Television shows: New vs Rerun designations

When I was growing up, when you checked the tv listings for a show, “new episode” was the default mode. IOW…if a new episode of Hill Street Blues was on, the listing would just say “Hill Street Blues”. If a rerun was showing, the listing would say “Hill Street Blues ®” to indicate a rerun.

NOW, it seems that the opposite is true. I’ve checked tv listings in several sources, and it now seems that rerun is the default listing. IOW, “Law & Order” would mean a rerun episode, but “Law & Order (N)” would indicate OH BOY!! A NEW EPISODE!!.

  1. Are these universal listing formats?
  2. When/Why did this change occur? Did it happen when some of the major shows reduced the number of new episodes that they show per season (and start to include rerun epsiodes in the MIDDLE of a season, not just summer).

It changed in the past few years, probably because new episodes are more unusual than reruns, and because people want to know if the episode is new or not.


I’m going to send this one over to Cafe Society (N).


It’s certainly not universal. The place I get my program information (TiVo’s onscreen program guide) lists an R at the end of the episode description when it’s a rerun, but nothing in that place when an ep is new.


There is no universal designation. TV Guide used to put (Repeat) after a show description if it was a repeat. After they changed their format, they put nothing next to a repeat and NEW next to a new episode.