A system and method for obtaining information from an electronic program guide is provided. The electronic program guide can be provided by a television system, a set-top box, a VCR, or a computer system. The interactive system allows the user to quickly identify programs which may be of particular interest, thereby avoiding the necessity of searching through the entire program guide. In one embodiment, after the user identifies a specific program as a favorite, the system asks the user a series of questions in order to identify the particular characteristics of the program which makes it a favorite. Based upon the user's responses, the system identifies all programs which contain the desired characteristics. In another embodiment, whenever the user watches a program the interactive system, operating in the background, searches for and marks all programs which may be of interest to the user. In another embodiment, the user can directly employ the interactive system to search for programs containing desirable characteristics. In this embodiment the user enters certain attributes into the system, for example, particular actors or directors. The system then identifies programs within the available electronic program guide which may meet the user's requirements.