In the Williams article there was a lot of discussion about production costs and the history of the rerun. He gave attention to how and when reruns happened (both historically and through programming schedules). Something that I find interesting about reruns is how they give shows life after their original run. There are so many shows that owe part of their cultural status to reruns. For example, Star Trek found much of it’s cultural relevance in it’s syndicated run. The constant and consistent airing in combination with the added exposure brings the opportunity to start a new show without having to invest in DVD sets, internet televisions, subscriptions, or the effort to find episodes online. For a show like How I Met Your Mother, reruns have contributed to it’s massive success, as new viewers have had the opportunity to discover the show, catch up, and start the newer seasons (http://www.suntimes.com/entertainment/television/10387596-421/how-i-met-your-mother-enjoying-best-year-ever.html).
Reruns play a vital role for viewership. Unlike movies which can be re-watched in theaters or purchased or rented, TV shows typically air once and that’s it until the rerun. It makes it difficult to re-watch certain episodes. In addition, since TV has multiple episodes making up a whole work, and since the total hours hours of air time will exceed the average movie length, it become difficult to manage if you miss a season because you have to play catch-up to some extent. Reruns provide a venue for catching what you missed or re-watching specific parts. They ease the process of discovery, and give shows another arena to garner viewers.