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'. The rule was repealed in 1996, but the affiliates have resisted in giving any time slots back.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.
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!!Examples of First Run Syndicated shows

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[[folder: Shows in First Run Syndication for their entire run]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TwoStupidDogs''
* ''WesternAnimation/AdventuresOfTheGalaxyRangers''
* ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars''
* ''WesternAnimation/BikerMiceFromMars''
* ''WesternAnimation/BionicSix''
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Bravestarr}}''
* ''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/{{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}}''
* ''Series/MutantX''
* ''[[WesternAnimation/PotsworthAndCompany Midnight Patrol]]''
* ''WesternAnimation/MonsterForce''
* ''Series/{{Monsters}}''
* ''Series/TheMuppetShow''
* ''WesternAnimation/TheNewAdventuresOfHeMan''
* ''Series/OutOfThisWorld''
* ''Series/ThePeoplesCourt''
* ''Series/ThePinkertons''
* ''WesternAnimation/RamboTheForceOfFreedom''
* ''Anime/{{Robotech}}''
* ''Anime/SaberRiderAndTheStarSheriffs''
* ''WesternAnimation/SheRaPrincessOfPower''
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Silverhawks}}''
* ''WesternAnimation/SkyCommanders''
* ''Series/SmallWonder''
* ''Series/SoulTrain''
* ''WesternAnimation/SpiralZone''
* ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine''
* ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration''
* ''WesternAnimation/StuntDawgs''
* ''Series/SuperForce''
* ''WesternAnimation/SWATKats''
* ''WesternAnimation/TaleSpin'' (after a sneak preview on Disney Channel)
* ''Series/TalesFromTheDarkside''
* ''WesternAnimation/ThunderCats1985''
* ''WesternAnimation/TheTransformers''
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Visionaries}}''
* ''Anime/{{Voltron}}''
* ''Series/WarOfTheWorlds''
* ''Series/XenaWarriorPrincess''
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Shows in both first-run syndicated and network run]]
* ''WesternAnimation/AdventuresOfTheGummiBears'': Ran on NBC 1985-89, {{Channel Hop}}ped to ABC 1989-90, final season ran as part of ''The Disney Afternoon'' in 1990.
* ''Series/AmericanBandstand'': Began on local UsefulNotes/{{Philadelphia}} station WFIL 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/SciFiChannel 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
* ''WesternAnimation/DarkwingDuck'': After a sneak preview on Creator/DisneyChannel, ran concurrently on FRS and ABC
* ''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 1968, 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
* ''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 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/TheRealGhostbusters'': Debuted on ABC in 1986, began a concurrent run on FRS with new episodes in 1987
* ''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''.
* ''WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles1987'': Debuted in FRS in 1987, also ran on CBS starting in 1990.
* ''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/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.
* ''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/{{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]]

[[folder: After Shows that were FRS]]
* ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration''
* ''The Munsters Today!''
* ''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!!!''
[[/folder]]
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