, as it's both crunched to the side and talked over by the announcer; even by adverts for itself). Most of the edits are surprisingly graceful, but some – especially in the last couple episodes (including Kamina's talk with Simon and Viral's family in the Lotus-Eater Machine and the Big Bad's impossibly huge explosion) – can really screw up important moments, as can some incredibly inappropriately timed commercial breaks. Though to be fair, there was almost nothing unimportant in the last couple episodes.
- [adult swim] has a practice of shortening anime openings/endings and removing every Eye Catch which allows more commercials than the original airing. Opening themes in particular are cut out completely.
- The most jarring of opening/ending shortenings would be Durarara!!; its ending is a major Memetic Mutation, to the point that many people found out about the series through that ending. The opening meanwhile, is important due to the fact that it lists the main characters, and while it lists important characters like Celty, Shizuo, Izaya, Simon and Shinra, the Raira Trio (Mikado, Kida and Anri) are sadly left out.
- They also cut out the intros to InuYasha.
- Also Trigun, Outlaw Star, and pretty much every anime they aired that wasn't Cowboy Bebop or Bleach (FLCL was exempt because it doesn't have opening credits, but the ending was still cut from the final episode due to time).
- For a while in the UK, the CITV block had episodes of Pokémon awkwardly split into two parts.
- Wandering Son's last two episodes were shortened and mashed together for the TV release. The DVD release has the original versions.
- The Tech TV broadcast of Betterman has the ending credits used for the Opening. A positive example of the trope, the Ending was well animated, with haunting imagery and a memorable song. Contrast with the Opening, which is just live-action footage of a tidal pool.
- Reversed in the case of Jalila: the Egyptian censorship board forced the publishers to cover up the title character's bare midriff, but the UK and US editions allowed her to go as originally intended.
Live Action TV
- Happened every time channel 9 in Australia re-released episodes of Farscape especially at earlier time slots - prime episode was 'out of their minds' with every fake swear word and scene cut out, losing about 20 minutes.
- When The Adventures of Pete & Pete was still being aired as shorts, several half-hour long specials aired during that time. When the series became Half-hour fulltime, those specials were re-edited to appear as standard episodes, adding the title sequence and song "Hey Sandy" and re-scoring the episodes with the standard cues. This is most jarring with "how we spent our Summer Vacation".
- When Star Trek: Voyager reruns aired on Spike TV, there were very noticeable cuts to several episodes.
- A small one, but in the '70s and '80s especially, the titles of the shows themselves were changed if the show itself was still first-run on the networks. See: Happy Days Again, Laverne and Shirley & Company, and CHiPs Patrol.
- Some more examples: Jim Rockford: Private Investigator (The Rockford Files), The Raymond Burr Show (Ironside), Ponderosa (Bonanza). Also reruns of The Ropers and Three's a Crowd are sometimes aired as part of the Three's Company syndication package under the name Three's Company's friends - The Ropers and Three's Company Too respectively.
- MeTV and other digital networks still run Gunsmoke as "Marshall Dillon".
- The Canadian cable network Prime (now known as TV-tropolis) used to alter the titles of syndicated series it broadcast to read, for example, "All in the Family on Prime". They even went so far as to digitally alter the title screens of these shows to incorporate the "on Prime" part. Their over-the-air counterpart Global was notorious for doing this as well, but they've finally stopped.
- Many of the syndicated versions of series mentioned above (such as "Happy Days Again" and "Ponderosa") used different opening credits music than the network work. In the case of "Happy Days", whereas the first two seasons of "Happy Days" featured a 1973 recording of "Rock Around the Clock" by Bill Haley & His Comets, the opening credits of "Happy Days Again" used Haley's original 1954 recording of the song, even on episodes that originally aired with Pratt & McClain's "Happy Days" theme song that replaced Haley's tune.
- In an interesting reversal, the UK version of Season 1 of 24 has a scene not transmitted in the United States: Teri informing Nina of her pregnancy in that series' finale. However, the American syndicated airings on the A&E Channel contain scenes which weren't broadcast during its initial broadcast run (for instance, a longer gunfight between Jack Bauer and the Drazen family in the first season finale).
- MythBusters in the United Kingdom has appeared in two versions. On the Discovery Channel, the show is practically identical to the U.S. original except with an Anglicized voiceover (being more metric friendly, and replacing American terms with British terms where appropriate). The version shown on the BBC is edited down to 30 minutes with a totally different, very over-the-top — and supposedly "funny" — voiceover.
- Meanwhile, down in Australia, MythBusters is repackaged and condensed for use as a segment on the gee-whiz science show Beyond Tomorrow (which is another production by the same production company as Mythbusters). The latter program is then turned around and re-broadcast in America on The Science Channel (owned by Discovery Networks, who make MythBusters in the first place), complete with the "new" version of MythBusters.
- At least it still airs in full on SBS.
- Some of the American DVDs contain the 43-minute episode that you saw on Discovery... but some contain the full 50 minute episode that Beyond Productions made. The cuts in the US-aired versions are all about the commercials.
- Sometimes the American version (and, presumably, other versions) will accumulate so much material that some of it has to be edited out just so that the episode will fit in the time slot; these usually include a quick sting at the end with Adam informing the viewer that they can see the stuff that didn't make it to air on the Discovery channel website.
- Over on another Discovery network, No Reservations also gets a few extra minutes per show in Europe; Lampshaded when they do Clip Shows, during which some of the cut bits are aired for American audiences. Others show up as web extras (as is common for Mythbusters now).
- The British version of Whose Line Is It Anyway? (now on BBC America) has a game cut from each episode, due to added commercials when shown in America.
- When the first season of Roseanne was released on DVD, it contained the syndicated version of many episodes. This was not received well by fans, whose uproar caused those in charge to provide the original uncut episodes in subsequent box sets.
- Reversed when the Sci Fi Channel first aired Star Trek: The Original Series: they restored scenes that had been cut from syndication for almost thirty years, and aired the episodes in an expanded 90-minute timeslot.
- And crammed in an extra 20 minutes worth of commercials.
- The 2006-07 syndicated feed of Beakman's World removes all mention of the mailing address that kids used to send in science questions, which could make new viewers wonder where all those letters they get are coming from.
- Also, for some unknown reason, the same syndicated feed only aired seasons 1 and 4, leaving out seasons 2 and 3 (the Liza episodes).
- Netflix edits out the robotic Eye Catch bumpers, seeing as how there are no commercials to cut to.
- Possibly one of the first shows that fans cared about enough to notice and complain about this sort of thing was Mash. Most egregious in the episode where Hawkeye and BJ try to top each other in pranks. A scene early on has a wounded soldier offering Hawkeye a cigar, which Hawk, Properly Paranoid at this point, refuses and proceeds to "disarm", fearing BJ had put the soldier up to giving Hawkeye an exploding cigar. This scene is cut in syndication, but a callback at the episode's climax, where BJ assures Hawkeye that the incident was innocent, is left in, confusing viewers who haven't seen the full version.
- Large chunks of various 2005-present Doctor Who season finales were removed to make room for commercials when it aired in America on the Sci Fi Channel. (Some find it suspicious that Captain Jack's passing mention of his crush on the Doctor was cut despite lasting all of three seconds)
- The Master's dance number was disappointingly cut out of the season finale on CBC, presumably due to the rest of the things happening in the scene.
- The CBC usually made only minor edits to episodes to fit commercials in, but the fourth season finale, "Journey's End" was butchered, with more than 15 minutes worth of scenes edited out to fit the timeslot. And one episode, "Voyage of the Damned", was never even broadcast. Outcry from fans over this is credited with CBC dropping Doctor Who immediately after and Space picking it up; Space has aired Doctor Who virtually uncut.
- Luckily, the show is mostly uncut on BBC America (which gets it about six months after the Sci-Fi Channel is done with the first run) and PBS (which, like the BBC, does not have commercials). Australia also received the intact episodes.
- The finale wasn't the only episode cut. Almost all the episodes of the revival have about two minutes cut. Among the important things cut include the scene where Jenny was named in "The Doctor's Daughter" and the brief mention of the Torchwood team on "Turn Left" (many believe that scene was picked on purpose because Sci Fi Channel did not own the rights to Torchwood, BBC America did).
- This is all especially baffling. Russell T Davies once claimed that the whole reason they decided to make the new series in 45 minute episodes (as opposed to 50 minutes, or even 60 minutes) is because they wanted to allow enough time for the American networks to insert the commercials, without them having to hack apart bits of the programme. Problem is, a typical "hour-long" TV show in America is only around 43 minutes (first-run shows on the Big 4 broadcast networks are a few minutes longer).
- The Steven Moffat-produced episodes are cut on BBC America (for the repeats, first air/night is uncut), who now own the US rights for Doctor Who after Sci-Fi changed its name and decided it wanted little to do with science fiction anymore. In particular, a set of Chekhov's Gun Arc Words were removed from "'The Eleventh Hour". However, they cut far less than Sci-Fi did and the version of "The Eleventh Hour" they showed was far longer than it ever would be on Sci-Fi (although after the premiere, they show a 45-minute edit in repeats)
- Averted with the Canadian Space Channel; it does uncut broadcasts (with commercials) a few hours after the BBC's initial broadcast.
- The classic series underwent a number of syndication changes during its broadcasts:
- Initially syndicated in the US to commercial stations, episodes were re-edited to accommodate commercials and recaps narrated by actor Howard da Silva were added to most episodes.
- When the series began to be primarily syndicated to commercial-free PBS stations, many affiliates aired "movie" editions in which complete storylines were edited together into films lasting anywhere from 45 minutes (for 2-episode stories) to edits of several hours' duration for longer stories like the 10-episode "The War Games". This involved deleting recaps and other scenes to make the episodes flow better.
- Australian and New Zealand broadcasts were notorious for being censored, especially in the 1960s (though, fortunately for archivists, the censor authorities actually kept the scenes that were cut, which later were used to help restore missing Doctor Who episodes, or at least give a glimpse of lost stories).
- The 90-minute special The Five Doctors was re-edited for syndication as a four-part story. Similarly, the 1985 season, which featured 45-minute episodes rather than the standard 25-minute ones, were re-edited into 25-minute episodes for syndication.
- BBC America routinely shows cut versions of BBC programs. Sometimes during comedy shows a commercial break will cut off the punchline to a joke or obscure a plot point.
- Red Dwarf was once given a test dub for the Japanese market (it's available on the Series I DVD). The episode has nearly 5 minutes of content cut out to fit a Japanese commercial timeslot. It wasn't too obvious at first, seeming to be the standard episodes with Japanese subtitles. However, any British references that the Japanese audience may not get have been crudely edited out, to the point where the entire middle of some scenes are missing and characters sometimes suddenly swap places. The audience reaction wasn't edited either, so laughter can be heard for no reason at some points.
- A now-defunct British satellite channel that made heavy cuts to archive programming was ironically called Granada Plus (italics the editor's).
- Episodes of Highlander: The Series shown in Europe and Canada were slightly longer than those shown in the US; the extra material is referred to as "Eurominutes."
- Little Britain was conceived to air on digital-only BBC Three, and then move over to BBC Two. It proved so successful that The BBC wanted to air the second season on its mainstream service BBC One. However, the creators were more extreme in their material for this season (Crossing the Line Twice in places). Before production, orders were received on high to record Bowdlerized versions of some scenes, on basis that "you can't say cock on BBC One". Results included the cutting from BBC One transmission of a scene involving a carer performing a particular act on an old woman ("it's on the DVD", apparently), and "What that boy (Daffyd) needs is a
nice big cock up his arse nice bit of bum".
- Police, Camera, Action!, a police documentary on ITV4 (a digital-only channel in the United Kingdom) has often cut episodes in syndication. However, it irks the fans, no end. Also, Completely Missing the Point to fans - why edit a documentary in such a way?
- The 1994 episode Danger! Drivers Ahead has two edited versions; one full-length, the other is edited.
- The 1995 episode Tales of the Unexpected has been edited from original version, with 4 - 6 clips of footage removed for some unexplained reason. However, these survive in the published version of the show.
- The 1996 episode Road to Nowhere gets the end music changed - it is normally "The Magic Roundabout"'s theme tune but it gets changed to generic orchestra music for re-broadcasts
- The 1997 episode Enough's Enough also gets re-edited, with footage cut out, and a different version of the end music (Martha And The Vandellas Nowhere to Run is replaced by a Cover Version.)
- The 1997 episode A Lorry Load of Trouble has 4 pieces of footage cut out in re-airings.
- The 1998 episode On The Buses (no relation to On The Buses the TV show) has 4 pieces of footage removed in recent repeats. No explanation is ever given for this, but fans of the show have noticed the re-edited episodes.
- The 1998 episode The Unprotected has the very last bit of footage cut out before the end.
- The episode Getting Their Man from the 2000 series had the music changed from Donna Summer's "Hot Stuff" to "The Stripper" by Joe Loss and his Orchestra. Bizarrely, none of the rest of the series is ever edited for syndication.
- It's probably to make room for commercials, according to television sites discussing ITV. Executive Meddling by ITV, and certainly a pointless one at that. It is believed that the episode originals have rights issues; but copyright is certainly a major point here, and getting clearance from the various police forces is the issue.
- WKRP in Cincinnati is notorious for being heavily edited in syndication; the original series largely used music which was popular during the specific years (late 1970s) in which the series was made, but these hit songs were only licensed for use in the television series over a short time-frame and then removed. The Season 1 DVDs, to fans' dismay, had more music edited out.
- Which resulted in future DVD releases being abandoned.
- Top Gear, as an hour-long BBC show with no room for advert breaks, has to be edited for the repeats on Dave. The cuts tend to be rather abrupt. Some of the music also goes missing due to copyright issues when the show airs on BBC America.
- Dave does that for Dragons' Den and perhaps various Ray Mears shows as well. However, half-hour shows (like pre-Dave Red Dwarf or Catherine Tate) aren't cut - instead, they become 40 minutes and three are shown, which gets them back to the "on the hour" schedule.
- BBC America used to run BBC shows in a 40-minute format. The remaining 20 minutes of the hour would be filled with short-subject films or previews for other shows. They quit doing this and began just hacking into the sitcoms to make them fit the 30-minutes-with-commercials template. "Red Dwarf" was shown in its complete format the first time BBCA aired it. By the time is was ready to repeat the show, it had edited all of the episodes dramatically.
- QI averts this, as the longer QI XL (45 mins) has been picked up for the channel, as of Series F- this is uncut, but fills an entire hour of schedule.
- UKTV, the larger network of channels responsible for Dave, receives a lot of criticism for cutting documentary programmes to fit normal schedules while leaving comedy intact.
- Law & Order: Criminal Intent: the dialog is sometimes censored in syndicated airings. Also, certain shots have been blurred.
- Many of the blurred shots tend to be in the opening credits, to avoid having to pay actors whose faces appear in them.
- When Sex and the City started airing in syndication, two different versions were made: one for TBS that kept most of the sexually explicit dialogue and digitally covered up most of the nudity with underwear and aired late at night and a heavily edited one for regular daytime syndication, that purged all nude scenes and removed/redubbed the bulk of the sexually explicit content and lines. With TBS no longer airing the show, the second bowlderized version has become the default syndicated version, as seen on E!
- In late 60's/70's syndication and original NBC summer re-airings of The Monkees, songs from earlier albums in the "romp" sequences were sometimes replaced by tracks from their then-recent albums.
- Also played straight, with some romps being entirely cut for time. Ironically, some of these romps had only been included in the original episode because they were too SHORT.
- For more recent syndication (Antenna TV, etc.), all the "romps' were kept in their entirety, with many of the original songs intact. However, they are now SPED UP at an annoyingly fast pace to save time (see Adrenaline Time).
- The Buffy musical episode "Once More With Feeling" ran 1:10 on its first showing, and has almost 10 minutes cut from it in the syndicated version shown in the US (though the full version was regularly shown in Canada, in a 1 hour time slot.)
- An episode of Remington Steele actually used this practice as a major plot point: The killer du jour had used a co-worker as an alibi, noting that the two had watched a classic TV show together at the time of the murder (unbeknownst to the co-worker, the culprit had used a VCR and reset the clocks; but it turned out that due to syndication, the scene the two had watched together had been cut.
- Both Walking With Dinosaurs and Walking With Beasts were edited significantly when aired on the Discovery Channel, apparently for time.
- The Future Is Wild actually had at least two different edited versions made. It originally aired as a 13-episode series, was significantly edited into a two-hour special when aired on US TV (each time period lost one habitat, among other things). Then a longer version was created later, restoring some (but not all) of the removed content
- Played with on Its Garry Shandlings Show. The show started (commercial free) on cable but was later picked up by the Fox Network and shown both with and without commercials. At one point Gary announced to the audience that they had gone to commercial but that the cable viewers shouldn't worry and proceeded to put on a Carmen miranda outfit and did a short dance
- Although Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? was originally on ITV, which when it was filmed showed adverts in all its programmes, a few re-runs on other networks seem to be pretty abruptly cut and pasted - for example, much of the banter between the host and contestant is removed, as are the sections between one contestant leaving and the Fastest Finger First round. One episode skips the last question of the show entirely but strangely doesn't skip the pre-question status mention.
- McCloud is surely one of the worst victims. The first season, before the show was expanded to either 90 or 120 minutes as part of The NBC Mystery Movie franchise, consisted of six one-hour episodes. For syndication, these were chopped up and combined into 3 90-minute episodes, each of which haphazardly combined the plots of two separate episodes with hasty re-dubbing and re-editing. On DVD, these cuts are not restored.
- Quincy reversed this problem; the first episodes were part of The NBC Mystery Movie in its final season, and these 90-minute shows were later cut for 60-minute slots in syndication.
- Pretty much every American TV series sold into syndication suffers from this. Since the shows are routinely syndicated to local stations throughout the country, each will make cuts to fit commercials from local advertisers. Therefore, people in different markets can get different scenes/lines cut.
- Also occurs when a US series is sold to another country. British channels often have breaks where the US version didn't, whereas the parts with two seconds of black screen (where the US version would have had a break) are intact. For example, the re-runs of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, where a few episodes even have a break after the Cold Open, the result being that part 2 opens with the titles.
- As a gimmick in the Jeff Zucker era, NBC sometime had its shows do special episodes which are slightly longer than the standard half-hour/twenty-two minutes formula, called a "supersized" episode. When they reach syndication, or even reruns, they're trimmed down to the usual length or, if there's enough extra footage, stretched out into a two-parter; a couple of Friends episodes are incomplete or presented in SD in the show's Blu-ray release for this reason because the additional scenes weren't part of the syndicated cuts. Now that Jeff Zucker is gone from NBC though this doesn't happen any longer.
- Most of the BBC's natural history programming from the past couple of years has a rather obvious way to get around this - the British broadcast has a 50-minute show followed by a 10-minute behind-the-scenes slot, which can easily be removed to make space for adverts.
- When Green Acres was broadcast in Malaysia, all scenes with Arnold the Pig were edited out so as to not offend Muslim sensibilities. This meant that in some cases, the human characters were having one-sided conversations with an Arnold who never replied.
- BET's run of the HBO series The Wire is a truly epic case of being edited down for syndication - this time, to appeal to a very specific audience. The network has only aired the first four seasons, and while seasons 1,3, and 4 aired with just minimum censorship for content and in 90 minute blocks, season two (which primarily focuses on the plight of caucasian dock workers in Baltimore) was absolutely butchered. The second-season episodes were cut down to run in an hour-long block, and a massive number of scenes crucial to the storyline (mostly focusing on Jimmy McNulty's investigation and Frank Sobotka's crew) were axed, leaving plot holes (such as the background regarding the rivalry between the dock workers union and the police union, which is the real reason the Major Crimes Unit reformed and launched an investigation on the dock workers, being entirely chopped out) and rendering the season's themes castrated. Interestingly, the entire plot of the second season changed as a result of these cuts (roughly 20 minutes chopped from each episode), as the entire dock subplot took a backseat to the drug storyline (which was minor at that point).
- Reruns of The Mickey Mouse Club were shortened down to 30 minutes from the hour long length they originally aired in.
- Saturday Night Live has at least five syndicated versions of itself:
- The NBC Rerun: This is the version that airs during the weeks when SNL doesn't have any new episodes, usually between new episodes, during major holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter), or when the season ends or is on hiatus because of a writers' strike (as was the case for seasons six, ten, thirteen, and 33). It's 90 minutes long (just like a typical first-run episode), has the phrase, "Previously Recorded From An Earlier Broadcast" during the opening credits, and has dress rehearsal scenes (and, in some cases, sketches) to replace the live show footage (either for content reasons, to fix a technical error or missed cue, or to make a sketch/segment funnier after flopping badly on its first-run). This cut is the same one that airs on the West Coast.
- The 60-Minute Rerun: This is the version of SNL that aired on the cable channels Comedy Central and E! Entertainment. It's Exactly What It Says on the Tin: a rerun of an SNL episode cut down to roughly an hour (minus commercial breaks). This version includes note the best and funniest sketches from a given episode while weeding out the sketches that weren't as good and the second song by the musical guest is cut for time. Originally, Comedy Central aired Saturday Night Live episodes from the 1970s to the 1980s (barring the Jean Doumanian episodes, except for the Bill Murray/Delbert McClinton episode, and the last episode of season six, which had no host, but included guest appearances by Chevy Chase, Robin Williams, and Christopher Reeve, with a musical performance by Jr. Walker and the All-Stars), but after a while, those got phased out for the episodes from the mid-to-late 1980s to the 1990s (seasons 12 to 25), then those got phased out for episodes from the 1990s to the early 2000s (seasons 21 to 27). After Comedy Central picked up MADtv in place of SNL, E! aired the 1990s to the early 2000s episodes, but also added episodes from seasons 28, 29, and 30. NBC is now airing one-hour cuts of their SNL episodes at 10:00pm Saturday nights (provided a sports telecast doesn't run over) starting with episodes from season 38 (2012-2013 season).
- The VH-1 and VH-1 Classic Reruns: Similar to the Comedy Central and E! reruns (in which the show is condensed to one-hour, leaving in only the best sketches, Weekend Update jokes, and one musical performance), only the episodes that air on VH-1 and VH-1 Classic are from seasons 28 to 37 (with some occasional episodes from seasons 24 to 27), with some "Best of" clip show episodes and the occasional behind-the-scenes special about the show's history. The "Best of" clip shows and the "behind-the-scenes" documentaries are the only 90-minute reruns of SNL ever aired on cable TV.
- The Nick At Nite Rerun: These were 30-minute reruns of SNL that aired in the early-to-mid 1980s, often with an hour-long syndicated cut of SCTV: Network 90. The episodes used were from the "Not Ready for Primetime"-era (fall of 1975 to spring of 1980), though episodes from seasons four and five were shown more often than seasons 1-3.
- The HA! Network Rerun note : A season seven SNL episode hosted by Susan St. James was the first program that aired when The HA! Network premiered. It (and other episodes) aired pretty much the same way as an NBC rerun (full 90-minute version with dress rehearsal footage added when necessary), but HA! Network only aired SNL episodes from when Dick Ebersol was executive producer (between 1981 and 1985), which was when the Susan St. James episode aired.
- The Comedy Network Rerunnote : This edited version of SNL is similar to the NBC rerun (airs for 90 minutes with little or no edits), only Comedy Network airs all of the season six episodes produced by Jean Doumanian in addition to airing the good (or So Okay, It's Average) episodes from both Lorne Michaels eras (fall 1975-spring 1980 and fall 1985-present) and Dick Ebersol's era (spring 1981-spring 1985).
- The Xfinity Streampix On-Demand/Hulu/Netflix Version: Like the Comedy Central/E!/VH-1 version, in that only the best material is shown and everything else is edited for copyright reasons, time, or just not being funny or memorable with viewers, only the episodes range from lasting 15 minutes to 58 minutes, depending on how much has been edited. Also, the season 30 episode hosted by Kate Winslet with musical guest Eminem is not there.
- MADtv first aired in syndication on local TV stations, under the title, "The Best of MADtv." Only the first two seasons aired. The show then got picked up by Spike TV (back when it was TNN — The Nashville Network, a channel dedicated to everything that most people would consider "redneck" or "trailer trash") and aired the first two seasons, followed by seasons 3-5. The local station and TNN cuts of MADtv were 30 minutes long (MADtv runs their show for an hour while SNL runs for 90 minutes [an hour and a half], and, much like the reruns from Saturday Night Live, the ones for MADtv only had the best material from a given episode while leaving the weaker, less funny stuff on the cutting room floor). The TNN reruns were off before anyone noticed and eventually the show found its way to Comedy Central after E! acquired the rights to air Saturday Night Live (MADtv's long-standing rival). Comedy Central aired seasons 1-7 of MADtv in their full, hour-long version [with some bleeping and/or muting for obscene language], and as the years went by, seasons 8, 9, 10, and 11 were added as well (seasons 12 and 13 were only shown on Comedy Central's Canadian sister channel, Comedy Network, and the final season [season 14] has yet to be aired on either channel). In 2008, Comedy Central phased out the first seven seasons of MADtv in favor of the episodes from seasons 8-11, and those episodes have been running until 2010, when MADtv was dropped from the syndication schedule in favor of reruns of reruns of canceled Comedy Central original programming, exports of canceled animated comedies (i.e. Futurama, The Goode Family, and Sit Down, Shut Up), more movies, and more stand-up specials.
- MADtv even parodied the practice to hell and back, with a PAXnote version of an episode of The Sopranos that removed all the swearing, sex, and violence, bringing its 40+ minute run time to just under three minutes. Once upon a time, it was merely a commentary on how the frank, HBO-style depictions of sex, violence, and foul language would be edited on any channel that wasn't a premium cable channel. Now, the idea of an Edited for Syndication Sopranos is a reality, only it's syndicated on A&E and a bit more well-done than what MADtv showed.
- When Monty Python's Flying Circus was aired on ABC in 1975, it was heavily condensed, rearranged and edited all to hell for content, completely destroying the sketches — leading to a situation where the group had to go to court to prove their own material wasn't funny when treated thus and get it taken off the air. Apparently the trial was hilarious. In The Pythons Autobiography, Michael Palin describes trying to tell the judge about a sketch set in a courtroom where the judge keeps interrupting the prosecutor to ask questions about the witness's gaiters, and having the American judge keep interrupting to ask what gaiters are.
- A side effect of this dispute was that the Pythons obtained the copyright to their own series, something that has never happened with any other BBC show. The DVD releases are not on BBC Video or its partner comany 2|Entertain, and the packaging doesn't credit the BBC at all.
- The DVDs A&E distributed in America have some sketches missing. For example, the episode "How Not To Be Seen" had one of its cartoon segments cut short to remove scenes of Jesus crucified to a telephone pole.
- The episode with "A Book At Bedtime" originally opened with a choreographed party political broadcast. Time-Life, the original distributors, accidentally erased this opening so upon changing distributors it now opens with a quick captioning gag. The first A&E DVD release omits the ending, the preview of upcoming BBC comedies.
- Particularly noticeable in NCIS. Every new segment (i.e. when returning from a commercial) starts with a 2 second Black and White still shot of how this segment will end. When syndicated, you'll get at least one segment per episode that doesn't end with the preordained image, and then doesn't start up with the customary lead-in after the commercials.
- In Australia, they've apparently figured out how to make their own in house. You can still tell though, 'cause the DIY ones aren't still images. Which, if you're familiar with the show, is possibly even more jarring.
- GSN's airings of classic game shows usually have ticket fee plugs removed and prize plugs crunched to small size to accommodate promos for upcoming shows. Many shows are also time-compressed, which would normally not be an issue — but they tend to do it really poorly, resulting in parts of the show sounding like the Micro Machines man. Their replays of classic black-and-white shows (Bill Cullen's version of The Price Is Right among others) usually have ticket plugs and sweepstakes mailing information excised, as well as having shows with cigarettes as sponsors for those particular shows excluded from replays.
- Stargate SG-1's single 90-minute episode, "Threads," is cut down to 1 hour for syndication.
- The Tracey Ullman Show was shown on BBC2 without the animated segments - that's right, they cut out The Simpsons. No wonder it took so long to start on UK terrestrial television.
- There was a syndicated version of Knight Rider in which each episode was cut down to fit in a half hour time slot—which means that they mostly just kept the action scenes, and left out all the bits in between that explained why the action was supposedly necessary.
- There was a similar cut of B.J. and the Bear.
- The American cable channel TNT not only edits for commercials, but changes the timing of commercial breaks. After the opening teaser and credits, there should be a commercial break. Instead, TNT runs the first act directly after the opening credits. This means they later hack into the middle of another scene to put in the ads that should have run at the beginning. It's jarring.
- The original Muppet Show had one skit per episode cut out for American broadcast; the DVD releases that have the trivia subtitles point this out ("This was the UK Spot for this episode"). Also, the pilot of The Muppet Show was most certainly NOT aired in America under the title "Sex & Violence".
- When reruns aired on Nickelodeon, the UK spots were included in most broadcasts, but other material had to be cut to allow for it.
- And then, there's the DVDs themselves, which contain a few episodes so badly cut down due to licensing issues, it may well be a self-imposed Macekre. Fortunately, seasons 2 and 3 came to DVD uncut.
- FOX sought to test the waters in the late 90s with a thirty minute re-edit of Ally McBeal for a quick cash-in for syndication at the height of the show's popularity. Effectively they purged the first two seasons of all courtroom related scenes/drama material in order to present it as a comedy show, which created episodes that had huge plot holes, such as the elimination of Lucy Liu's character's entire introduction episode and having her just randomly showing up in the cast without an introduction. Incidentally this half-hour version never saw syndication.
- The original opening titles and closing credits of Gomer Pyle, showing him continually failing to keep aligned with groups of marching soldiers changing direction, have not been seen since the series first ran on CBS in prime time (the replacement credits first appeared when the network itself aired daily reruns in the afternoon, where they also eliminated all "tag scenes" from the episodes, resulting in plots often left unresolved!).
- For many years, reruns of The Partridge Family had the audio of the opening titles of the first season, which had different, "introductory" theme song lyrics, replaced with audio from the later seasons.
- Reruns of the Screen Gems series Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie had opening-titles audio that varied for different seasons "standarized" to audio from one particular season: in Jeannie's case, all color seasons had third-season audio (with its visuals that included Sidney Sheldon's creator-credit, which had been absent from the second season); both monochrome seasons of Bewitched had the audio of the first season. At times, both series have also had the monochrome version of their opening animation replaced with the color version shown monochrome; for Jeannie, this happened in early years of reruns (also using the color-episodes theme music); for Bewitched, this has been done for reruns in the recent years. The DVDs for Jeannie's second season even have the original opening-title visuals for the "Girl Who Never Had a Birthday" episodes (lacking Sidney Sheldon's creator credit) dubbed with third-season audio.
- Reruns of MythQuest have very noticeable cuts, although different channels edit out different amounts. In one case, they cut out the middle of a character's sentence, but left the rest of the line in.
- Friends is edited when it is aired on Nick at Nite to fit in more commercials, which often results in several jokes missing from many episodes.
- On the Hulu Plus version of Monday Night RAW, only the best matches/segments are left in while the other matches/segments (usually involving mid-carders, jobbers, and Divas) are cut from the broadcast.
- Series/Dinosaurs started having cold opens in the third season, but reruns show a cold open before every episode (moving the first scene before the opening), in addition to including the third and fourth season theme in episodes from the first two seasons.
- In 1989, A Muppet Family Christmas was re-edited, removing a few scenes for time (including a scene where Fozzie's mom hangs his stocking), adding new fade-ins, putting some of the audio over shots of a fireplace and Christmas tree, and removing some of the background music. This version has been used for all subsequent rebroadcasts and video releases (which remove more scenes due to music rights).
- The Star Wars Radio Dramas adaptation of A New Hope had this done to it twice:
- First when it was broadcast by The BBC shortly after its original run (they didn't carry the other two series), and edited by them for timing. Most of the cuts are just nips and tucks to long bits of dialogue, but there's a particularly egregious one in Episode 13, not only losing the scene where Motti conspires with Tarkin to overthrow the Emperor, but violating the show's format whereby major scene transitions are always accompanied by music.
- Second when NPR decided to lengthen the closing credits. The cut material includes a rather touching scene in Episode 2, where which Leia tells her father about a pleasant stroll she took on Alderaan. Unfortunately most of the home audio releases use the cut version.
- Parodied by Square Root of Minus Garfield strip #1275, "Square Root of Minus The Arbuckle Family in Reruns", which consists of a previous Square Root strip, with a panel removed.
- The syndicated version of South Park is rated TV-14. This is done by extensive bleeping of curse words, trimming scenes for offensive dialogue that can't be bleeped, and in scenes vital to the plot, replacing them with black screens with humorous short descriptions of the offensive scene (e.g., "Red Hot Catholic Love"'s Running Gag of people defecating from their mouths). Furthermore, due to Parker and Stone having final say over the "censored" cuts of their episodes, certain episodes (such as "It Hits the Fan") were withheld from the syndication package. Ironically though, certain other episodes with questionable content have been heavily featured in syndication, including:
- "Jared Has Aides" (banned from Comedy Central for mocking AIDS, as well as Butters getting physically abused by his parents for making a crank call)
- The seldom-broadcasted "Death" (banned by Comedy Central for the subplot about Stan's grandfather badgering Stan to assist him with suicide, as well as the gang talking about huffing gasoline, smoking crack, and watching porn)
- Syndicated episodes of The Simpsons are often butchered. Mostly these cuts are for time constraints, though there have been times where episodes were edited for content. In "Marge Gets a Job," references to Bart having Tourette's Syndrome [and Bart's subsequent barking and snarling of "Shove it, witch!" to Mrs. Krabappel] were redubbed with "Rabies." Show creator Matt Groening expressed disdain for this practice on the show's season one DVD set.
- The opening credits of most syndicated episodes are also cut down, usually deleting Lisa's sax solo and Bart's chalkboard punishment gag and skateboarding through town the cutting straight to the "couch gag" (in most syndicated episodes, the couch gag used is the one from season five's "Rosebud"note where the family rush to the couch, only to find an exact clone of them already on the couch).
- Inverted on the [adult swim] broadcast of Family Guy, which is fine with having TV-MA rated episode, whereas FOX episodes are limited to TV-14. This means they include unedited versions of scenes that were were cut or altered for being too disgusting, long, or raunchy for FOX broadcasts. Generally the Adult Swim version is the same as the one included on the DVD. On the other hand, the network syndicated versions (at least the ones that air between 5:00pm and 7:00pm on local affiliates) are FOX cut episodes that have episodes cut even further to remove content that was okay to air on FOX, but not on whatever local affiliate is airing the show.
- Certain scenes in DuckTales, such as a scene in the pilot where Dewey breaks apart a robot's power cord and scenes depicting gunplay (such as Scrooge attempting to shoot Fenton in the "Super DuckTales" serial), were cut when shown in cable syndication such as on Toon Disney. These scenes are thankfully restored on the DVD sets. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for DVDs of other Disney Afternoon shows that were edited in reruns (such as TaleSpin and Darkwing Duck).
- Daria's run on The N suffered from this, removing any and all scenes of cursing, sex references, or darkly humorous content — and episodes that couldn't be cut without turning the episode into a lopped, cropped, and chopped mess were simply left unaired (i.e., "My Night At Daria's," where everyone thinks Daria and Tom slept together after they both fell asleep while studying in Daria's room). One episode, "The F Word", was even renamed "Fail". The three worst parts were that the cursing was cut on a random basis (One character might say "damn" in one scene and then cut in the next scene or even later in the same scene), some cuts ended up causing plot holes. and that The N would air Degrassi: The Next Generation, which has a content level higher than Daria (Daria is TV-PG with Degrassi at TV-14) uncut. Reasons are unknown, but it's speculated that it only happened to Daria because it's a cartoon and networks don't treat animated shows as fairly as live-action shows—at least in America.
- Reruns on Logo replace the original music with soundalikes like the DVD release. The N's repeats (2002-2006) kept the music due to the music rights being different for both the broadcast and retail releases of the show. By the time Logo got the show (2010), all of the rights had lapsed and cut out the ending credits, instead opting to run them over the last minute of the episode, which seems to to be the norm for most Viacom owned networks as of recently. However, all of the content The N had cut was retained.
- Hanna-Barbera shows from 1971 and 1972 had a portion of episodes made but not screened during their first season runs (i.e.: in the Hair Bear Bunch episode "Closed Circuit TV," the Slap Jack card game with the bears and Bananas the Gorilla being broken up by Peevly). They were added in during their second-season airings, but the scenes have not been shown in subsequent syndication and cable/satellite airings. Some scattered episodes have had scenes removed because, according to Warner Home Video, the scenes either no longer exist or their physical status is in question.
- In the syndicated runs of Liberty's Kids, the "Liberty News Network" (LNN) breaks were cut; they were purposely designed for the PBS broadcasts to fill time where ad breaks went.
- Gargoyles. The controversial gun safety episode "Deadly Force", which dealt with Broadway accidentally shooting Elisa Maza, has been under heavy editing by Toon Disney in syndication. The scene in question shows a wounded main character lying in a pool of her own blood. The episode was initially dropped entirely from the show's run when syndicated in Toon Disney's Jetix line up. However, Toon Disney aired the rest of the myth-arc shows in order and Elisa went from being healthy to wearing a cast and on crutches. The episode did end up airing, but the part where Elisa is shown wounded was cropped so her blood couldn't be seen.
- When episodes from The Smurfs cartoon show started appearing in the syndicated Smurfs Adventures show, there were not only cuts from the shorter episodes to make two of them fit within a 30-minute showing time, but there were also episodes where the audio was noticeably sped up, resulting in the Smurfs and even Gargamel sounding more helium-ish. Some of the season set volumes of The Smurfs that were released in Australia and the United Kingdom even featured the episodes that were edited for syndication instead of their original unedited versions.
- Rocky and Bullwinkle has had a variety of edits over the years. There were two primary syndication packages, the 15-minute "Rocky Show" and the more common "Bullwinkle Show", the later of which, ironically, only includes Rocky and Bullwinkle segments from the last season that was titled The Bullwinkle Show, but all of the segments that originated on Rocky and His Friends. Cut from syndication as well as the VHS releases are the Bullwinkle puppet sequences (some were included on DVD as bonus material as opposed to part of the main program) and the commercial intros (which were included on the DVDs).
- In the original broadcasts, the show's structure was: Rocky and Bullwinkle, Fractured Fairy Tales/Aesop and Son, Bullwinkle's Corner/Mr. Know-It-Al/Bullwinkle Fan Club, Peabody's Improbable History/Dudley Do-Right, and Rocky and Bullwinkle. The Bullwinkle Show syndication package follows this format a little, but also includes either Bullwinkle's Corner, Mr. Know-It-All, or the Fan Club at the end, before the credits. Last season reruns actually include three Rocky and Bullwinkle segments and only one non-Bullwinkle supporting feature (though all four parts of the last storyarc, Moosylvania Saved, are shown in the same half hour). Additionally, installments of the various supporting segments are often not the same as originally paired together on television, with them usually being shown out of order (Mr. Know-It-All and Fan Club segments were added in season three, but this syndication package includes those segments in earlier episodes).
- Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network both aired reruns with their own special opening sequence (both of which reuse animation from the show). Nickelodeon's reruns featured episodes from both syndication packages but also showed three Rocky and Bullwinkle segments an episode, while Cartoon Network's broadcasts titled it "The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show", cut out the opening for the first "Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle" segment in the episode, but was otherwise the same as the "Bullwinkle Show" syndication package.
- The Buena Vista Home Video releases don't include the Rocky and His Friends or The Bullwinkle Show openings (instead starting with the opening used for "The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle" segments), and at least two chapters of each "Rocky and Bullwinkle" storyline are edited together into one, cutting the next episodes "titles" and the recap at the beginning of the next episode. In some cases entire chapters were omitted for time.
- Back when Noggin was co-owned by Sesame Workshop, all of Sesame Workshop's programming that aired on the channel (including Sesame Street, The Electric Company, and Square One TV) would be edited to make room for commercials (those shows were originally broadcast on the commercial-free PBS).