A system and method are described for providing interactive television services and for switching between television programs, such as to an interactive program session from another program. An interactive server, capable of providing requested interactive video services to a set of subscribers in a given geographic area, is coupled to a network to which subscriber set top boxes are also coupled. Television programming, which may be furnished by any number of sources, is accompanied by a signal that indicates the availability of other programming, such as interactive television service related to the program being viewed, as well as information to be used in requesting such service. The user, when notified by this signal, may input to the set top box a request for a second program, such as an interactive program or application. The identity of the original program channel is stored, and a session with the video service provider is established over the network. When the session is terminated, the set top box re-tunes the television signal to the original program channel.