Longest Running TV Shows

Alleah

Alleah

Published: 06 Jul 2021

Modified: 10 Aug 2021

Longest-running tv shows

Television broadcasting has evolved through the years. Dating back from the very first black and white programming to the colored channels that we now have, television has been an integral part of life. Who would have known that people would now have hundreds of channels and choices to choose from? In this read, let’s discover 30 of the longest-running TV shows of all time!

Table of Contents

Meet the Press - 73 years

First broadcast: November 6, 1947
Number of seasons: 70
Status: Ongoing

Meet the Press with Chuck Todd, longest running tv show
Image from NBC

If there’s one show that existed for as long as there was network television in the country, it’s Meet the Press. Chuck Todd currently hosts the program that’s been on the air for 73 years. With that, it’s known to be one of the longest-running tv shows in the broadcasting history of the US.

It began as a radio show segment in 1945 but it eventually aired its first press conference format on November 6, 1947. The late Tim Russert first hosted it, and it was usually a one-on-one interview. It later became in-depth discussions with a panel.

Guiding Light - 72 years

First broadcast: June 30, 1952
Final broadcast: September 18, 2009
Number of seasons: 57
Number of episodes: 18,262

Photo by: CBS, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

CBS’s The Guiding Light ran for a total of 72 years. This drama series had 57 years on TV and 15 years on radio. Its first episode was aired on June 30, 1952. Although it’s no longer in production, the creators of the show received the Guinness World Record for the longest-running tv show of all time.

As one may imagine, writers and cast members have passed through the seasons of the show. This means that the storyline may not be as continuous as the audience would want. The good thing though is that the plot did focus on core families that will somehow bring a link to each episode. The final airing of the show was on September 18, 2009.

The Tonight Show - 66 years

First broadcast: September 27, 1954
Number of seasons: 66
Status: Ongoing

the tonight show
Source: Tina Hager, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

It may be hard to believe but The Tonight Show that we know now has been on production for 66 years and counting. Its original host was Steve Allen in 1954 and it has been giving us eye-watering episodes through the years. With over 12,000 episodes in the NBC network, Allen was succeeded by equally talented hosts such as Jack Parr, Jay Leno, Johnny Carson, Conan O’Brien, and Jimmy Fallon.

Despite its drop in ratings during the time of Fallon, the show still continues to make waves now that it’s almost reaching a monumental feat of 70 years as a television show.

Coronation Street - 60 years

First broadcast: December 9, 1960
Status: Ongoing

Coronation Street
Image from Deadline

This soap opera centers on the lives of Coronation Street residents. It’s a working-class neighborhood in the imaginary town of Wethersfield. With a solid runtime of 60 years, the British TV series is still on high ground for their UK, Canada, US, and Australia audiences.

Its first episode dates back to December 9, 1960, and up to this day, the successful and popular soap opera still employs humor and social commentary on its episodes. Themes for the series include issues like domestic abuse and poverty.

General Hospital - 58 years

First broadcast: April 1, 1963
Number of seasons: 58
Status: Ongoing

General Hospital
Image from 13abc

With over 15,000 episodes, General Hospital is America’s second-longest-running tv show in drama production. It’s still an ongoing series in the ABC network ever since its pilot episode in 1963. They have the highest record when it comes to the number of awards for the Daytime Emmy as an Outstanding Drama Series.

The first few seasons of the show were about the doctors, patients, and nurses in the hospital. But through the years, the scope of the plot has expanded. Because of their efforts and for coming this far with 58 years of production, the show has won 13 wins and awards.

Jeopardy! - 57 years

First broadcast: March 30, 1964
Number of seasons: 47
Status: Ongoing

Jeopardy!
Image from Facebook

This American TV game show has featured over 37 seasons and 8,000 episodes. NBC’s Jeopardy! has been on the air for 57 years now. Ever since its first episode in 1964, it’s still one of America’s most favorite quiz shows. Unlike all other shows, the game has a twist. Instead of guessing the answers, the contestants will be given that. All they have to do is guess the possible question out from the answer given.

Doctor Who - 57 years

First broadcast: November 23, 1963
Status: Ongoing

Doctor Who
Image from BBC

If there’s a staple show in British culture, it would be Doctor Who. Ever since its first episode on November 23, 1963, supporters and fans have always been enchanted by Doctor Who’s adventures. With 57 years in production and running, the show is known for its crazy technology babbles and crazy storylines. It follows a Time Lord who circles the globe with his “Tardis”.

Days Of Our Lives - 55 years

First broadcast: November 8, 1965
Number of seasons: 55
Status: Ongoing

Days of our Lives
Image from People Magazine

Often abbreviated as “DOOL”, Days of Our Lives is a daytime soap opera on NBC. For over 55 years, the cast and production of the show still give its audience hilarious but positive outcomes for each of its episodes. The premiere of the series was on November 8, 1965, and its ongoing episodes are still one of America’s favorites.

There is no denying that Days of Our Lives is one of the longest-running tv shows in America and its 14,000 episodes prove it so. Set in the town of Salem, the show follows the triumphs and tragedies of the Horton, DiMera, Brady, and Hernandez families.

As The World Turns - 54 years

First broadcast: April 2, 1956
Final broadcast: September 17, 2010
Number of seasons: 54
Number of episodes: 13,858

As The World Turns
Image from Wikipedia

Although the show had its final episode in September 2010, As the World Turns had a good run of 54 solid years in the television industry. They started their first episode in April 1956 and since then, they have released over 14,000 runs.

The show was a spin-off of Irna Phillips’ Guiding Light, which centers on the Hugheses who were all in the legal and medical field. Unfortunately, it was taken off air due to a big drop in rating.

60 Minutes - 53 years

First broadcast: September 24, 1968
Number of seasons: 53
Status: Ongoing

60 Minutes
Image from CBS News

Everyone knows about the graphic and ticking noise of the clock that accompanies the title card of 60 Minutes. CBS released its pilot episode on September 24, 1968, and since then viewers have been loyal to the program even after 53 years and over 2,300 episodes.

The show centers on investigations that cover topical issues in the US and the world. With the new changes in media, 60 Minutes also had their segments featured online through mobile applications and websites.

Sazae-San - 51 years

First broadcast: October 5, 1969
Status: Ongoing

Sazae-san, longest running anime series

This Japanese anime has had 7,500 episodes for the last 51 years. And until today, it’s still a favorite among children. In fact, it has the Guinness World Record title for the longest-running animated show to ever run on television. The creator of the anime was Machiko Hasegawa, one of the pioneers in manga creations.

Sesame Street - 51 years

First broadcast: November 10, 1969
Number of seasons: 51
Status: Ongoing

Sesame Street
Image from TV Series Finale

With over 4,500 episodes, Sesame Street is still one of the most beloved shows among children and adults alike. The show has been on the air for 51 years already since its original release on PBS on November 10, 1969. One can say that after 180 albums, 35 specials, and 200 home videos, Sesame Street is one of America’s longest-running TV shows.

It is a famous educational television series as it combines sketch comedy, puppetry, animation, and comedy. No wonder that it has won several Grammy and Emmy Awards through the years!

The Price is Right - 48 years

First broadcast: September 4, 1972
Number of seasons: 49
Status: Ongoing

the price is right
Source: Carmcarp1, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Whether you’re an avid fan or not, the “Come on down!” catchphrase is a famous one. This is the show’s famous line for its 48 years on television. CBS’s The Price is Righ” features its contestants attempting to make the right price guess on certain items. Since its first episode on September 4th, 1972, it’s been one of the most well-loved television shows in America.

Emmerdale - 48 years

First broadcast: October 16, 1972
Status: Ongoing

Emmerdale
Image from Wikipedia

The show’s first broadcast was on October 16, 1972. Fast forward to 2021 with almost 9,000 episodes, Emmerdale is still hitting the charts. The British show is one of the most popular TV shows. It’s also one of the most followed daytime UK dramas.

It was first known as Emmerdale Farm but it changed to the name it has now in 1989. The series centers on the lives of the Sugden family in an imaginary village in Emmerdale, Yorkshire.

The Young and the Restless - 48 years

First broadcast: March 26, 1973
Number of seasons: 49
Status: Ongoing

The Young and the Restless
Image from Amazon

Bringing in a total of almost 12,000 episodes in over 48 years, CBS’s The Young and The Restless is still one of the longest-running tv shows of all time. The ongoing series revolves around the Brooks and the Fosters family. Since its release on March 26, 1973, the show has won several awards as an Outstanding Drama series.

NOVA - 47 years

First broadcast: March 3, 1974
Number of seasons: 47
Status: Ongoing

NOVA

PBS has released several shows that continue to flourish in the TV scenes. The primetime science program NOVA is one of the many. Ever since its first broadcast on March 3, 1974, it is still the most-watched science program in the US even after four years. The weekly show is still ongoing on the same channel and it features nature and scientific topics. It also covers inside interviews with prominent researchers and scientists.

Wheel of Fortune - 46 years

First broadcast: January 6, 1975
Number of seasons: 51
Status: Ongoing

wheel of fortune
U.S. Navy photo by Journalist Seaman Ryan Clement, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

46 years in television and still going strong, that’s how it is for the Wheel of Fortune team. Its first episode aired on January 6, 1975. Initially, it was on CBS. Through the years, it transferred to several local channels such as NBC, TRT1, and TNT. Regardless of the changes in the channel, the show still features contestants that will solve word puzzles that will allow them to win big and extravagant prizes.

The Victory Garden - 46 years

First broadcast: April 16, 1975
Status: Ongoing

The Victory Garden
Image from Amazon

On April 16, 1975, James Underwood Crockett hosted the very first episode of Crockett’s Victory Garden. After he passed away, the show then became Victory Garden. It focuses on topics like potting, pruning, pest control, and even travel segments.  The show has been on the PBS channel for over 45 years and it continues to this day. Today, its program is known as The Victory Garden’s Edible Feast. It’s definitely one of the longest-running TV shows in the US.

One Life to Live - 45 years

First broadcast: July 15, 1968
Final broadcast: January 13, 2012
Number of seasons: 45
Number of episodes: 11,136

One Life to Live
Image from IMDb

Although this soap opera of 45 years is no longer in production, it already gave its patrons more than 11,000 episodes on the ABC network. With its first airing July 15, 1968, until its final episode on January 13th of 2012, it continued to capture the hearts of many.

One Life to Live was one of television’s first soap operas to feature some kind of diversity. The episodes do not only focus on wealthy families. It also centers around the working-class Polish characters, middle-class Catholicism, and African-Americans.

Saturday Night Live - 45 years

First broadcast: October 11, 1975
Number of seasons: 46
Status: Ongoing

snl, saturday night live
Source: Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

NBC’s SNL has been gracing our television screens for more than 45 years. From its first episode on October 11th, 1975, the show is still going strong up to this day. There is no doubt why it’s one of the longest-running tv shows of all time as it has over 900 episodes and 45 seasons.

All My Children - 41 years

First broadcast: January 5, 1970
Final broadcast: September 23, 2011
Number of seasons: 42
Number of episodes: 10,755

All My Children
Image from IMDb

With a total of 10,755 episodes- 10,712 in the ABC network and 43 online, All My Children is truly one for the books. The debut episode was on January 5, 1970, and got its final airing on the channel on September 23, 2011, after 41 years. However, fans and patrons found a way to still support the show through its temporary home in The Online Network in 2013. Although it did not last that long, the 43 additional episodes were enough for them to make it into this list.

The Bugs Bunny Show - 40 years

First broadcast: October 11, 1960
Final broadcast: September 2, 2000
Number of seasons: 40
Number of episodes: 1040

The Bugs Bunny Show

There’s no denying that Bugs Bunny is one of the most famous characters in the Looney Tunes roster. His stardom brought him to his variety show which aired on October 11, 1960, on ABC and CBS channels. Although it was a sad day for fans to watch its final episode in September 2000, Bugs Bunny is already a hallmark. For over 40 years in production, The Bugs Bunny Show is still tv’s longest-running cartoon show.

Mister Roger's Neighborhood - 33 years

First broadcast: February 19, 1968
Final broadcast: August 31, 2001
Number of seasons: 31
Number of episodes: 912

Mister Roger's Neighborhood

If you ask the kids and kids at heart, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood was one of America’s greatest tv shows of all time. Fred Roger started to host the thoughtful and gentle children’s show on November 19, 1968. Even though its final episode on August 31, 2001, saddened its patrons, the show has already received numerous awards.

With over 33 years on the television screen, it has bagged several awards such as the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Children Series and many more.

The Simpsons - 31 years

First broadcast: December 17, 1989
Number of seasons: 32
Status: Ongoing

the simpsons

The Simpsons has given many generations a good reason to laugh. Its premiere episode was on December 17, 1989, but the broadcast was only released in May 1990. With over 31 years in production, the animated family is still on the big screen and we have reasons to believe that it will continue to be there for decades to come.

Kids and adults alike are hooked to its episodes as it contains mature storylines as well as sarcastic humor. The show inspired other animated series like South Park and Family Guy.

Cops - 31 years

First broadcast: March 11, 1989
Final broadcast: May 11, 2020
Number of seasons: 32
Number of episodes: 1,103

Cops
Image from Wikipedia

After 32 seasons and thousands of arrests later, the 31-year production of the show came to an end on May 11, 2020. Since its first episode on March 11, 1989, the program gave the thrill of a lifetime. It features real-life captures and arrests from law enforcement. The cameras usually follow operations that show cops doing what they do best.

America's Funniest Home Videos - 31 years

First broadcast: November 26, 1989
Number of seasons: 31
Status: Ongoing

America's Funniest Home Videos
Image from Decider

After a long day at work, you can never go wrong with an episode of America’s Funniest Home Videos or simply, AFV. For over 31 years on air, the show features homemade funny videos from the viewers. It started as an ABC channel special in 1989 by Bob Saget. But because of its potential, it became a weekly series up until this day. Its 31st series debuted last year, October 18, 2020.

Captain Kangaroo - 29 years

First broadcast: October 3, 1955
Final broadcast: December 8, 1984
Number of seasons: 29
Number of episodes: 6,090

Captain Kangaroo
Image from MeTV

On October 3, 1955, CBS released the first episode of this children’s TV show. In its day, it’s considered the longest-running tv show broadcast for children. It aired for 29 years and had its final episode on December 8, 1984. It’s surprising to know that during its time, it had over 6,090 episodes. The producer of the show, Bob Keeshan, wanted to showcase the love and relationship between grandparents and children.

The Jerry Springer Show - 27 years

First broadcast: September 20, 1991
Final broadcast: July 26, 2018
Number of seasons: 27
Number of episodes: 4,969

jerry springer show
Photo in Public Domain

Who does not want a real-life drama on TV? This was what made the show so successful in over 27 years. It was on September 30, 1991, that the show aired its first episode. The program runs for around 40 minutes and it features controversial topics like adultery, incest, etc. with guests doing unbelievable antics.

Critics say that it’s “trash tv” but the ratings proved otherwise. But no matter how good things get, it eventually comes to an end. After giving American television 4,969 episodes, the show ended on July 26, 2018. Still, there is no denying that The Jerry Springer Show is one of the longest-running tv shows in the country.

The Oprah Winfrey Show - 25 years

First broadcast: September 8, 1986
Final broadcast: May 25, 2011
Number of seasons: 25
Number of episodes: 4,561

The Oprah Winfrey Show

Oprah Winfrey was one of those “rags to riches” motivational stories. For instance, her show ran for around 25 years after its first episode on September 8, 1986. The talk show features guests and topics usually revolve around American culture and consciousness. Despite bowing down on May 25, 2011, Oprah still didn’t leave by having her own television network. It’s now known as OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.

South Park - 23 years

First broadcast: August 13, 1997
Number of seasons: 23
Status: Ongoing

South Park

The animated sitcom has been releasing parodied controversial events since August 13, 1997. Even after more than 23 years, the show is still going strong and is very influential in pop culture. The show features school boys that set on several adventures. It might be an animated series but the content should not be taken lightly. Episodes contain hilarious parodies about celebrities and current events.