The Program Exchange

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The Program Exchange
Industry Television syndication
Fate Defunct
Founded 1979
Defunct 2016[citation needed]
Headquarters New York, United States
Key people
Owner Publicis
Parent ZenithOptimedia
Website The Program Exchange

The Program Exchange was a syndicator of television programs. It was founded as Program Syndication Services Inc. in 1973 and later launched the DFS Program Exchange in 1979, which became the DFS-Dorland Program Exchange from 1986 to 1987. From 1987 to 2008, it was a division of Saatchi & Saatchi, an advertising agency (which acquired Dancer Fitzgerald Sample, the original owners), and would later be acquired by Publicis in 2000. In January 2008, Publicis transferred The Program Exchange from the Saatchi & Saatchi subsidiary to its ZenithOptimedia subsidiary; the logo was then changed to reflect this change. In early 2016, the website was shut down; the shutdown coincided with NBCUniversal's purchase of one of its most prominent clients, DreamWorks Classics.[1]

The Program Exchange was a "barter syndicator," distributing programming on behalf of the shows' producers, many of them having their own cash distribution services. Instead of paying a cash fee, television stations who ran those programs agreed to a barter exchange (hence the syndicator name), wherein the station agreed to air a certain number of commercials for various General Mills products per program. This arrangement allowed for the programs to air on stations that may not have large budgets to acquire them. The Program Exchange typically distributed older programming that was no longer widely distributed in syndication, as well as programming designed to meet federal educational/information mandates. The Program Exchange continued to hold distribution rights to the Jay Ward Productions and Total Television archives throughout the exchange's existence; both of those companies' programs were produced at the DFS-owned Gamma Productions studios in Mexico until that studio shut down in 1968.

The Program Exchange handled distribution for all titles listed below.

Children's programs[edit]

Family programs[edit]



  • B. Smith Cooking Vignettes
  • Cartoon Network Short Cartoons
  • Dr. Bob Arnot: Eat Better America
  • Healthy Break by Jake
  • Medical Minute
  • Nutrition Minute


  1. ^ Dave McNary (2016-08-22). "Comcast Completes $3.8 Billion DreamWorks Animation Purchase". Variety. Retrieved 2016-08-27. 

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