Talk shows and reruns.

When talk show hosts take the week off due to sporting events or whatever, why do they rerun shows from just 3-6 months ago? Letterman, Degeneres, Ferguson. They all do this. Why can’t they just start from the beginning and rerun the shows from there. I would think that it would create a greater viewing audience. I get that they need time off or they don’t want to have new shows up against a national event. I just don’t get why they wouldn’t show shows from a long time ago. I would love to see these. They would be attracting both long-time fans and people who had never seen the shows before. Why rerun such recent shows? Is there some legality involved?

Just a guess, but since these shows talk about things like pop culture and current events, recent episodes are much more likely to still be interesting and relevant. Also, they still look like they’re the same show; previous seasons may have jarring visual differences.

I would actually love to see some of the Mike Douglas/Merv Griffon talk shows. Back when the actors/performers actually showed up to talk about the MOVIES or SHOWS they were in, not to babble on about their last coffee colonic and tattoo. I can remember seeing Yul Brynner and Richard Harris interviewed about being in stage versions of The King and I and Camelot - they each did a song out of the show.

The shows aren’t for you. They exist to promote movies, television, books, music, and theater. Nobody cares what you want to see.

Exactly. It’s just a long commercial for the most part. They want you to buy the latest songs or see the latest movies. Six months later is the perfect time to remind you to add the DVD to your Netflix queue.

But still, if you’re a current viewer, you’ve already seen the show and you’re not going to watch it again. And if you’re not a current viewer, you’re probably not going to watch it either. It would be especially interesting to watch a show like Dr. Phil, where the guests aren’t (usually) famous or promoting anything. Most of his topics would still be relevant. Even shows where the guests are famous, it would still be interesting (I think) to watch episodes from when the shows first started.

A sizable chunk of the viewing audience aren’t even aware they are watching a rerun. Why cheapen the brand by making it obvious to everybody?

This is wrong in several ways. Many viewers will watch reruns of any program. And many viewers do not tune in every single night, so the program will be new to them. A third group are fans of a competing talk show and seldom watch this program but may tune in because their favorite show is also on vacation.

In short, it makes sense to show recent reruns because the viewer universe is a much more varied place than you think it is.

I think that a huge team of marketing folks with reams of data on actual viewing habits probably has a better handle on what the masses watch than your speculations. What they are doing is fine tuned to maximize their profits.