Long before TV Land, the Game Show Network, and Cartoon Network cornered the market, reruns had been a staple of American television for decades. The economics of broadcasting made recycling programs a standard practice as early as the 1950s, but it was not until the mid 1970s that reruns were singled out as a significant contribution to American culture in general-a window into the American past and TV's "Golden Age." In "Rerun Nation," Derek Kompare looks at how the long tradition of rerun syndication has come to determine television's place in American history and culture, and framed our understanding of what defines "American television."
"Rerun Nation" is a fascinating approach to television history and theory through the ubiquitous yet overlooked phenomenon of reruns. Kompare covers both historical and conceptual ground, weaving together a refresher course in the history of television with a critical analysis of how reruns have shaped the cultural, economic, and legal terrains of American television. Given the expanding use of past media texts not only in the United States, but also in virtually every media-rich society, this book addresses a critical facet of everyday life.
"In this compelling contribution to the field, Kompare argues that repetition, rather than liveness or presentness, is 'the primary structuring factor of commercial television in the United States.'"-- Sharon Sharp, Film Quarterly
2006 SCMS Kovacs Book Award: Honorable Mention