Marathon Running

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This is an event where a network will run multiple episodes of the same show back-to-back for an extended period of time. It can also take the form of running all of the movies in a given franchise back-to-back.

Often done as a promotional event. A popular series will marathon all previous episodes prior to the start of the newest season. The release of a new film in a franchise will be preceded by a marathon showing of all previous films in that franchise. In addition to providing publicity, this gives the audience a chance to get up to speed with events in the show before they jump into the new season. Sometimes, it's also done with really, really popular shows to crank up the overall ratings.

Examples of Marathon Running include:

  • Cartoon Network has frequently marathoned Naruto. One of the most notable examples was the Naruto Hundo, done to celebrate the milestone of Naruto reaching 100 aired episodes on Toonami.
    • For most of 2007-2008, they ran two-episode blocks back-to-back (sometimes advertised as "mini-marathons") in order to burn through Filler.
    • Note that this is only in the present. Cartoon Network and ESPECIALLY Nickelodeon had frequent marathons, almost every night and every Saturday of shows or shows with a vague similar theme before their Network Decay.
      • Cartoon Network helped turn The Iron Giant, a box-office flop in theaters, into a cult favorite with its 24-hour Thanksgiving Day marathons in the early 2000s.
    • The channel used to have 48 hours of nothing but Bugs Bunny cartoons in June - "June Bugs".
    • Let's not forget Z Day, a 2-hour marathon of Dragonball Z.
  • Adult Swim usually does marathons around holidays, especially in December.
  • Over the Christmas 2007 holiday Britain's Anime Central broadcast marathons of Cowboy Bebop (26 episodes), Fullmetal Alchemist (51 episodes) and Bleach (the first 52 episodes). Unfortunately this meant that several other shows were cut short before Christmas and not resumed afterward.
  • Prior to the release of Casino Royale, the films of the James Bond franchise were marathoned. In fact, whichever cable channel currently has the rerun rights to the films does this on a fairly regular basis. They were marathoned on TBS and TNT in The Nineties to the point that in American Beauty, Lester complains about having to go to the basketball game to watch his daughter in the cheerleading squad because he's missing one of these.
  • Turner Network Television TNT will often run the same film back-to-back with itself for people that happen upon it part way through.
  • Turner Network Television also used to run daily 6 hour marathons of Law and Order
  • Nickelodeon marathoned Avatar: The Last Airbender prior to the premiere of the third season.
    • As a result of scheduling, SpongeBob SquarePants will often be played for what would qualify as marathons. Frequently, they show marathons of it for the debut of new episodes.
    • Nickelodeon had a short marathon block in 1999, with different episodes of Nick shows airing, but with a similar theme. It was known as 101% Whizbang! With Henry & June.
      • It was replaced with U Pick in very late 1999, with Henry and June hosting until the block's demise in 2000. You voted for the show you wanted online, and they'd show a little marathon of it or something. (U Pick returned in `02, but with live action hosts, and every day unlike the Henry and June one, which was Fridays)
  • Nick at Nite and TV Land used to do these a lot, although lately they've fallen by the wayside due to the dreaded Network Decay.
  • MTV, before Network Decay fully took hold, used to marathon Beavis and Butthead occasionally, dubbing them "Moron-a-Thons".
  • When The Monkees began airing in reruns on pre-Network Decay MTV in February 1986 (The group's 20th anniversary), it was launched by a weekend marathon featuring every Monkees episode. The marathon proved to be so successful, that the Monkees regained an entirely new generation of fans. Monkeemania was offically reborn. This was followed by several concert tours, a new album ("Pool It!"), a horrible Spin-Off (The New Monkees) and a top 20 hit single ("That Was Then, This Is Now").
  • The Discovery Channel once had an "Explosion Sunday" event. It consisted, naturally, of a marathon of MythBusters.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 was famous for its "Turkey Day" marathons during the Comedy Central era, in celebration of the show's anniversary (which was in fact on Thanksgiving.) Made even cooler with the addition of specially-produced host segments to tie the shows together.
  • The Syfy (now Syfy) typically airs a Twilight Zone marathon on New Year's Day and other holidays.
    • In previous years, they've run weekend-long marathons of various Godzilla films, and at least one weekend of showing every Planet of the Apes film.
    • They also ran a 13-hour marathon of the 1966-67 series The Green Hornet on Jan 11, 2011 to mark the opening of the Green Hornet movie adaption opening later in the week.
    • The first few years of the channel, the time between Christmas and the New Year would be "Sci-Fi Movie Supernova." Possibly the longest televised marathon, it was a week of non-stop movie broadcasts.
  • USA Network airs periodic weekend marathons of Law and Order Special Victims Unit, combined with weekday airings that remind one of the event. Then there's its "Back-to-back-to-back NCIS" feature every day. It will also frequently run much longer marathons of the same show.
    • Oh admit it, USA will run marathons of anything... and we love when they do.
  • Turner Classic Movies often airs marathons dedicated to a particular actor, director, genre, or theme. The channel's annual "31 Days of Oscar" feature each February might be regarded as a month-long supermarathon, with every movie shown being at least nominated for an Oscar. (It's 31 days long because the ceremony, and thus the marathon, used to take place in March; when it was moved back, they kept the number of days and let it bleed into the next month.)
  • Oh, does the Science Channel ever love to run How It's Made for hours on end. They even ran every episode ever aired at the start of February 2011, which took five days to get through.
  • A&E likes to marathon CSI: Miami - a lot.
  • The TV Guide Channel really loved to run Michael Jackson specials a lot after his death, which turned out to be a convenient excuse to throw the network's old management out and launch all-new programming from new owner Lionsgate in the fall.
  • For many years New York station WOR-TV had a tradition of airing King Kong, Son of Kong, and Mighty Joe Young back to back on Thanksgiving Day, followed by several Godzilla films on the day after Thanksgiving.
  • Several channels have shown New Years Eve marathons of The Three Stooges, most notably AMC, although the occasional local channel may do it too depending on your area.
  • A few days before Christmas 2011, The Hub ran two mini-marathons of My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic in a row, one themed about Discord and consisting of The Return Of Harmony, Part 1 and The Return Of Harmony, Part 2, and another themed about Pinkie Pie, and consisting of Feeling Pinkie Keen and Party Of One, to celebrate those characters having won the Naughty Or Nice contest.
  • ON Dec 31, 2011/Jan 1, 2012 Antenna TV ran "Night of 2012 Laughs", a 20 hour marathon of episodes of The Burns and Allen Show and The Jack Benny Program.
  • In another pre-Network Decay example, Bravo used to have occasional "Cirque Du Soleil Weekends" featuring the live shows that had been filmed for TV/video.