List of longest-running U.S. primetime television series

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This is a list of the longest running U.S. primetime television series, ordered by the number of broadcast seasons offered by a U.S. broadcast network or cable network in prime time on the show's original run. Broadcast syndication that could have been scheduled by local stations in prime time have been omitted.

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Scripted television series[edit]

Series shaded in light blue are currently in production.

12 seasons or more[edit]

Scripted TV series 12 seasons or more
Number of
seasons
Series Network First broadcast Last broadcast Number of
episodes
26 The Simpsons[1] Fox December 17, 1989 Present 559
20 Gunsmoke[2] CBS September 10, 1955 March 31, 1975 635
20 Law & Order[3] NBC September 13, 1990 May 24, 2010 456
19 Lassie CBS/Syndication September 12, 1954 March 21, 1973 591
18 South Park Comedy Central August 13, 1997 Present 255
16 Law & Order:
Special Victims Unit
NBC September 20, 1999 Present 351
15 ER NBC September 19, 1994 April 2, 2009 331
15 CSI: Crime Scene
Investigation
CBS October 6, 2000 Present 323
14 The Adventures of
Ozzie and Harriet
[4]
ABC October 10, 1952 September 3, 1966 435
14 Bonanza[5] NBC September 12, 1959 January 16, 1973 431
14 Dallas CBS April 2, 1978 May 3, 1991 357
14 Knots Landing CBS December 27, 1979 May 13, 1993 344
13 King of the Hill Fox January 12, 1997 September 13, 2009 259
13 Family Guy Fox January 31, 1999 (original)
May 1, 2005 (revival)
February 14, 2002 (original)
Present (revival)
231
12 My Three Sons ABC/CBS September 29, 1960 August 24, 1972 380
12 NYPD Blue ABC September 21, 1993 March 1, 2005 261
12 Murder, She Wrote CBS September 1, 1984 May 19, 1996 264
12 Hawaii Five-O CBS September 26, 1968 April 26, 1980 284
12 Two and a Half Men CBS September 22, 2003 Present 246
12 NCIS CBS September 23, 2003 Present 266

10–11 seasons[edit]

Scripted TV series 10 seasons or more
Number of
seasons
Series Network First broadcast Last broadcast Number of
episodes
11 M*A*S*H CBS September 17, 1972 February 28, 1983 255
11 Happy Days ABC January 15, 1974 May 8, 1984 255
11 Cheers NBC September 30, 1982 May 20, 1993 275
11 The Danny
Thomas Show
ABC/CBS September 20, 1953 September 14, 1964 343
11 Frasier NBC September 16, 1993 May 13, 2004 264
11 Married... with Children Fox April 5, 1987 June 9, 1997 262
11 The Jeffersons CBS January 18, 1975 July 23, 1985 253
11 7th Heaven[6] WB/CW August 26, 1996 May 13, 2007 243
11 Grey's Anatomy ABC March 27, 2005 Present 221
11[7] American Dad! Fox/TBS February 6, 2005 Present 175
10 Murphy Brown CBS November 14, 1988 May 18, 1998 247
10 Friends NBC September 22, 1994 May 6, 2004 236
10 JAG NBC/CBS September 1, 1995 April 29, 2005 227
10 Beverly Hills, 90210 Fox October 4, 1990 May 17, 2000 296
10 Smallville WB/CW October 16, 2001 May 13, 2011 218
10 Law & Order:
Criminal Intent
NBC/USA September 30, 2001 June 26, 2011 195
10 Stargate SG-1 Showtime/ SCI-FI July 27, 1997 March 13, 2007 214
10 CSI: Miami CBS September 23, 2002 April 8, 2012 232
10 Supernatural WB/CW September 13, 2005 Present 200
10 Bones Fox September 13, 2005 Present 191
10 Criminal Minds CBS September 22, 2005 Present 218

50 seasons or more[edit]

Number of
seasons
Series Network First broadcast Last broadcast Number of
episodes
61 Hallmark Hall of Fame[8] NBC Dec 24, 1951 Dec 17, 1978 354
CBS Nov 14, 1979 April 30, 1981
PBS Feb 9, 1981 May 6, 1981
CBS Dec 1, 1981 Jan 29, 1989
ABC April 30, 1989 April 23, 1995
CBS Dec 10, 1995 April 24, 2011
ABC Nov 27, 2011 Present
53 Walt Disney Presents[9] ABC Oct 27, 1954 June 11, 1961 1,224
NBC Sep 24, 1961 Aug 16, 1981
CBS Sep 26, 1981 May 3, 1983
ABC Feb 2, 1986 May 22, 1988
NBC Oct 9, 1988 Aug 26, 1990
Disney Ch. Sep 23, 1990 Sep 21, 1997
ABC Sep 28, 1997 Dec 24, 2008
Disney Jr. March 23, 2012 Present

20-49 seasons[edit]

30–49 seasons[edit]

Number of
seasons
Series Network First broadcast Last broadcast Number of
episodes
46 Washington Week[10] NET, PBS February 23, 1967 present 2,000
47 60 Minutes CBS September 24, 1968 present
43 Monday Night Football ABC September 21, 1970 December 26, 2005 667
ESPN August 14, 2006 present
44 Masterpiece PBS January 10, 1971 present
41 Nova PBS March 3, 1974 present 698
40 Saturday Night Live NBC October 11, 1975 present 766
39 The Victory Garden PBS April 16, 1975 present
37 Austin City Limits PBS 1976 present
37 Live from Lincoln Center PBS January 30, 1976 present[11]
37 Live from the Met[12] PBS 1977 present[11]
37 Inside the NFL HBO September 1977 February 6, 2008
Showtime September 10, 2008 present
36 20/20 ABC June 6, 1978 present
35 Wall Street Week[13] PBS November 20, 1970 June 24, 2005
34 This Old House PBS February 20, 1979 present 786+
33 Firing Line Syndication 1966[14] 1971 240
PBS 1971 December 26, 1999
33 Mystery! PBS February 5, 1980 present
31 Nature PBS October 10, 1982 present
30 Frontline PBS January 17, 1983 present 520+

23–29 seasons[edit]

Number of
seasons
Series Network First broadcast Last broadcast Number of
episodes
29 The Real World[15] MTV May 21, 1992 present 532
29 Survivor CBS May 31, 2000 present 414[16]
27 Cops Fox March 11,1989 May 2013
Spike September 14, 2013 present 928
25 Camera Three CBS January 22, 1956 1979
PBS 1979 July 1, 1980
25 America's
Most Wanted
Fox February 7, 1988 April 21, 2012
Lifetime December 2, 2011 October 12, 2012 1,149
25 Larry King Live CNN June 3, 1985 December 16, 2010 6,120
25 The Simpsons[17] Fox December 17, 1989 present 559
25 America's Funniest
Home Videos
ABC November 26, 1989 present 400+
25 The Amazing Race CBS September 5, 2001 Present 272
23 The Ed Sullivan Show[18] CBS June 20, 1948 June 6, 1971
23 Crossfire CNN 1982 June 3, 2005

20–22 seasons[edit]

Number of
seasons
Series Network First broadcast Last broadcast Number of
episodes
22 E! News[19] E! September 1, 1991 present
22 Investigative Reports A&E September 27, 1991 2004
22 Dateline NBC[20] NBC March 31, 1992 present
22 National
Geographic
Explorer
[21]
Nickelodeon 1985 1986
WTBS/TBS 1986 1999
CNBC 1999 2001
MSNBC[22] 2001 2005
National
Geographic
2005 present
22 Grand Ole Opry[23] TNN April 20, 1985 August 2001
CMT August 2001 2003
GAC[24] 2003 present
22 Ted Mack and
The Original
Amateur Hour
[25]
DuMont January 18, 1948 October 1949
NBC October 1949 September 1954
ABC October 1955 June 1957
NBC July 1957 October 1958
CBS May 1959 October 1959
ABC March 1960 September 26, 1960
CBS October 2, 1960 September 27, 1970
21 The New Yankee
Workshop
PBS January 1988 June 27, 2009
21 Sábado Gigante[26] Univisión May 20, 1986 present
20 The Red
Skelton
Show
NBC September 30, 1951 June 21, 1953
CBS September 22, 1953 June 23, 1970
NBC September 14, 1970 August 29, 1971
20 Gunsmoke[27] CBS September 10, 1955 March 31, 1975 635
20 Law & Order[28] NBC September 13, 1990 May 24, 2010 456
20 NFL Primetime ESPN 1987 present
26 48 Hours[29] CBS January 2, 1988 present
20 Biography[30] A&E April 6, 1987[31] August 2006
Biography
Channel
August 2006 present[32]
20 Evans and Novak[33] CNN September 1982 November 9, 2002
20 Moneyline CNN June 1, 1980 2000
20 Nick News with
Linda Ellerbee
Nickelodeon April 18, 1992 present

10-19 seasons[edit]

17–19 seasons[edit]

Number of
seasons
Series Network First broadcast Last broadcast Number of
episodes
19 Dancing with the Stars ABC June 5, 2005 present 300+
19 ESPN Sunday Night Football[34] ESPN November 8, 1987[35] January 1, 2006
22 WWE Monday Night Raw USA January 11, 1993 September 18, 2000 1002
TNN/Spike TV September 25, 2000 July 30, 2005
USA August 6, 2005 present
19 POV PBS July 5, 1988 present
19 American Experience PBS October 1, 1988 present 220+
19 Lassie CBS/Syndication September 12, 1954 March 21, 1973 547
18 Baseball Tonight ESPN March 19, 1990 present
18 ESPN Major League Baseball[36] ESPN, ESPN2[37] April 15, 1990 present
18 The Bachelor ABC March 25, 2002 present 141
17 What's My Line?[38]
(network version)
CBS February 16, 1950 September 3, 1967 867
17 Outside the Lines ESPN 1990 present
17 Showbiz Today CNN October 29, 1984 2001
17 USA Tuesday Night Fights USA March 30, 1982 1998
17 Capital Gang CNN September 7, 1988 2005
17 South Park Comedy Central August 13, 1997 present 247

13–16 seasons[edit]

Number of
seasons
Series Network First broadcast Last broadcast Number of
episodes
16 Bleach (anime) Cartoon Network(Toonami) October 5, 2004 March 27, 2012 366
16 MTV Unplugged MTV November 26, 1989 November 10, 2005[39] 108
16 Booknotes C-SPAN April 2, 1989 December 5, 2004
16 The Lawrence Welk Show[40] ABC July 2, 1955 September 4, 1971
16 Antiques Roadshow PBS January 1, 1997 present
16 Law & Order:
Special Victims Unit
NBC September 20, 1999 present 347
16 Big Brother CBS July 5, 2000 present 500 >
15 ER NBC September 19, 1994 April 2, 2009 331
15 I've Got a Secret CBS June 19, 1952 April 3, 1967 350+
15 Concentration NBC August 25, 1958 March 23, 1973 3,796
15 The Jack Benny Program CBS October 29, 1950 September 15, 1964 343
NBC September 25, 1964 September 10, 1965
14 The Adventures of
Ozzie and Harriet
[41]
ABC October 10, 1952 September 3, 1966 435
14 Bonanza[42] NBC September 12, 1959 January 16, 1973 430
14 Dallas CBS April 2, 1978 May 3, 1991 357
14 Knots Landing CBS December 27, 1979 May 13, 1993 344
14 An Evening at the Improv A&E February 3, 1982 January 1, 1996
14 Wild America PBS 1982 1996 120
14 Video Soul BET June 26, 1983 1997
14 CSI: Crime Scene
Investigation
CBS October 6, 2000 present 317
13 King of the Hill Fox January 12, 1997 September 13, 2009 259
13 Armstrong Circle Theatre NBC June 32, 1950 June 1957
CBS October 1957 August 28, 1963
13 The 20th Century[43] CBS October 20, 1957 January 4, 1970
13 Unsolved Mysteries NBC January 20, 1987[44] September 5, 1997 560+
CBS November 13, 1997 June 11, 1999
Lifetime July 2, 2001 September 20, 2002
Spike TV October 13, 2008 present
13 Tim Russert CNBC 1994 2008
13 American Idol Fox June 11, 2002 present

10–12 seasons[edit]

Number of
seasons
Series Network First broadcast Last broadcast Number of
episodes
12 To Tell the Truth CBS December 18, 1956 September 6, 1968
12 CBS Reports CBS October 27, 1959 September 7, 1971
12 My Three Sons ABC September 29, 1960 September 2, 1965
CBS September 16, 1965 August 24, 1972
12 NYPD Blue ABC September 21, 1993 March 1, 2005 261
12 Murder, She Wrote CBS September 1, 1984 May 19, 1996 264
12 Hawaii Five-O CBS September 26, 1968 April 26, 1980 284
12 Private Screenings TCM January 1, 1996 present
12 Real Sports with
Bryant Gumbel
HBO 1995 present
12 Don Francisco Presenta Univision October 10, 2001 present
12 Family Guy Fox January 31, 1999 (original)
May 1, 2005 (revival)
February 14, 2002 (original)
present (revival)
231+
11 Kraft Television Theatre[45] NBC May 7, 1947 October 1, 1958
11 The Voice of Firestone NBC September 5, 1949 June 1954
ABC June 1954 June 1959
ABC September 1962 June 16, 1963
11 You Bet Your Life NBC October 5, 1950 June 29, 1961 429
11 The Andy Williams Show CBS 1957 1959
NBC 1962 1971
11 The Carol Burnett Show CBS September 11, 1967 March 29, 1978 278
11 M*A*S*H CBS September 17, 1972 February 28, 1983 251
11 Happy Days ABC January 15, 1974 May 8, 1984 255
11 Cheers NBC September 30, 1982 May 20, 1993 273
11 The Danny Thomas Show ABC September 20, 1953 1957 351
CBS 1957 September 14, 1964
11 Frasier NBC September 16, 1993 May 13, 2004 265
11 All That Nickelodeon September 6, 1994[46] October 22, 2005
11 Married... with Children Fox April 5, 1987 June 9, 1997 259
11 The Jeffersons CBS January 18, 1975 July 23, 1985 255
11 7th Heaven[47] WB/CW August 26, 1996 May 13, 2007
11 Arthur Godfrey
and His Friends
CBS January 12, 1949 April 28, 1959
11 Two and a Half Men CBS September 22, 2003 present 246
11 NCIS CBS September 23, 2003 present 258
11 Mystery Science Theater 3000 KTMA November 24, 1988 May 28, 1989 197
Comedy Central November 18, 1989 May 18, 1996
Sci Fi February 1, 1997 September 12, 1999
10 Arthur Godfrey's
Talent Scouts
[48]
CBS December 6, 1948 July 21, 1958
10 Studio One[49] CBS November 7, 1948 September 29, 1958
10 The Arthur Murray Party[50] ABC July 20, 1950 September 1950
DuMont October 1950 March 1951
ABC April 1951 May 1952
CBS July 1952 August 1952
NBC October 1953 September 1955
CBS April 1956 September 1956
NBC July 1957 September 6, 1960
10 General Electric Theater CBS February 1, 1953 September 16, 1962
10 Stargate SG-1[51] Showtime July 27, 1997 May 17, 2002 215[52]
Sci Fi June 7, 2002 2007[53]
10 Alfred Hitchcock
Presents
[54]
NBC October 2, 1955 June 26, 1960 366
CBS September 25, 1960 June 26, 1962[55]
NBC September 20, 1962 July 3, 1964
CBS October 5, 1964 May 10, 1965
10 Nashville Now TNN March 1, 1983 January 1, 1993
10 Murphy Brown CBS November 14, 1988 May 18, 1998 247
10 Friends NBC September 22, 1994 May 6, 2004 236
10 JAG NBC September 1, 1995 May 22, 1996[56] 227
CBS January 3, 1997 April 29, 2005
10 Beverly Hills, 90210 Fox October 4, 1990 May 17, 2000 296
10 Pantomime Quiz[57] CBS July 1, 1950 August 1951
NBC January 1952 March 1952
CBS July 1952 May 1952
CBS July 1952 August 1953
DuMont October 1953 April 1954
CBS June 1954 August 1954
ABC January 1955 March 1955
CBS July 1955 July 1957
ABC April 1958 September 1959
10 The United States
Steel Hour
ABC October 27, 1953 June 21, 1955
CBS July 6, 1955 August 13, 1963
10 Smallville WB/CW October 16, 2001 May 13, 2011 218
10 Grey's Anatomy ABC March 27, 2005 present 220
10 Law & Order:
Criminal Intent
NBC September 30, 2001 May 21, 2007 195
USA October 4, 2007 June 26, 2011
10 CSI: Miami CBS September 23, 2002 April 8, 2012 232
10[7] American Dad! Fox/TBS February 6, 2005 present 160+

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Longest running prime time animated program in the United States.
  2. ^ Longest-running live-action prime time entertainment program with a consistent setting and recurring characters. While other prime-time shows have run longer, they are all news, sports, anthology or variety programs.
  3. ^ Longest-running live-action hour-long prime time entertainment program in the United States. While Gunsmoke has accumulated more episodes (635), 233 of its episodes were half-hour dramas. All of Law & Order's episodes were an hour long.
  4. ^ Longest running live-action sitcom.
  5. ^ First US network series to film all its episodes in color
  6. ^ Longest-running family drama on television, per Reuters article about 7th Heaven finale
  7. ^ a b The number of seasons of American Dad! is disputed. While some sources claim 2013-14 is its ninth season, its Wikipedia articles treat it as the 10th season.
  8. ^ Originally Hallmark Playhouse radio series, was Hallmark Television Playhouse (1951-1954)
  9. ^ Originally well known as The Wonderful World of Disney (1969-1979, 1997–2008), now airing as The Magical World of Disney (1988-1997, 2012-current)
  10. ^ Originally Washington Week in Review
  11. ^ a b Not currently on a regular schedule
  12. ^ Also known as The Metropolitan Opera Presents
  13. ^ Became Wall Street Week with Fortune after original host was fired in 2002
  14. ^ Pilot taped April 4, 1966
  15. ^ According to MTV, 18th season begins November 22, 2006
  16. ^ Survivor airs two seasons within each calendar year
  17. ^ Longest running prime time animated program in the United States.
  18. ^ Aired as Toast of the Town until 1955
  19. ^ Previously E! News Daily and E! News Live
  20. ^ Also known as Dateline (day of week it airs), Dateline With Stone Phillips
  21. ^ Host: Tom Chapin (1985-1988), Robert Urich (1988-1995), Bob Ballard (1988-1995), Boyd Matson (1995-2003), Michael Fay (2001), Lisa Ling (2003-)
  22. ^ Show renamed National Geographic Ultimate Explorer 2003-2005
  23. ^ Oldest continuously running radio program, airing on WSM radio, Nashville, Tennessee
  24. ^ As Grand Ole Opry Live!
  25. ^ Originated on radio as Major Bowes' Original Amateur Hour, 1934-1946
  26. ^ Continuation of series that aired 1962-1985 on Chile's Canal 13
  27. ^ Longest-running live-action prime time entertainment program with a consistent setting and recurring characters. While other prime-time shows have run longer, they are all news, sports, anthology or variety programs.
  28. ^ Longest-running live-action hour-long prime time entertainment program in the United States. While Gunsmoke has accumulated more episodes (635), 233 of its episodes were half-hour dramas. All of Law & Order's episodes were an hour long.
  29. ^ Also called 48 Hours Investigates
  30. ^ Originated on CBS
  31. ^ Reran CBS originals, 1984-1987
  32. ^ Rebroadcast A&E originals, 1999-2006
  33. ^ Other names: Evans, Novak, Hunt, and Shields (1998-2001), Novak, Hunt, and Shields (2001-2002)
  34. ^ Moved to NBC in 2006, at which time Monday Night Football moves from ABC to ESPN
  35. ^ Sunday Night Football shared with TNT, with TNT getting the first half of the season, ESPN the second half, 1990-1997
  36. ^ Includes Sunday Night Baseball, Wednesday Night Baseball, etc.
  37. ^ ESPN2 started broadcasting major league baseball games in 2002 in addition to those offered by ESPN
  38. ^ Longest-running game show in prime time network television; first-run syndication 1968-1975
  39. ^ New episodes sporadic after 2001
  40. ^ Originally The Dodge Dancing Party; first-run syndication 1971-1982; reruns have been airing since 1982 on various PBS stations
  41. ^ Longest running live-action sitcom.
  42. ^ First US network series to film all its episodes in color
  43. ^ The 21st Century 1967-1970
  44. ^ Includes series of specials, Jan. 1987 to May 1988
  45. ^ Also known as Kraft Mystery Theatre (1958); another series of the same name ran concurrently on ABC, 1953-1955
  46. ^ "Special preview" airing, April 16, 1994
  47. ^ Longest-running family drama on television, per Reuters article about 7th Heaven finale
  48. ^ On CBS radio 1946-1956
  49. ^ Originated on CBS Radio, 1947
  50. ^ The first series to be shown on four US broadcasting networks
  51. ^ Longest-running science fiction series in the United States.
  52. ^ According to Sci Fi Wire
  53. ^ Cancellation announced by Sci Fi Channel, August 21, 2006
  54. ^ The Alfred Hitchcock Hour 1962-1965
  55. ^ One episode wasn't aired on network TV, but was included in later syndication packages
  56. ^ One episode made its premiere on USA network as part of a JAG rerun package. The episode, planned to be the first of a two-part story, never aired on NBC before cancellation.
  57. ^ Originally aired locally in Los Angeles, 1947-1950