Daytime television in the United States

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Daytime television is the general term for television shows produced that are intended to air during the daytime hours on weekdays. This article is about American daytime television, for information about international daytime television see Daytime television.

Types of daytime programming[edit]

There are several different sorts of daytime programming that are produced. Most of these shows can be produced on a low budget, as these shows have to be able to make at least five new episodes per week (sometimes more) for most of the year. Most daytime shows are syndicated, meaning individual stations buy the rights to show it.

Court shows[edit]

There are currently many different court shows produced in United States daytime television. Most of these shows usually deal with one, sometimes two small-claims cases per show. All of the following court shows air syndicated.

Current American daytime court shows[edit]

Show Presiding Judge
Judge Mathis Greg Mathis
Divorce Court Lynn Toler
Judge Judy Judith Sheindlin
The People's Court Marilyn Milian
America's Court with Judge Ross Kevin A. Ross
We the People With Gloria Allred Gloria Allred
Supreme Justice with Judge Karen Karen Mills-Francis
Justice for All with Judge Cristina Pérez Cristina Pérez
Paternity Court Lauren Lake
Hot Bench Patricia DiMango, Tanya Acker and Larry Bakman

Daytime serials/soap operas[edit]

A staple of daytime television since the 1950s, serials continue to be among the most popular programs among daytime audiences. They are dramatic serials that tell the stories of the day-to-day life of large casts of characters, each still having its own identity. The term "soap opera" is somewhat of a misnomer, dating to the early days of radio and television when purveyors of detergents and soaps such as Procter & Gamble, Colgate Palmolive and Lever Bros. generally sponsored, financed and produced the shows individually.

Current american daytime serials[edit]

Game shows[edit]

Involves regular people being contestants and playing a game, like the title suggests, with the ultimate goal being able to take first place, so as to win a prize (usually money).

From the 1960s through the 1980s, all three of the major broadcast networks carried several game shows during their daytime lineups. ABC Daytime ended their block in 1985 (with occasional stand-alone game shows such as Bargain Hunters in 1987 and Match Game in 1990 airing in the years that followed) followed by NBC Daytime in 1991 (with a brief revival in 1993) and CBS Daytime in 1993. CBS still carries two daytime game shows, the long-running The Price Is Right and a revival of Let's Make a Deal. CBS currently allows both daytime game shows can be arranged as a two-hour block by affiliates (10AM ET) if preferred instead of bookending the schedule (11 AM and 3 PM ET).

Of the current daytime game shows, The Price Is Right began as part of CBS's daytime game show block and is the only show to have aired continuously on daytime network television since the end of that era. Family Feud, Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune (the last two of which are usually aired in the hour before prime time but are also occasionally scheduled in the daytime, especially in the Central Time Zone and in markets where Jeopardy! airs two episodes a day) have all transitioned from network daytime shows to syndication, while Millionaire is a daytime spinoff of a network prime time program. Both current CBS Daytime game shows were 30-minute game shows that transitioned into one-hour formats (Price in 1975 and Deal in 2009).

Current daytime game shows[edit]

Network television



These half-hour newsmagazines generally focus on sensationalist tabloid-style news and entertainment coverage; formerly the tone was light in nature, but market forces and ratings concerns eventually forced programs into a tabloid format.

Current newsmagazines[edit]

News programs[edit]

During the week, daytime television is generally devoid of or lacking news programming. However, on Sundays, most networks devote at least part of their schedule to serious news programming, as the viewers who would normally be at work during the daytime on weekdays are generally at home on Sundays.

Current news and public affairs programs[edit]

Talk shows[edit]

Talk shows typically last one hour, and are more often than not hosted by celebrities. Talk shows deal with a variety of topics, like self-help related subjects, to variety shows featuring interviews and comedic monologues, to tabloid talk shows.

Current American daytime talk shows[edit]

Network television


Off-network syndicated series[edit]

Syndication is the practice of selling rights to the presentation of television programs, especially to more than one customer such as a television station, a cable channel, or a programming service such as a national broadcasting system. The syndication of television programs is a fundamental financial component of television industries. Long a crucial factor in the economics of the U.S. industry, syndication is now a worldwide activity involving the sales of programming produced in many countries. While most of the series currently in syndication are either still in production or have only recently ended their runs, the most popular series can command syndication runs lasting decades beyond the end of their production (the most extreme example being I Love Lucy, which remains in syndication as of 2012 despite having ended its run in 1957; other examples of series still popular in syndication after over a decade out of production include Seinfeld, Cheers, The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show and M*A*S*H).

Networks have also been known to rerun scripted programming in daytime, though much less so with the proliferation of syndication, cable television and direct broadcast satellites in the 1980s and 1990s. The last time a network is known to have done this is when CBS aired reruns of Designing Women from 1991-1992. However, it wasn't until 14 years later in 2006 When Daytime WB aired reruns of Reba (TV series) along with previous shows such as "ER" (TV series) since 2009 no major TV networks has aired any reruns on the daytime slot.

Note that the series listed below are not necessarily restricted to daytime and can air in any open time slot.

Off-network series currently in syndication[edit]

See also[edit]