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The longest running primetime TV shows

by Kristin Sample, posted Jul 14th 2008 2:20PM
The Simpsons familyAOL TV has a list of the top ten longest running TV shows. It's a great trip down memory lane or if your a product of gen-Y like me, it's a good history lesson. I knew one (just one!) show on that list. I thought The Simpsons would be first for sure. Turns out that show is number ten. At least I got one.

The Simpsons has been on the air since 1989 and is still running. AOL TV summed up the animated show's success: "Spawning multiple catchphrases, iconic characters and a 2007 hit movie, FOX's pop-culture cornerstone satirizes overall society." And to think, Jennifer Tilly (once married to Simpsons producer Sam Simon) didn't predict that the show would do well. I remember watching a documentary on poker of all things (Tilly is an avid player as is Simon). She said that she didn't see the allure of people with yellow faces.

My other guesses were even more off-base. The Real World! Friends! Seinfeld! Check out the rest of the list and see how you do.

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For the weekly top ten tv shows.I want the WWE ones out of the top
Ten.And put in Moonlighting and Miami Vice.

February 18 2011 at 9:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Guiding Light (Soap Opera CBS) has also been on the air for decades. It was first on the radio before transitioning to television.

October 09 2008 at 12:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I guess they had to restrict it to prime-time, regularly shown, US originated programmes that have never run on PBS. Otherwise, practically all of those shows would be off the list.

Doctor Who, Tonight Show and Meet The Press have already been mentioned, so I'll go with a few others from a variety of genres.

Today Show: 1952-now (57 years)
As The World Turns: 1956-now (52 years)
Wide World of Sports: 1961-2006 (45 years)
Sesame Street: 1969-now (39 years)
The Price is Right: 1972-now (36 years)
Nova: 1974-now (34 years)
Saturday Night Live: 1975-now (33 years)
American Bandstand: 1957-1987 (30 years)
Nightline: 1980-present (28 years)

Makes most of the list look like they need to go around the block a few more times.

July 16 2008 at 11:18 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Whoever put that list together didn't even bother doing research. They left out the longest running show in the history of television worldwide.

Meet The Press has been going for over 60 years and has been on television every Sunday since November 1947 after debuting two years earlier on the radio.

That's 3,166 weekly episodes so far and it's not even close to running out of steam.

July 15 2008 at 12:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

How is The Tonight Show not on this list? Johnny Carson was the host for 30 years alone...add all the hosts together and the show has been on the air for 54 years!

July 15 2008 at 12:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Well the link didn't work for me...so thanks Seth

Does Dr Who count as not an american show? I agree the news shows don't belong or they may as well included the 1st local news show that probably still airs the 6 or 10 oclock news.

I might let the variety shows slide as at least they are writen skits as opposed to reporting news....and probably cops and AMW should be take off as well. Then get MASH and Happy Days up there.

July 15 2008 at 1:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's a common misconception that the Simpsons has been on the air for a long time. Unfortunately, while the show airs what can technically called "new" episodes the show only existed for about 7 years.

The show's actual existence lies between seasons 3 thru 10 when it was funny/interesting/sane.

you see, since then what we've been seeing has been nothing more than an endless parade of crappy celebrity cameos, preachy unimaginative plots, and complete left wing garbage.

July 14 2008 at 5:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Seth Brower

I was a bit annoyed that they left out Doctor Who, considered to be the longest-running science fiction TV series in history, airing initially from 1963 to 1989. With its revival currently in its 3rd year. Even if we disregard the current run as a completely separate entity, looking at the numbers they got on the other shows 26 years should have qualified it. By their own math it should have been #4, unfortunately pushing Simpsons off the list, then again I think its a little cheap that they included what essentially amounts to news programing.

Simpsons 89- (19 years)
Cops 89- (19 years)
Americas Most Wanted 88- (20 years)
Gunsmoke 55-75 (20 years)
48 Hours 88- (20 years)
Red Skelton 51-71 (20 years)
Ed Sullivan Show 48-71 (23 years)

Doctor Who 63-89 (26 years)

20/20 78- (30 years)
Monday Night Football 70- (38 years)
60 Minutes 68- (40 years)

July 14 2008 at 3:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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