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Episode Code Number

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Most shows have titles for each episode, but there's also internal episode code numbers. These are codes given to each episode to help identify them, and usually match the broadcast order unless the episodes are for whatever reason (usually Executive Meddling) shuffled around.

There are three main ways to code episodes:

  • Sequential Numbering: The first episode is given the code "#1" and the numbers increment from there. This is the standard way to number long-running programs that don't have episode titles, such as Game Shows.
  • Seasonal Numbering: The code is a number that's a bit like hotel room numbers - the last two digits are the episode number, while the first one or two digits are the season number. So "#421" would be the 21st episode of Season 4. This can also be written as "4x21", "4.21", "4-21", or "S04E21".note 
  • Weird Numbering: The episode codes here are a jumble of alphanumerics. Internally, this probably is useful for something, but only the die-hard fans will bother to learn the code. Casual fans will probably apply one of the above codes to the episodes.

Pilot episodes usually aren't given a code, although some have a "season 1" code with an out-of-sequence episode number like 00, 99 or 79 (a strange yet surprisingly common number for pilots). Pilots with no code may be retroactively labeled "episode 0" for the sake of consistency.


  • 20th Century Fox Television has a tradition of funky episode coding with its shows, changing its system every decade or so. A thorough guide can be seen here, but to summarize:
    • Shows up to the 1969-70 season used a four-digit code where the first two indicated the series and season (often the second digit remained constant and the first one incremented each season) and the last two were the episode number. For example, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis began with 34xx in 1959-60, then 44xx in 1960-61, 54xx in 1961-62 and 64xx in 1962-63, while Daniel Boone began with 74xx in 1964-65, then 84xx in 1965-66, 94xx in 1966-67, 14xx in 1967-68, 30xx in 1968-69 and 50xx in 1969-70.
    • Starting with the 1970-71 season, the first two digits became a hyphenated letter-number prefix, which was seemingly assigned at random for each production season of each series: for example, the episode code for M*A*S*H goes J-3xx, K-4xx, B-3xx, G-5xx, U-8xx, Y-1xx, T-4xx, S-6xx, Z-4xx, 1-Gxx, 9-Bxx through its ten-season run. In 1981-82 the prefix became number-letter (as can be seen in the M*A*S*H example) and by the mid-1980s the hyphen was dropped. The Simpsons debuted in that era with the famous 7Gxx code, which inspired the name of Sector 7G of the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant.
    • In 1990-91 the code was standardized, with the number corresponding to the calendar year starting with 7 in 1990-91 and going from 9 in 1992-93 to 1 in 1993-94, and the letter corresponding to a series, such as "F" for The Simpsons note , "X" for (what else?) The X-Files, "S" for Space: Above and Beyond and "E" for King of the Hill.
    • The current system, adopted in 1997-98, uses a four-character prefix where the first one is the season number (The Simpsons initially used letters since it was already above nine seasons at the time of the switch note ) and the remaining three is the series code pulled from an alphabetical sequence, such as "ACX" for Family Guy or "ACV" for Futurama. Series previously under the old system had "AB" added to their existing letter (e.g. "F" became "ABF"); "AA_" codes were never used. Due to the complicated-looking codes this system produces, simplifications have sometimes been made, such as some online TV guides coding The Simpsons episodes past Season 9 with a simple season-episode number (e.g. CABF06 becomes 1206) or David X. Cohen dropping the "ACV" when referring to Futurama episodes (e.g. 4ACV10 becomes 410).
  • For some reason, Archer is sometimes aired out of order on FX, which results in some minor continuity errors. For example, in season-1-episode-3 "Diversity Hire" Cyril calls Cheryl "Carina", even though she only changes her name to that in season-1-episode-4 "Killing Utne". Another error is when Bilbo dies in season-4-episode-8 "Coyote Lovely", but his death is mentioned season-4-episode-6 "Once Bitten". The only way to get absolutely perfect continuity of the show is to watch it according to its episode codes, listed here.
  • Shows like The Daily Show or The Colbert Report have sequential episode numbers, because episodes don't have titles, and seasons aren't as important to this kind of show. Due to the news-esque nature of the shows, it's more convenient to just refer to episodes by their airdates.
  • Doctor Who used an increasing number of letters from Seasons 1-26 (A-Z, then AA/BB/etc. and later 4C, 7D, etc.), then Seasonal Numbering with the revival. A list is here. Note the three codes for The Trial of a Time Lord — that 14-part story is effectively made up of four separate chunks (The Mysterious Planet, Mindwarp, Terror of the Vervoids, and The Ultimate Foe), with the last two produced together as a single block and sharing a code (7C). Also notice that the codes for some Season 30 (Series 4) episodes don't match the broadcast order — this isn't a case of Executive Meddling, but of the show's creators altering the plot as the season was being filmed; they kept the original codes to avoid confusion.
    • According to the BBC, the current run of Doctor Who is not the same as the old run, thus the Tenth Doctor ended his tenure in "Doctor Who (2005) Series 4".
    • Big Finish gives the production code "8A" to the 1996 film, and their Who audio dramas with Paul McGann continue the numbering as you'd expect (8B, 8C...).
    • The codes skips some letters if the production team of the time thought could be confused for other letters or numbers, althought inevitably, this is inconsistent. One spin-off short story was written as the paratext for the Uninstallment Serial I, between "Reign of Terror" and "Planet of the Giants".
  • Lexx had episode numbers that are one season off. The pilot films are numbered 1.0, 2.0, 3.0, and 4.0, like the version numbers for computer software. The first "full season" (Mantrid) was numbered onscreen as 2.xx, the second one (Fire and Water) is numbered 3.xx, and the third one (Little Blue Planet) has 4.xx numbers.
  • Lost numbered its episodes hour by hour, such that a two-hour season finale is considered internally to be two episodes. As a result, "The Variable" was promoted as the 100th episode when in fact it was actually the 96th episode and the 100th hour.
    • On the DVD commentaries, the pilot is not counted toward the total; "Tabula Rasa" is referred to as the first episode, so by this logic "The Variable" should've been #95.
    • Not a unique phenomenon, as many programs have a two-hour opener or finale. In the case of Heroes, the opening credits even named the two episodes separately and billed the credits as such.
  • Telltale Games' Sam & Max: Freelance Police series uses the "Seasonal Numbering" method.
  • Mythbusters, due to the number of special episodes that may or may not be part of a series, has seen fans using several different and contradictory schemes. Of course, Mythbusters is unusually well-suited for "the one with..." designations, so many fans simply name the episode by its primary myth.
  • While not the official codes, Pokémon: The Series episodes are among the fandom generally assigned a two-letter prefix (EP, AG, DP, BW, XY, SM, JN, HZ, or SS) followed by a three-digit episode number. "EP038", for example, is the 38th episode of the original series ("Electric Soldier Porygon"). "AG049" refers to the 49th episode of the Advanced Generation series, and so on. "DP" refers to the Diamond & Pearl series, "BW" to the Black & White series, "XY" to the XY series, "SM" to Sun & Moon series, "JN" to Journeys series, "HZ" to Horizons series, and "SS" to the "side-story" episodes occasionally shown on Weekly Pokémon Broadcasting Station or Pokémon Sunday, dubbed under the Pokémon Chronicles banner or as individual specials. The movies are designated with an M followed by a two-digit number ("M01" being...well, The First Movie), and a small handful of episodes do not have codes as a result of being aired Out of Order. Bulbapedia has this pretty much standardized and refers to them as epicodes.
  • The Season 4 premiere of Teen Titans is actually titled "Episode 257-494", its production number. As a gag, Control Freak's prisoner number is shown in a mugshot as 257-325, the production number of his first appearance.
  • The KTMA season of Mystery Science Theater 3000 is assigned "KXX" codes, such as K07 note . These episodes are identified as "Season Zero" to differentiate them from the national run of the series on Comedy Central and Syfy.
  • USA Network's former late-night interstitial program, USA Up All Night (1989-98), labeled each episode by the first two digits of the year it aired and the last two digits of which episode of the day it was (Fridays or Saturdays). For example, episode #9101 meant that it was the first show of the year 1991 note  for both Fridays and Saturdays. A number would be skipped over if USA Network preempted the program with something else, which very rarely happened.
  • Many ABC shows used a code of [show number]-[show initials]-[calendar year]. Among the known examples are:
    • The original Dark Shadows used "DRK". For example, the last show of 1967 (#395 overall) was #260-DRK-67, and the first show of 1968 (episode #396) was #1-DRK-68.
    • General Hospital used "HSP". For example, the episode aired December 1, 1978 was #229-HSP-78 and the December 17, 1980 show was #238-HSP-80.
    • The Hollywood Palace (a 1964-70 variety show) used "HP". For example, the fourth episode of Season 4 (aired October 8, 1966) was #41-HP-66.
    • AMC = All My Children
    • OLL = One Life to Live
    • EON = The Edge of Night
    • RYN = Ryan's Hope
    • THC = Three's Company
    • DAT = The Dating Game
  • The Tandem/T.A.T./TOY/Embassy/ELP shows (1970-97) labeled each episode by a four-digit-code. The first two digits were the season number, and the next two digits were the episode number. For example, episode #0101 was the pilot episode.
    • The DLT Entertainment-produced Three's Company used the same production code.
  • Filmation's The Ghost Busters (the 1975 live-action Saturday-morning series) identified each episode with the first three digits being 830, and the next two digits being anywhere from 01 to 15 (i.e. #83012 was episode 12, "Only Ghosts Have Wings").
  • Sesame Workshop's titles:
    • Sesame Street used sequential numbering for its first 42 seasons, switching to seasonal numbering in Season 44 (both schemes result in identical code numbers for episodes 4301–4327, which is Season 43).
    • The Electric Company (1971) uses sequential numbering for the first 4 seasons. Seasonal numbering is present in Seasons 5 and 6, with season 5 having an "A" suffix and season 6 with a "B" suffix.
    • Square One TV uses seasonal numbering across all seasons.
    • 3-2-1 Contact displayed episode numbers in the intro, using the seasonal numbering method.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball uses "GB", the season number, and the episode number in production codes; for example, "GB233" (The Finale) and "GB301" (The Kids). Those rarely match the broadcast order, although the latter episode does.
  • Shows produced by "Disney Television Animation" has used a production number for their shows since the 2000s. It follows three numbers and a letter, with the number chosen by the showrunners themselves. Prior to 2011, the letter was related to the channel it would air on: Disney Channel had the letter "D", such as the series code for Phineas and Ferb (631D); Playhouse Disney/Disney Junior had the letter "P" for shows like Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, which is 211P; Disney XD had the letter "J" to identify shows like Kick Buttowski: Suburban Daredevil, which is 624J. These days, each show gets their own letter, usually coming from the first word in the show's title.
    • 231S - Sofia the First
    • 618G - Gravity Falls
    • 876T - Tron Uprising
    • 345W - Wander Over Yonder
    • 482M - Mickey Mouse (2013)
    • 474S - Star vs. the Forces of Evil
    • 755P - Penn Zero: Part Time Hero
    • 513A - Elena of Avalor
  • The Star Trek franchise has had a few interesting variations to their sequential numbering:
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Voyager, and Star Trek: Discovery have all started their episode counts from 101 (although TNG and Voyager used production code 721 for their respective Pilot Movies, reserving the 101/102 codes for when they're aired as standard-length two-part episodes in repeats). Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, being produced concurrently with TNG and Voyager, started its episode count from 401 (but also used 721 for its Pilot Movie).
      • TNG also used a non-sequential episode code, 747, for its Grand Finale, though the two halves of the episode, when aired separately, retain the sequential codes 277 and 278. The other series simply used their sequential numbers for their finales, as well as mid-series TV Movies.
    • Star Trek: The Original Series numbered its episodes sequentially from "The Cage", episode 01, even though it never aired as a standalone episode during the original run (only airing in 1988 as a lead-in to TNG's second season). But because most of the footage from "The Cage" was incorporated into the two-part episode "The Menagerie", that two-parter (which only had one episode's worth of new material) was given the episode codes 16A and 16B.
    • Star Trek: The Animated Series skipped episode production number 12, for reasons unknown.
  • Aaron Spelling shows were usually labeled by one or two letters for the show name, following by the episode number (for example: H = Hotel, LB = The Love Boat, MH = Matt Houston, DY = Dynasty, and TC = The Colbys).
  • Konami used production codenames for their games in the late '80s and early '90s, and it's common to see the codes inserted into games of that era as a Development Gag. Metal Gear was N313, which is also the codename for Solid Snake's infiltration mission into Outer Heaven; Gradius 2 was N322, and your ship is an N322 Starfighter.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022): The Episode Title Cards feature sequential numbering: Episode 1, Episode 2, etc.

    Game Shows 
  • As with the network's other shows, ABC game shows from the 1960s to the early 1980s used a code of [show number]-[show initials]-[calendar year]. Among the known examples are:
    • The Better Sex used "BSX". For example, the Grand Finale was #136-BSX-77 (taped December 10, 1977).
    • The Big Showdown used "SWD". For example, #38-SWD-75 was the episode where Jim slips on the stairs during his entrance (commonly known as "The Big Falldown").
    • Blankety Blanks used "BKB", as did Barry-Enright's Break the Bank.
    • Family Feud used "FFD". The 1977-1985 syndicated run used "FFN".
    • The Family Game used "FAM". For example, #59-FAM-67 was the September 7, 1967 show (renumbered to "209-FAM-67 R" for a rebroadcast on November 9).
    • The short-lived 1981 version of The Krypton Factor used "KPR".
    • The daytime Let's Make a Deal used "LMD" (for example, #186-LMD-74; in contrast to the original NBC run, which used sequential numbering).
    • Pyramid had "TTP" for $10,000 (and the first episode of $25,000), "TFP" for the rest of $25,000's run, and "TWP" for $20,000; at least $20,000 also had sequential numbering. Sometime between mid-August 1979 and the final week of taping in May 1980, the ABC coding changed slightly to put "TWP" in front of the show number.
    • The nighttime version of The Newlywed Game used "NEW/D". For instance, #20-NEW/D-69 was the May 17, 1969 show.
    • The Object Is... used "OBJ". For example, #64-OBJ-64 was the next-to-last episode (aired March 26, 1964).
    • The Rebus Game used "REB". For instance, #1-REB-65 was the March 29, 1965 premiere.
    • Seven Keys, the earliest known example, used "Keys" (for example, #139-Keys-62 was the July 12, 1962 episode).
    • Split Second (1972) used "SPS". The June 27, 1975 finale was #115-SPS-75.
    • The 1975 You Don't Say! used "YDS". For example, #103-YDS-75 was the last aired show (aired November 26, 1975).
    • Showoffs used SHF. #128-SHF-75, which is held by UCLA, is the Christmas Day 1975 episode.
    • Password used PSW. #45-PSW-75 is the March 14, 1975 episode with Betty White & Vicki Lawrence for example.
  • Syndicated Barry-Enright games from about 1977 onward identified each episode in a season by a letter-number code. For example, "A-001" is the premiere (first episode of Season 1) and "F-025" is the 25th show of Season 6 (and in the case of Tic-Tac-Dough, its 1,000th episode, during which host Wink Martindale was given the slate).
  • Baffle, Blockbusters, Bruce Forsyth's Hot Streak, Gambit, Go, The Hollywood Squares (at least the original daytime and syndicated runs), and It's Anybody's Guess used sequential numbering. Double Dare (CBS), Give-n-Take, Pass the Buck, and Tattle Tales (at least the original CBS run) all used four-digit sequential counters with leading zeroes.
  • The syndicated Concentration hosted by Jack Narz used a "week number, day of the week" system much like Price (see below). The 1987-1991 run used sequential numbering.
  • The New Dating Game (1973-74) used "N.D.G.".
  • Every Second Counts (1984-85) used what appears to be seasonal numbering. For example, #1183 (taped March 1, 1985) is most likely the 183rd episode of the first (and only) season.
  • The current run of Family Feud uses seasonal numbering, with three digits prefaced by the last two digits of the first calendar year of that season (for example, "#99-001" is the premiere).
  • The nighttime version of The Gong Show used seasonal numbering, with the first episode labeled "101".
  • It's Your Bet used a sequential counter, but by the time Lyle Waggoner became host in 1972 this had changed slightly to put the host's initials in front (for example, "#LW-152").
  • The 1970s syndicated Let's Make a Deal used sequential numbering with "/S" afterward.
  • Match Game had a couple of different styles:
    • The CBS daytime era used sequential numbering with four digits — for example, #0086 (taped October 13, 1973), #0158 (taped February 15, 1974), and #1416 (taped January 28, 1979).
    • The 1979-82 daily syndicated run used "YY-WW-D" — the first year of the current season, the week that was being taped, and the day of the week. For example, "79-01-1" was the Monday show of the first week of the 1979-80 season (the premiere) and "81-35-5" was the Friday show of the 35th week of the 1981-82 season (the finale).
  • Oh My Word, a local series on ABC affiliate KGO (San Francisco), used "OMW".
  • At least Password CBS, Password Plus, and Super Password used sequential numbering, while Million-Dollar Password used seasonal numbering (for example, "106" was the sixth and final episode of Season 1).
  • Press Your Luck used a four-digit sequential counter with leading zeroes (for example, #0188 was the Michael Larson game, taped May 19, 1984).
    • Whammy used seasonal numbering, with "1001" being the first episode of Season 1 and "2065" being the finale.
  • For the current run of The Price Is Right, the daytime show originally used a "D" designation corresponding to the week number and day of that week — for example, #1412D was the Tuesday show of the 141st week (aired May 13, 1975). Once the show reached Week #1000, rather than expand the counter they switched the "D" to "K" and went from #9995D (aired May 24, 1996) to #0011K (aired May 27, 1996), skipping a week. Bob Barker's last show (June 15, 2007), #4035K, would be #14025D under the old numbering. After #9993K (aired November 23, 2022), the letter switched from "K" to "L" starting with #0011L (December 5, 2022).
    • This was done mainly to distinguish the daytime show from the nighttime run, which debuted at the same time and used sequential codes ending in "N" — #195N, for example, was the Season 5 finale and Dennis James' last show. 39 episodes were produced during each season of Dennis' tenure (1972-77), which was dropped to 35 for each of Bob Barker's three seasons (1977-80).
    • The second nighttime run, hosted by Tom Kennedy, used a four-digit counter like the daytime show with "N" at the front - for example, #N0335 (taped February 26, 1986) was the Friday show of the 33rd week and 165th overall. The show ran a total of 170 episodes.
    • The third nighttime run, hosted by Doug Davidson, also used a four-digit counter but was otherwise done the same as the 1972-80 nighttime counter.
    • The first five daytime episodes used a second production number that prefaced the normal "D" — "#0101-X", with "X" referring to the taping order from 1-5 (the first week's tapings went #0011D, #0013D, #0014D, #0012D, #0015D). There's no way to tell how this system would've continued, as the next taping (#0022D) didn't have an alternate code, but a logical conclusion may be that "#0101-X" could've also been written as "S01W01EX".
    • Oddly, three daytime "weeks" in Seasons 1-2 had no episodes produced for them at all: 042 (June 18-22, 1973), 054 (September 10-14, 1973), and 076 (February 11-15, 1974). CBS aired other programming during those weeks.
    • There were also several times an entire episode had to be scrapped and replaced (including #0101-2, above). One of these resulted in the episode number (1513K, which would've aired September 27, 2000) being changed to 1513X.
    • Nighttime specials also used different codes. The first six specials (1986) used "P", the 25th-Anniversary Special (1996) used "S", the 30th-Anniversary Special (2002) used "LV", and all specials afterward use "SP". The "P" and "SP" shows used a three-digit counter, while the anniversary specials used a four-digit one.
  • The 1980s $25,000 Pyramid skipped over episode numbers any time the program was preempted. For example, the November 29, 1982 show is labeled #0051, but was really the 49th overall episode.
  • The syndicated Sale of the Century with Jim Perry (1985-86) used the same episode counter as syndicated Wheel (#S-1, etc.). The concurrent daytime version on NBC (1983-89) used a conventional labeling system. Both were sequential.
    • The 2007-08 American Temptation used sequential numbering, with three digits prefaced by "1GT".
  • While it's not certain what system was in place for the Lifetime era, the Family Channel version of Shop 'Til You Drop used seasonal numbering: "1xx" for the 1996-97 season, "2xx" for the 1997-98 season. The PAX revival used three-digit sequential numbering for Season 7 (001, 002, etc.), switching to seasonal numbering for at least Seasons 8-9 (for example, "#8100" was the 100th episode of the 2001-02 season and the last show before the overhaul, while "#9084" was the 84th episode of the 2003-04 season, the first year with the overhaul).
  • The New Treasure Hunt (1973-77) originally labeled each episode with a numeral, followed by the initials "N.T.H." and the first year of that season — for example, the first episode was "Show #1~N.T.H.~73". For at least Season 2, the number was replaced with a letter, one example being "Show #J~N.T.H.~74".
  • The syndicated revival of What's My Line? (1968-75) labeled each episode as #0076, followed by another four-digit code. "#0076" was an in-house number at CBS and Goodson-Todman that was used to identify the series. The latter set of digits denoted the week number and the episode of that week, in the same method as the current version of The Price Is Right. For example, #0076-0073 (taped August 20, 1968) was the Wednesday show of the 7th overall week (33rd episode overall), while #0076-1025 (taped November 5, 1970) was the Friday show of the 102nd overall week and the 510th overall episode.
  • Wheel of Fortune has had a few.
    • The original NBC daytime run used a sequential counter, though GSN's Merv Griffin tribute marathon schedule in 2007 listed a code of "NTD1-3686" for Pat Sajak's last show (January 9, 1989).
      • When the daytime show moved to CBS in 1989, it got a new episode counter that had three digits prefaced by "C". The 1991 return to NBC reset the counter and replaced "C" with "DT". Both were sequential, though.
    • The syndicated version uses a four-digit counter prefaced by "S-", though it's not known to have used leading zeroes (the first episode is simply "#S-1"). Assuming they continue with 195 shows per season, they won't need a five-digit counter until late 2034.
    • At least one of the not-for-broadcast Lottery Experience Games in 2012 (taped between Seasons 29 and 30) used "MDI".
  • The 1978-79 syndicated run of You Don't Say! appears to have used seasonal numbering (for example, "#1075" being the 75th episode of Season 1).
  • Episodes of Nickelodeon's Double Dare were numbered sequentially by the number and by a letter. The letter seemed to indicate the taping session number. For example, #001A was Express Vs. High Flyers (VTR: September 18, 1986), #118DD was Daredevils Vs. M.C.'s (VTR: February 16, 1987), and #136HH was Fish Heads Vs. Schizophrenics (VTR: February 20, 1987; last taping date of the second weekday Season). Weekday Season 1 had 18 taping sessions, 16 for weekday Season 2. For the Syndicated run in 1988, the count was reset back to #001A. An "S" was also added to indicate that this was the Syndicated version, so for example, #S012C is Wiz Kids Vs. Wrecking Two. The Fox and Nickelodeon runs of Family were numbered seasonally. For example, #340J (VTR: July 24, 1992) was the Tournament of Champions, the series finale. It's unclear which style of numbering both the 1987 and 1989 runs of Super Sloppy used.


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The Electric Company

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