Every TV series dreams of lasting a long time on the screen, especially if they plan to go beyond just one season. The longest running TV show have accumulated an astonishing number of years. Some of these shows have been around for so long that they’re loved by multiple generations within the same family. Even for a show released in the past year to be in the running for this list, it would need to stay on air until the 2050s!
From kids’ shows to daytime television, there are many examples of series that have continued year after year, becoming iconic as some of the longest-running TV shows globally.
Figuring out which TV show holds the title for being the longest depends on what kinds of shows you include. Many news and sports programs like Meet the Press or Monday Night Football have been on for decades with the same name. However, they could technically go on forever, so they aren’t part of the count. This list mainly focuses on scripted programs in English, and it ranks them based on the time from their very first episode to their last (or up to the present day for ongoing shows).
In 2023, there are numerous series that are still adding to their impressive number of years on air. Some of them are even approaching a staggering seven decades since they first started airing.
What are the longest running TV shows?
26th Longest running tv show with 15 active Years
Following in the footsteps of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which started in 1997 and continued for seven years, Supernatural follows a similar path, delving into the world of hunting monsters, demons, and ghosts. However, in this case, the ones carrying out the monster-slaying activities are the Winchester brothers, Sam and Dean – portrayed by Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles – adding a TV-friendly twist to the concept.
Bringing its 15th season to a close in 2020, Supernatural didn’t call it quits there. Instead, it introduced a prequel series titled The Winchesters in 2022. Despite the prequel being canceled in May, the fan base remains incredibly passionate, hinting that there might still be more stories to unravel in the Supernatural universe…
Captain Kangaroo (1955 – 1984)
25th Longest running tv show with 30 active Years
Captain Kangaroo is a TV show that started back in 1955. The person behind it all was Bob Keeshan, and he even played the main character, Captain Kangaroo. But that’s not all – he also acted as other characters on the show.
What makes this show special is that Bob Keeshan thought kids were smart. He didn’t treat them like they didn’t know things. Nope, he asked them to think and believed they had good taste. He really liked people, especially kids.
Imagine this – Captain Kangaroo was on TV for almost thirty years! It finally stopped in 1984 after showing more than 6,000 episodes. Can you believe it? When it ended, it held a record as the longest-running kids’ TV show ever. But things have changed since then, and newer shows have beaten that record.
You know what’s cool? Even after it ended, Captain Kangaroo still came back on TV. People watched the old episodes again, and some new parts were even added in. That’s how much everyone loved it!
The Simpsons (1989 – Present)
24th Longest running tv show with 34 active Years
It’s pretty amazing how The Simpsons has managed to stick around as one of the longest-running TV shows. This animated family has been entertaining us for decades and making people laugh across different generations. It all started back in 1987 when The Simpsons were just short sketches on The Tracey Ullman Show. Then, in 1989, they became a full-fledged series, and since then, they’ve been one of the longest-running animated shows globally.
Think about it, the show has been going on for nearly three and a half decades. That’s six American presidencies and a lot of changes in pop culture and politics. The original cast has brilliantly poked fun at all of it.
The impact The Simpsons has had on our culture during its 34-year run is really something. At first, it was all about Bartmania and high school kids couldn’t get enough of it. But then, it reached out to adults too, who loved the clever humor and mature stories. It even paved the way for other animated hits like Family Guy and South Park, which have also been around for quite a while.
You know those GIFs you see online? Well, many of them come from the early seasons of The Simpsons. It’s like they’ve found a new life on the internet. And can you believe it? After more than thirty seasons, The Simpsons is still going strong, showing no signs of slowing down. It’s like an old friend that’s always there to make us laugh.
Columbo (1968 – 2003)
23rd Longest running tv show with 35 active Years
Columbo, that’s the name of the American detective drama starring Peter Falk as the clever crime-solver. It all began back in 1968 and 1971 when they first showed a couple of pilot episodes. But it wasn’t until a bit later that they got the thumbs up for a full-blown series.
What set this show apart was its unique twist. Unlike other mystery series, where you’re left guessing who did it, Columbo gave it away right at the start. Yep, you saw the killer clear as day. The real puzzle was in watching how this crafty detective would outsmart them. They slotted it in for a nice 90 minutes once a month, part of the NBC Mystery Movie lineup, hanging out with other detective shows to keep things interesting.
After making folks happy for many, many years, Columbo took a breather from regular episodes in 1990. But don’t think it disappeared! Nope, for the next thirteen years, they switched things up and had these longer TV specials instead of the usual episodes. Because of this sort of irregular schedule, guess how many episodes they managed to rack up? Just 69, even though it’s known as one of the longest-lasting detective shows ever.
Would you believe that even now, a fresh batch of younger fans is tuning in to Columbo? Yeah, it’s making a comeback and even inspiring new shows like Poker Face. It goes to show, a great detective never really goes out of style.
Search for Tomorrow (1951 – 1986)
22nd Longest running tv show with 35 active Years
This show is currently not available on any streaming platforms
Search for Tomorrow, an American soap opera, kicked off its journey in 1951. The heart of the story revolved around Joanne Gardner, brought to life by Mary Stuart, who beautifully portrayed her character throughout all of the show’s thirty-five seasons. Back in the day, this series held the record for being the longest-running TV show, a true favorite among viewers. But you know how time goes by, and records get broken.
The final curtain fell on this soap opera in 1986, after treating us to over 9,000 episodes of captivating drama. It wasn’t just the viewers who were smitten; the show scooped up a handful of Daytime Emmy awards too. Somewhere in the early 80s, the show made headlines by going live on air, a rarity in those times. You see, a pre-recorded episode mysteriously vanished, leading to this unexpected live broadcast.
As we reminisce, we can’t help but recall the familiar faces that graced the screen. Some of them, like Kevin Bacon, Jane Krakowski, and Kevin Conroy, went on to achieve fame in other ventures. It’s like a treasure trove of talent that once found its roots in this beloved soap opera.
Another World (1964 – 1999)
21st Longest running tv show with 35 active Years
Another World is not available for streaming
Back in the day, when daytime soap operas were riding high, ‘Another World’ stood tall among them. It graced the screens on NBC in 1964, and its story continued to unfold through a whopping 8,891 episodes until the curtain fell in 1999. This soap wasn’t like the others, oh no, it dared to be different.
Unlike the typical focus on everyday life, ‘Another World’ delved into the divisions that set families apart across various social classes. This fresh approach struck a chord with viewers, making it NBC’s top-rated soap opera for a remarkable 15 years. And let me tell you, it wasn’t just content with sticking to the norm. This soap had the guts to expand its airtime beyond the usual 30 minutes, and it even birthed its very own spinoffs, etching its name as one of the era’s longest-running TV gems.
But what truly sets ‘Another World’ apart? Well, it’s not just about breaking the taboos of its time by addressing topics like abortion head-on, although that’s definitely a milestone. It’s also about being a trailblazer in the soap world. You see, ‘Another World’ pulled off a crossover event with another soap, ‘Guiding Light,’ and boy, did fans love it. This move was a first in soap history, and it created quite the stir.
Now, let’s talk about the stars that graced this show. The likes of Scott Bakula, Christine Baranski, Marcia Cross, and yes, even the legendary Morgan Freeman, left their mark on ‘Another World.’ It’s like a treasure trove of talent that once shared the spotlight in this iconic soap opera.
The Bold And The Beautiful (1987 – Present)
20th Longest running tv show with 36 active Years
Starting its TV journey in 1987, The Bold and the Beautiful isn’t just any show. It shares its world with another TV gem, The Young and the Restless, a show that’s been around for ages too. This one’s all about the Forrester family and their whirlwind lives spread across many decades. People from all corners of the globe seem to have their eyes glued to this show, making it one of the most-watched soap operas ever. And guess what? It’s one of those rare birds still flying on network television.
Just like its partner-in-crime series, The Bold and the Beautiful doesn’t seem to run out of steam. Fresh episodes keep rolling in, and they’ve already reached a whopping 8,000 episodes milestone. That’s a lot of drama and intrigue for your TV hours. Oh, and when it comes to episode counts and longevity, this show is right up there with the big ones.
Over time, it’s scooped up awards like they’re going out of style. Think Daytime Emmys and more. And hey, that’s not all. Famous faces like Denise Richards, Betty White, Wayne Brady, and others you’d instantly recognize have stepped into the spotlight of this show. They’ve made it quite the star-studded affair.
Last of the Summer Wine Sitcom (1973-2020)
19th Longest running tv show with 37 active Years
When it comes to the longest running sitcoms in the US, you’ve got the champs: Curb Your Enthusiasm going strong for 23 years and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia keeping it up for 18 years. But wait till you hear about the UK heavyweight, Last of the Summer Wine, holding the crown for an astounding 37 years on the airwaves.
Unlike the sharp and daring style of those American leaders, Last of the Summer Wine takes a milder approach. It trails the ups and downs of three pals – Compo, Cyril, and Clegg – as they navigate the golden years of their lives. The humor here is easygoing, sprinkled with a good measure of slapstick comedy. That’s probably why both youngsters and grown-ups found themselves chuckling, turning it into a must-watch tradition for families every Sunday evening.
Casualty (1986 – Present)
18th Longest running tv show with 37 active Years
Currently not available to stream
When folks in the United States tune in to Grey’s Anatomy, it’s a bit mind-boggling to realize it’s been gracing the screens for 19 years. But, hold on to your seats, because when it comes to medical dramas in the U.K., that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The champion of all primetime medical dramas, with a whopping 1200 weekly episodes, is Casualty.
Back in 1986, Casualty kicked off its marathon run, setting its stage at the make-believe Holby City Hospital. What unfolds are the stories of the staff and patients caught up in its whirlwind. This show’s so well-loved that it’s given birth to not one, but four spin-off series over time, and it’s managed to bag quite a few shiny awards.
Originally cooked up as a response to the Margaret Thatcher era, it’s incredible to think how Casualty has persevered through all these years, standing tall in the present. Plus, it’s had a fair share of A-listers grace its episodes, including names like Kate Winslet, Orlando Bloom, Jodie Comer, and Tom Hiddleston.
EastEnders (1985 – Present)
17th Longest running tv show with 38 active Years
EastEnders is not available for streaming.
Since 1985, EastEnders, the British soap opera, has been unfolding its stories on U.K. screens. It’s like a familiar friend on BBC One, painting tales in a make-believe East London borough, where local folks and their families take the spotlight. It all began with two 30-minute episodes per week, then grew to three, and in 2001, it really kicked into gear, hitting five days a week.
The show didn’t just tiptoe into the scene; it waltzed in with a bang. Remember that Christmas Day episode in 1986? Well, over 30 million pairs of eyes were glued to it. And believe it or not, after the curtains closed, there were electricity spikes as millions hurried to brew a nice cup of tea.
Wrap your mind around this: nearly 6,500 episodes have graced the airwaves during 37 years of production. That’s a journey longer than most, making it one of the grandest, most long-lasting shows globally. But it’s more than just its years; EastEnders has etched itself as a crucial slice of British TV, bravely delving into tricky, often hush-hush topics.
Unlike its American counterparts, EastEnders doesn’t dance in high-society circles; it sets its stage among the everyday folks, capturing the heart and soul of East London’s cultural landscape. It might not be a household name in the U.S., but let me tell you, within the U.K., EastEnders holds a prime spot in the cultural spotlight.
Late Night (1982 – Present)
16th Longest running tv show with 41 active Years
Late Night, that chatty show that first hit the screens in 1982 with David Letterman steering the ship. This show isn’t just about serving up news; it’s a comedy feast with a twist on the headlines, chats with the big shots of Hollywood, and even some sketches and creative bits thrown into the mix. Think of it like a buffet of fun.
Over four decades of history, Late Night has seen its fair share of hosts. You’ve got David Letterman, Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon, and now Seth Meyers taking the mic. Each of them has put their own unique stamp on the show, turning each era into its own mini-series. Letterman’s stint, in particular, stands out for its quirky, offbeat humor – it even snagged a Peabody citation.
Once upon a time, the late-night slot on TV was like a desert. But not anymore. It’s like a bustling marketplace now, drawing in programmers, performers, and viewers alike. And if you’re looking for a champion in the past decade, one name shines the brightest – Late Night With David Letterman.
As we chat, Seth Meyers is still at the helm of Late Night. He slid into that role after his gig on the even-longer-running show, Saturday Night Live. The show itself has notched over 6,000 episodes in its 41-year history, and it’s not about to throw in the towel anytime soon. This show is on a marathon run, solidifying its place as one of the heavyweights in the late-night TV arena, and it’s a journey that’s far from its final chapter.
All My Children (1970 – 2013)
15th Longest running tv show with 43 active Years
Imagine a soap opera that hit the screens back in 1970 and waved goodbye in 2013, but not before settling into a new online abode for a while. This show wasn’t just another soap; it took you into a make-believe Philadelphia suburb, with characters who had their own stories to tell. And guess what? It broke the mold by reeling in a substantial 30% male viewership, a rarity back then.
Think about Susan Lucci, and the first thing that comes to mind is her role as Erica Kane, the leading lady in this show. She held the spotlight for a whopping 41 years, becoming a darling of daytime television.
Things hit a rough patch when ABC pulled the plug in 2011. But hold on, the story didn’t end there. There was a revival, a comeback that saw 40 more episodes gracing the screen. Can you believe it? A grand total of 10,755 episodes. That’s some serious staying power. All My Children is a classic example of how soap operas can weave tales for ages. You see, it’s not about finding new stories; it’s about keeping that loyal audience engaged through the ages.
Doctor Who (1963 – 1989, 1996, 2005-Present)
14th Longest running tv show with 45 active Years
Doctor Who’s adventures have been a beloved part of British culture since it first appeared on screens in 1963. Known for its clever stories, futuristic jargon, and a Time Lord who can regenerate, allowing different actors to step into the lead role, Doctor Who holds the record as the longest-running sci-fi TV show, known around the world. Over the years, thirteen men and women have taken on the role of the Doctor, and the fourteenth is getting ready to make a debut in 2023.
The “Classic” era of Doctor Who spanned from 1963 to 1989 before BBC abruptly put a stop to it. After an unsuccessful attempt at a revival in 1996, the series went quiet for a whole decade. Then, in 2005, writer Russell T. Davies reignited the show, cleverly extending the original timeline instead of starting over. This move introduced a brand-new era of Doctor Who to a fresh generation of families. The “New Who” continues to capture hearts globally by bringing new episodes to screens, keeping its passionate fanbase entertained.
As the show approaches its seventieth anniversary, with Davies once again at the helm, it’s clear that Doctor Who isn’t planning on disappearing anytime soon. It’s a timeless tale that keeps on captivating audiences young and old.
Top Gear (1977 – Present)
13th Longest running tv show with 46 active Years
Top Gear is a TV show that kicked off back in 1977 on BBC. Over the years, a bunch of different folks took turns hosting it, but the ones who really stole the spotlight were Noel Edmonds and Jeremy Clarkson. Now, if you’re American, you might be more familiar with the version that hit screens in 2002 in the U.S. But guess what? The original UK version has been cruising along since 1977, dishing out more than 500 episodes packed with hosts yakking about all kinds of cars.
Even with a bit of controversy here and there, this show was a roaring hit for BBC, especially in the ’80s and early ’90s. It was like a domino effect – everyone wanted to copy its style. But here’s the twist: in 2002, when BBC hit the brakes on the show, the production crew didn’t just throw in the towel. Nope, they shifted gears and started a new show called Fifth Gear on Channel 5. And as if that wasn’t enough, BBC hit the gas again and brought back Top Gear with Clarkson leading the pack. And you know what? It’s still going strong, making it one of the oldest TV shows out there when it comes to these documentary-style series.
But that’s not all – it’s not just the Brits who get to enjoy this show. It’s like they decided to give everyone a taste, spreading it across the globe and airing in a bunch of different countries. So, if you’ve got a thing for cars and a penchant for some TV time, you might want to rev up your engines and give Top Gear a spin.
One Life To Live (1968 – 2012)
12th Longest running tv show with 44 active Years
Imagine a TV show that ran for a whopping 45 years and aired more than 11,000 episodes! That’s the incredible journey of “One Life to Live,” a true legend in the world of daytime shows. What makes it even more remarkable is that this soap opera was a trailblazer in embracing diversity, smashing the old norm of only focusing on well-off WASP families. To put things in perspective, “One Life to Live” aired over 14 times the number of episodes that “The Simpsons” did in its 30+ years on air.
Picture this: the story unfolds in the fictional city of Llanview, which is part of Philadelphia. The heart of the series often revolved around the well-to-do Lord family, the hardworking Polish American Woleks, the middle-class Irish Catholic Rileys, and the African-American Grays. After an incredible run spanning more than four decades, the show finally said goodbye in 2013. Along the way, it nabbed an impressive six Daytime Emmys for Outstanding Drama Series and secured its place as one of the longest-running TV shows ever.
Saturday Night Live (1975 – Present)
11th Longest running tv show with 48 active Years
Back in 1975, a person named Lorne Michaels did something pretty amazing – they brought Saturday Night Live to our TVs when the moon was high up. And guess what? It’s still shining its light on us even today! This show wasn’t just any old show, it was a trailblazer in comedy and a real champ when it came to talking about stuff like race, class, and politics – things that can make your head spin. The coolest part? They managed to do it in a way that made everyone crack a smile, no matter which team they were cheering for.
Now, let’s talk sketches – those funny little scenes that make you giggle. Over the years, this show has taken aim at nine presidents, giving them a friendly ribbing. And oh boy, have they introduced us to some unforgettable characters! You know, the kind that stick with you like gum on a shoe. Some of these cool cats even made their way onto the big screen, strutting their stuff in movies like The Blues Brothers and Wayne’s World.
Fast forward to the 1990s – that was like the show’s prime time. Back then, comedians like Adam Sandler, Norm MacDonald, and Chris Farley were the real wizards of humor. They had us rolling on the floor, clutching our bellies from laughter. And guess what else this show did? It jump-started the careers of so many funny folks! From Eddie Murphy’s infectious grin to Chevy Chase’s mischievous charm, this show played a big role in making them famous.
Guess what? This show is still on the air, making us laugh until our sides hurt. It’s like a timeless joker that never gets old. And let’s not forget, it’s one of the longest-running sketch comedy shows ever. So, when you see those headlines about what’s going on in the world, don’t be surprised if this show’s got something to say about it. It’s like a friend who always has the juiciest gossip!
The Young And The Restless (1973 – Present)
10th Longest running tv show with 50 active Years
Can you believe it? This show has been around for a whopping fifty years, treating us to more than 12,000 episodes! It’s like that marathon runner who just keeps on going, and it’s one of the longest-standing TV shows you can find in the whole of America.
Way back when it all started, this groundbreaking soap opera had its focus on two main families: the wealthy Brooks bunch and the hardworking Fosters. They were like the stars of the show, and people couldn’t get enough of their dramas. And guess what? For a whopping 34 years, this show held the crown as the top-rated daytime drama. Now, that’s a record to brag about!
But the excitement doesn’t stop there. Even its spinoff series, The Bold and the Beautiful, has been a hit for more than three decades. It’s like the apple didn’t fall far from the tree – still charming audiences all these years later.
Now, let’s talk about the ‘80s. Things were shaking up and changing a lot. Most of the original gang had their final curtain call – except for Jill Foster. New families stepped into the spotlight, namely the Abbotts and the Williamses. It’s like a new chapter began, and viewers were hooked to see what these fresh faces would bring to the story.
But you know what’s truly wild? Amid all these twists and turns, there’s one tale that’s stood the test of time. It’s the never-ending feud between Jill Abbott and Katherine Chancellor. These two have been at it since the beginning, and their rivalry holds the record for the longest-running grudge in American soap opera history. It’s like a saga within a saga!
So, when you tune into this show, you’re not just watching TV – you’re diving into a world that’s been spinning stories for half a century, making you a part of its history.
Emmerdale (1972 – Present)
9th Longest running tv show with 51 active Years
Emmerdale is a classic British show that’s been around since way back in 1972. It’s like a timeless tale that’s still unfolding, with over 9,000 episodes and counting! This soap opera has captured the hearts of folks all across the UK, becoming a daytime favorite and a real hit on ITV.
Can you believe that when this show first came into the scene, it was meant to stick around for just three months? But boy, did it prove everyone wrong! Slowly but surely, it won over more and more viewers, especially when it rolled out some seriously jaw-dropping storylines in the 1980s. That was the era when this show flexed its muscles and became one of the giants in British soap opera history.
Now, let’s travel back to the beginning. Originally, it was called Emmerdale Farm (that’s the name it sported until ’89), and it was all about the Sugden family – a bunch of farmers living their lives in the fictional village of Emmerdale, nestled in Yorkshire. It’s like stepping into a world of rolling hills and charming folks, right in the heart of your TV.
But oh, the twists and turns this show took! As time went on, some of the key characters waved their goodbyes, and a parade of new faces marched in, carrying even more thrilling tales. And you know what? It all added up to making this show one for the record books – it’s up there among the longest-lasting TV shows ever created.
So, the next time you catch an episode of Emmerdale, remember that you’re diving into a story that’s been unfolding for decades, like a book with endless chapters. It’s a show that’s stood the test of time, keeping generations hooked with its drama, love, and a taste of British life.
As The World Turns (1956 – 2010)
8th Longest running tv show with 54 active Years
As the World Turns is not available for streaming.
After captivating audiences for nearly 14,000 episodes, this show bid farewell in 2010 due to a steady decline in its ratings. It was a creation of Irna Phillips, who conceived “As the World Turns” as a spin-off from her previous soap opera, Guiding Light.
At its heart were the Hugheses, a core family of medical professionals, legal experts, and clergy members, a pattern that later became quite common in soap operas. This show holds the record for the longest total running time among all narrative TV series, clocking in at an impressive 13,736 hours. To put it in perspective, if you were to watch every episode back-to-back, you’d be in for over a year and a half of continuous viewing!
The show’s pace was deliberately slow, and it hesitated to introduce numerous new characters or delve into sensitive topics. This approach earned it a reputation for conservatism, a surprising label for one of the world’s longest-running TV shows. Notably, Helen Wagner graced the show for over 50 years, making her one of the most enduring characters in television history.
Sesame Street (1969 – Present)
7th Longest running tv show with 54 active Years
With more than 4,500 episodes under its belt, Sesame Street easily earns its place as one of the most cherished children’s shows ever, and it’s right up there as one of the longest-lasting TV series too. The show’s magic lies in the antics of Jim Henson’s Muppets, who skillfully convey information through their routines. It’s a mix of quick films, humor, and a touch of cultural insight.
Sesame Street’s trophy case boasts over 200 Emmys, and its popularity has sparked versions in many countries around the globe. But beyond accolades, the show’s core mission is to teach kids about the world and important social matters. It does so in a way that’s easy to grasp and keeps their attention, all without talking down to them.
Remember the famous segments like “Bert & Ernie”? How about “Elmo’s World”? These have become household names. And Sesame Street isn’t short on star power either — notable figures like Michelle Obama and Lupita Nyong’o have stepped onto its vibrant set.
After more than 45 years on PBS, Sesame Street took a leap and moved its new episodes to HBO in 2016. These days, it continues to captivate a fresh generation of youngsters through the Max streaming service, ensuring that its timeless lessons and cheerful characters keep lighting up screens.
Sazae-San / サザエさん (1969 – Present)
6th Longest running tv show with 54 active Years
For over fifty years and across more than 7,500 episodes, this Japanese anime made for kids holds an extraordinary title – the Guinness World Record holder for the world’s longest-running anime TV show. Not just that, it’s also one of the lengthiest TV shows ever, period. It all springs from a manga series by Machiko Hasegawa, the creative mind behind both the writing and the illustrations. Worth noting, Machiko was a trailblazer as one of the initial female manga creators.
You might call it Japan’s beloved animated gem, cherished across the nation for its wide-reaching appeal. They even dub it the “national anime.” And believe it or not, it’s still racking up those viewership ratings, making it one of the top dogs on the domestic anime scene.
The story orbits around Sazae Fuguta. Her world centers on her family, including hubby Masuo, as they waltz through the complexities of post-World War II Japan. Their secret ingredients? Humor and oodles of love. Now, Sazae isn’t your run-of-the-mill character; she’s got spunk. What’s striking is that she doesn’t give two hoots about society’s opinions. That’s because Machiko’s aim was to create a character reflecting the spirit of contemporary Japanese young women of her time.
And you know what else? The triumph of this show sparked a chain reaction. It paved the path for other lengthy anime marvels tailored for youngsters – think Doraemon and Pokemon, for starters.
Days Of Our Lives (1965 – Present)
5th Longest running tv show with 58 active Years
The charm of “Days of Our Lives” doesn’t just boil down to classic soap opera ingredients that draw in audiences; there’s a twist of clever, good-natured marketing thrown in too, thanks to none other than the iconic sitcom “Friends.” And here’s a fun tidbit: Susan Seaforth Hayes holds the impressive record of appearing on the show over the span of all seven decades it has graced our screens.
Imagine this – a whopping 14,000 episodes under its belt. Through this marathon run, a carousel of different cast members and characters has danced in and out over the years. It’s one of the globe’s longest-running TV shows, so change is a natural part of the show’s rhythm.
At its inception, the spotlight was on the ups and downs of the well-to-do Horton family. Dr. Tom Horton took the lead, with his wife Alice right by his side, steering the ship of the family’s escapades. Remarkably, the Hortons have maintained their pivotal role even as the show’s storyline evolved.
And here’s the scoop: “Days of Our Lives” has packed its bags and moved to Peacock. The big news? The show’s schedule is set at least until fall 2025. That’s a confirmation that this TV juggernaut isn’t calling it quits anytime soon; its legacy as one of the longest-running series ever is set to keep on shining.
General Hospital (1963 – Present)
4th Longest running tv show with 60 active Years
General Hospital is like a real champ in the world of TV shows, with more than 15,000 episodes under its belt. Fans absolutely love it and consider it one of the top modern soap operas. Believe it or not, this show has been running since 1963, making it the second-longest-running drama on TV, just after Coronation Street. That’s a seriously long time!
This show is like the king of the Daytime Emmy Awards. It has won the Outstanding Drama Series award a whopping fourteen times. Can you believe that? No wonder it’s got such a huge fan base.
Back in the 1980s, things were really sizzling for General Hospital. You know why? Because of this amazing love story between Luke and Laura. Their romance was so hot that their wedding became one of the most-watched episodes in TV history. I mean, who doesn’t love a good love story, right?
When the show first started, it was all about the doctors, nurses, and patients on the 7th floor of the General Hospital. Picture this: an unnamed city where all the drama went down (they later named it Port Charles, by the way). But as time went on, the show spread its wings. Even though they’d always find a way to bring someone to the hospital, the stories started exploring all sorts of new things. It’s like they wanted to keep us guessing.
This show has been around for so long that it’s had some seriously famous folks dropping in. I’m talking about big shots like Elizabeth Taylor and Stephen A. Smith. I mean, that’s some impressive guest list, right?
Coronation Street (1960 – Present)
3rd Longest running tv show with 63 active Years
Can you believe that Coronation Street has been on TV for a whopping 63 years? That’s like a lifetime of drama right there! And get this, they’ve got over 10,000 episodes under their belt. Talk about dedication!
This show is like the champion of all TV dramas. It’s not just the longest-running British TV series, but it’s also the longest TV drama still going strong. Imagine that! The story revolves around the folks living in Coronation Street, which is this cozy neighborhood in Weatherfield, a town they made up somewhere in Greater Manchester.
What makes this show so cool is that it’s not all serious. They sprinkle in some light-hearted humor and even some real-world issues. They’ve talked about things like poverty and domestic abuse, which is pretty heavy stuff. It’s like they’re giving you a little bit of everything.
But here’s the kicker – this show isn’t just a local thing. Nope, it’s a global sensation. People all the way from the UK to the USA, Canada, and Australia are tuning in. That’s some serious international love!
And guess what? The folks at Guinness World Records took notice. They gave Coronation Street a shoutout for being the longest-running TV soap opera ever and one of the longest-running TV series in any category. Now that’s something to brag about!
The Tonight Show (1954 – Present)
2nd Longest running tv show with 69 active Years
Imagine this: a late-night talk show that first graced our screens way back in 1954. Picture this, the original host Steve Allen, with his charismatic presence, lighting up the stage as he took on the lead role. As the years rolled by, this show was embraced by audiences all over and played host to some of the finest talk show talents the world has ever seen. Names like Jack Parr, Johnny Carson, Jay Leno, Conan O’Brien, and most recently, Jimmy Fallon, have all taken the reins of this iconic show.
The impact of The Tonight Show on the world of television is undeniable. It played an instrumental role in shaping the very format of late-night talk shows that we know today. It holds the prestigious title of being the longest-running show of its kind in the history of television. Among its esteemed hosts, Johnny Carson stands out as not only the longest-serving but also the most cherished. As he bid farewell on his final show, he shared his heartfelt gratitude with these words:
“I consider myself fortunate to be among the fortunate individuals on this planet who have discovered their true calling. I’ve pursued my lifelong passion with unwavering enthusiasm, cherishing each and every moment along the way. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the distinguished gentlemen who have graced this platform with me for three decades: Mr. Ed McMahon and Mr. Doc Severinsen, as well as to all of you who are tuning in. Expressing sincerely, it has been both an esteemed honor and a cherished privilege to enter your households throughout these years, providing entertainment and joy.”
Let’s talk numbers for a moment. A staggering 12,000 episodes have graced the screens as part of The Tonight Show’s remarkable journey. Even though there was a dip in ratings during Jimmy Fallon’s time as host, the show persisted, unwavering in its commitment to entertain. And here’s the kicker: all signs point to the show hitting its 70th anniversary. Can you fathom that? Seventy years of laughter, interviews, and late-night entertainment. It’s a monumental achievement that firmly places The Tonight Show among the pantheon of the longest-running TV shows to ever grace our screens.
Guiding Light (1937 – 2009)
The Longest running tv show with 72 active Years
Can you believe it? This TV show held the spotlight for a remarkable 72 years, with a whopping 18,262 episodes to its name. The record books took notice, and the creators even snagged a Guinness World Record for this incredible achievement. CBS, after a history-making run, finally said farewell to the show in 2009.
Now here’s the kicker: Guiding Light’s journey was so extensive that it began its tale on the radio, even before commercial television was a thing. And guess what? It reached its grand finale in high definition in the digital age. If we count its radio days, Guiding Light takes the crown for the title of the longest-running TV show ever.
You can picture it, can’t you? Over those many years, the show saw numerous actors and writers come and go, giving the storyline a unique ebb and flow. But as time went on, the focus narrowed down to four core families – the Bauers, Spauldings, Lewises, and Coopers. Their intricate schemes and plots unfolded in the charming town of Springfield (not related to the town in The Simpsons, by the way).
The format of Guiding Light served as a blueprint for countless soap operas that followed. Its creator, Irna Phillips, left an indelible mark, not only crafting this show but also giving life to As the World Turns and Another World. She even mentored the minds behind other influential soap operas. Talk about a legacy that’ll stand the test of time!
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