List of longest-running U.S. primetime television series with continuing characters

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This is a list of the longest-running primetime television series with continuing characters in the United States. Only shows that have run on a traditional broadcast network for seven or more seasons are included. Those that moved to cable, syndication or streaming are noted below.

Programs[edit]

Series shaded in light blue are currently on the air.
Number of
seasons
Series Network First air date Last air date Number of
episodes
31 The Simpsons FOX 1989-12-17 Present 673
21 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit NBC 1999-09-20 Present 472
20 Gunsmoke[1] CBS 1955-09-10 1975-03-31 635
20 Law & Order NBC 1990-09-13 2010-05-24 456
18 Family Guy FOX 1999-01-31 Present 343[2]
17[3] Lassie CBS[3] 1954-09-12 1971-03-21[3] 547[3]
17 NCIS CBS 2003-09-23 Present 394
16 Grey's Anatomy ABC 2005-03-27 Present 355
15 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation CBS 2000-10-06 2015-02-15[4] 335[4]
15 ER NBC 1994-09-19 2009-04-02 331
15 Criminal Minds CBS 2005-09-22 Present 322
15 Supernatural WB (Season 1)
CW (Seasons 2-)
2005-09-13 Present 318
15 The Jack Benny Show CBS (Seasons 1-14)
NBC (Season 15)
1950-10-28 1965-04-28 260
14 The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet ABC 1952-10-03 1966-04-23 434
14 Bonanza NBC 1959-09-12 1973-01-16 431
14 Dallas CBS 1978-04-02 1991-05-03 358
14 Knots Landing CBS 1979-12-27 1993-05-13 344
13 All in the Family[5] CBS 1971-01-12 1983-04-04 302
13 King of the Hill FOX[6] 1997-01-12 2009-09-13[6] 255[6]
12 My Three Sons ABC (Seasons 1-5)
CBS (Seasons 6-12)
1960-09-29 1972-04-13 380
12 The Lucy Show[7] CBS 1962-10-01 1974-03-18 300
12 Hawaii Five-O CBS 1968-09-26 1980-04-26 279
12 The Big Bang Theory CBS 2007-09-24 2019-05-16 279
12 Murder, She Wrote CBS 1984-09-30 1996-05-19 264
12 Two and a Half Men CBS 2003-09-22 2015-02-19 262
12 NYPD Blue ABC 1993-09-21 2005-03-01 261
12 Bones FOX 2005-09-13 2017-03-28 246
11 The Danny Thomas Show[8] ABC (Seasons 1-4)
CBS (Seasons 5-11)
1953-09-29 1964-04-27 344
11 Cheers NBC 1982-09-30 1993-05-20 275
11 Frasier NBC 1993-09-16 2004-05-13 264
11[9] Murphy Brown CBS 1988-11-14 2018-12-20[9] 260[9]
11 Married... with Children FOX 1987-04-05 1997-06-09[10] 258[10]
11 M*A*S*H CBS 1972-09-17 1983-02-28 256
11 Happy Days ABC 1974-01-15 1984-09-27[11] 255[11]
11 The Jeffersons CBS 1975-01-18 1985-07-02[12] 253[12]
11 NCIS: Los Angeles CBS 2009-09-22 Present 253
11 Modern Family ABC 2009-09-23 Present 245
11 7th Heaven WB (Seasons 1-10)
CW (Season 11)
1996-08-26 2007-05-13 243
11[13] Will & Grace NBC 1998-09-21 Present[13] 238[13]
11[14] The X-Files FOX 1993-09-10 2018-03-21[14] 218[14]
11[15] American Dad! FOX[16] 2005-02-06 2014-09-21[16] 175[16]
10 Beverly Hills, 90210 FOX 1990-10-04 2000-05-17 293
10 Friends NBC 1994-09-22 2004-05-06 236
10 Hawaii Five-0 CBS 2010-09-20 Present 234
10 CSI: Miami CBS 2002-09-23 2012-04-08 232
10[17] Roseanne ABC 1988-10-18 2018-05-22[17] 231[17]
10 JAG NBC (Season 1)
CBS (Seasons 2-10)
1995-09-01 2005-04-29 226[18]
10 Smallville WB (Seasons 1-5)
CW (Seasons 6-10)
2001-10-16 2011-05-13 218
10 Blue Bloods CBS 2010-09-24 Present 213
10 Bob's Burgers FOX 2011-01-09 Present 183
10 Columbo NBC (Seasons 1-7)
ABC (Seasons 8-10)
1971-09-15[19] 1982-11-22[19] 061[19]
09 The Beverly Hillbillies CBS 1962-09-26 1971-03-23 274
09 Perry Mason CBS 1957-09-21 1966-05-22 271
09 The Virginian[20] NBC 1962-09-19 1971-03-24 249
09 The Love Boat ABC 1977-09-24[21] 1986-05-24 244
09 The F.B.I. ABC 1965-09-19 1974-04-28 240
09 The Drew Carey Show ABC 1995-09-13 2004-09-08 233
09 Falcon Crest CBS 1981-12-04 1990-05-17 227
09 The Waltons CBS 1972-09-14[22] 1981-06-04 221
09 Dynasty ABC 1981-01-12 1989-05-11 220
09 The Middle ABC 2009-09-30 2018-05-22 215
09 Family Matters ABC (Seasons 1-8)
CBS (Season 9)
1989-09-22 1998-07-17 215
09 Touched by an Angel CBS 1994-09-21 2003-04-27 212
09 Everybody Loves Raymond CBS 1996-09-13 2005-05-16 210
09 One Day at a Time CBS 1975-12-16 1984-05-28 209
09 How I Met Your Mother CBS 2005-09-19 2014-03-31 208
09 The King of Queens CBS 1998-09-21 2007-05-14 207
09 Little House on the Prairie[23] NBC 1974-09-11 1983-03-21 204
09 Alice CBS 1976-08-31 1985-03-19 202
09 The Facts of Life NBC 1979-08-24 1988-05-07 201
09 The Office NBC 2005-03-24 2013-05-16 201
09 Coach ABC 1989-02-28 1997-05-14 197
09 CSI: NY CBS 2004-09-22 2013-02-22 197
09 Night Court NBC 1984-01-04 1992-05-31 193
09 Matlock NBC (Seasons 1-6)
ABC (Seasons 7-9)
1986-09-23[24] 1995-05-07 193
09 One Tree Hill WB (Seasons 1-3)
CW (Seasons 4-9)
2003-09-23 2012-04-04 187
09 Scrubs NBC (Seasons 1-7)
ABC (Seasons 8-9)
2001-10-02 2010-03-17 182
09 Seinfeld NBC 1989-07-05 1998-05-14 180
08 The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show CBS 1950-10-12 1958-09-15 291
08 Wagon Train NBC (Seasons 1-5)
ABC (Seasons 6-8)
1957-09-18 1965-05-02 284
08[25] Dragnet NBC 1951-12-16 1959-08-23[25] 276[25]
08 The Donna Reed Show ABC 1958-09-24 1966-03-19 275
08[26] Mama CBS 1949-07-01 1956-07-27[26] 261[26]
08 Bewitched ABC 1964-09-17 1972-03-25 254
08 The Andy Griffith Show CBS 1960-10-03 1968-04-01 249
08 Rawhide CBS 1959-01-09 1965-12-07 217
08 Home Improvement ABC 1991-09-17 1999-05-25 204
08 The Cosby Show NBC 1984-09-20 1992-04-30 201
08 Walker, Texas Ranger CBS 1993-04-21 2001-05-19 201
08 That '70s Show FOX 1998-08-23 2006-05-18 200
08 Ironside NBC 1967-09-14[27] 1975-01-16[28] 196[28]
08 Who's the Boss? ABC 1984-09-20 1992-04-25 196
08 Mannix CBS 1967-09-16 1975-04-13 194
08 Full House ABC 1987-09-22 1995-05-23 192
08[29] 24 FOX 2001-11-06 2010-05-24[29] 192[29]
08 Diff'rent Strokes NBC (Seasons 1-7)
ABC (Season 8)
1978-11-03 1986-03-07 189
08 Newhart CBS 1982-10-25 1990-05-21 184
08 According to Jim ABC 2001-10-03 2009-06-02 182
08 Desperate Housewives ABC 2004-10-03 2012-05-13 180
08 Barnaby Jones CBS 1973-01-28 1980-04-03 178
08 Laverne & Shirley ABC 1976-01-27 1983-05-10 178
08 Diagnosis: Murder CBS 1993-10-29 2001-05-11 178
08 The Practice ABC 1997-03-04 2004-05-16 178
08 Charmed WB 1998-10-07 2006-05-21 178
08 House FOX 2004-11-16 2012-05-21 177
08 Castle ABC 2009-03-09 2016-05-16 173
08 Chicago Fire NBC 2012-10-10 Present 173
08[30] Three's Company ABC 1977-03-15 1984-09-18[30] 172[30]
08 Wings NBC 1990-04-19 1997-05-21 172
08 Girlfriends UPN (Seasons 1-6)
CW (Seasons 7-8)
2000-09-11 2008-02-11 172
08 L.A. Law NBC 1986-10-03[31] 1994-05-19 171
08 The Vampire Diaries CW 2009-09-10 2017-03-10 171
08 Arrow CW 2012-10-10 2020-01-28 170
08 Barney Miller ABC 1975-01-23 1982-05-20 168
08 Magnum, P.I. CBS 1980-12-11 1988-05-08 162
08 Last Man Standing ABC (Seasons 1-6)
FOX (Seasons 7-)
2011-10-11 Present 162
08 Simon & Simon CBS 1981-11-24 1989-01-21 156
08 Perfect Strangers ABC 1986-03-25 1993-08-09 150
08 Quincy, M.E. NBC 1976-10-03 1983-09-04 148
07 Captain Video and His Video Rangers DuMont 1949-06-27 1955-04-01 273
07 Melrose Place FOX 1992-07-08 1999-05-24 226
07 Petticoat Junction CBS 1963-09-24 1970-04-04 222
07[32] The Golden Girls NBC[32] 1985-09-14 1992-05-09[32] 180[32]
07 Family Ties NBC 1982-09-22 1989-05-14 176
07 Adam-12 NBC 1968-09-21 1975-05-20 174
07 Star Trek: Voyager UPN 1995-01-16 2001-05-23 172
07 Mission: Impossible CBS 1966-09-17 1973-03-30 171
07 Medical Center CBS 1969-09-24[33] 1976-09-06 171
07 Empty Nest NBC 1988-10-08 1995-04-29 170
07 Marcus Welby, M.D. ABC 1969-09-23[34] 1976-05-04 169
07 The Mary Tyler Moore Show CBS 1970-09-19 1977-03-19 168
07 Growing Pains ABC 1985-09-24 1992-04-25 166
07 Mad About You NBC 1992-09-23 1999-05-24 164
07 Designing Women CBS 1986-09-29 1993-05-24 163
07 Sabrina, the Teenage Witch ABC (Seasons 1-4)
WB (Seasons 5-7)
1996-09-27 2003-04-24 163
07 Without a Trace CBS 2002-09-26 2009-05-19 160
07 Step by Step ABC (Seasons 1-6)
CBS (Season 7)
1991-09-20 1998-06-26 160
07 Benson ABC 1979-09-13 1986-04-19 158
07 Boy Meets World ABC 1993-09-24 2000-05-05 158
07 The West Wing NBC 1999-09-22 2006-05-14 156
07 Cold Case CBS 2003-09-28 2010-05-02 156
07 The Good Wife CBS 2009-09-22 2016-05-08 156
07 Once Upon a Time ABC 2011-10-23 2018-05-18 155
07 The Goldbergs ABC 2013-09-24 Present 154
07[35] Hunter NBC 1984-09-18 1991-04-26[35] 153[35]
07[36] Gilmore Girls[36] WB (Seasons 1-6)
CW (Season 7)[36]
2000-10-05 2007-05-15[36] 153[36]
07 Elementary CBS 2012-09-27 2019-08-15 153
07 Fantasy Island ABC 1978-01-28[37] 1984-05-19 152
07 Trapper John, M.D. CBS 1979-09-23 1986-09-04 151
07 Malcolm in the Middle FOX 2000-01-09 2006-05-14 151
07 The Mentalist CBS 2008-09-23 2015-02-18 151
07 Just Shoot Me! NBC 1997-03-04 2003-08-16 148
07 Mom CBS 2013-09-23 Present 147
07 The Dukes of Hazzard CBS 1979-01-26 1985-02-08 146
07 Hill Street Blues NBC 1981-01-15 1987-05-12 146
07 New Girl FOX 2011-09-20 2018-05-15 146
07 Buffy the Vampire Slayer WB (Seasons 1-5)
UPN (Seasons 6-7)
1997-03-10 2003-05-20 144
07 The Blacklist NBC 2013-09-23 Present 143
07 Chicago P.D. NBC 2014-01-08 Present 142
07 In the Heat of the Night NBC (Seasons 1-5)
CBS (Seasons 6-7)
1988-03-06 1994-05-11 142
07 MacGyver ABC 1985-09-29 1992-05-21 139
07 30 Rock NBC 2006-10-11 2013-01-31 138
07 Brooklyn Nine-Nine FOX (Seasons 1-5)
NBC (Seasons 6-)
2013-09-16 Present 133
07 Medium NBC (Seasons 1-5)
CBS (Seasons 6-7)
2005-01-03 2011-01-21 130
07 Cagney & Lacey CBS 1982-03-25[38] 1988-05-16 125
07 Parks and Recreation NBC 2009-04-09 2015-02-24 125
07 Scandal ABC 2012-04-05 2018-04-19 124
07 Homicide: Life on the Street NBC 1993-01-31 1999-05-21 122
07 Cheyenne ABC 1955-09-20[39] 1962-12-17 108
07 Rules of Engagement CBS 2007-02-05 2013-05-20 100

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gunsmoke was a half-hour in its first six seasons and a full hour for the rest of its run. The half-hour edition was retitled Marshal Dillon in syndication.
  2. ^ Family Guy has six full-hour episodes with two production codes, making each of them count as two episodes - "Blue Harvest", "Something, Something, Something, Dark Side", "And Then There Were Fewer", "Road to the North Pole", "It's a Trap!" and "The Simpsons Guy". Additionally, there are two episodes that did not originally air on FOX, bringing the total to 345. "When You Wish Upon a Weinstein" originally aired on Adult Swim and "Partial Terms of Endearment" originally aired on BBC Three. They were both first released on DVD.
  3. ^ a b c d Lassie ran for two more seasons in syndication, officially ending on March 24, 1973 after 591 episodes.
  4. ^ a b CSI: Crime Scene Investigation officially ended with the movie "Immortality" on September 27, 2015, bringing the episode total to 337.
  5. ^ For its last four seasons, All in the Family was reformatted as Archie Bunker's Place.
  6. ^ a b c Four more episodes of King of the Hill aired after its official final broadcast, bringing the total to 259.
  7. ^ For its last six seasons, The Lucy Show was reformatted as Here's Lucy.
  8. ^ For its first three seasons, The Danny Thomas Show aired as Make Room for Daddy.
  9. ^ a b c Murphy Brown originally ended on May 18, 1998 after ten seasons and a total of 247 episodes.
  10. ^ a b Married... with Children has one episode that did not originally air on FOX – "I'll See You in Court" – bringing the total to 259.
  11. ^ a b Happy Days officially ended on May 8, 1984 after 250 episodes. Five more episodes were broadcast from June 28 to September 24.
  12. ^ a b The Jeffersons officially ended on April 30, 1985 after 249 episodes. Four more were broadcast from June 4 to July 2.
  13. ^ a b c Will & Grace originally ended on May 18, 2006 after eight seasons and a total of 194 episodes.
  14. ^ a b c The X-Files originally ended on May 19, 2002 after nine seasons and a total of 202 episodes. The tenth season is a six-episode event series that aired in 2016. The eleventh season is a ten-episode event series that aired in 2018.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ a b c American Dad! moved to TBS in 2014 for additional seasons.
  17. ^ a b c Roseanne originally ended on May 20, 1997 after nine seasons and a total of 222 episodes.
  18. ^ JAG has one episode that did not originally air on NBC – "Skeleton Crew" – bringing the total to 227.
  19. ^ a b c Columbo began with two pilot movies on NBC and ended with eight specials on ABC.
  20. ^ In its final season, the title of The Virginian was changed to The Men from Shiloh.
  21. ^ The Love Boat had two pilot movies that aired on September 18, 1976 and January 21, 1977.
  22. ^ The Waltons began on December 19, 1971 with the TV movie The Homecoming: A Christmas Story.
  23. ^ In its final season, the title of Little House on the Prairie was changed to Little House: A New Beginning.
  24. ^ Matlock began with a pilot movie on March 3, 1986.
  25. ^ a b c Another four seasons of Dragnet were broadcast from January 12, 1967 to April 16, 1970, bringing the season total to 12 and the episode total to 374.
  26. ^ a b c An additional season of Mama aired on Sunday afternoons, bringing the episode total to 283.
  27. ^ Ironside began with the pilot movie A Man Called Ironside on March 28, 1967.
  28. ^ a b Ironside had three additional episodes after its official final broadcast, bringing the total to 199.
  29. ^ a b c In 2014, 24 returned to television with the 12-episode event series 24: Live Another Day, bringing the season total to nine and the episode total to 204.
  30. ^ a b c Three's a Crowd - which aired from September 25, 1984 to April 9, 1985 - is considered the ninth season of Three's Company, bringing the episode total to 194.
  31. ^ L.A. Law began with a two-hour pilot on September 15, 1986.
  32. ^ a b c d The Golden Palace - which aired on CBS from September 18, 1992 to May 14, 1993 - is considered the eighth season of The Golden Girls, bringing the episode total to 204.
  33. ^ Medical Center began with the pilot movie U.M.C. on April 17, 1969.
  34. ^ Marcus Welby, M.D. began with a pilot movie on March 26, 1969.
  35. ^ a b c Five more episodes of Hunter were produced in 2003, only three of which aired from April 19 to May 3, bringing the season total to eight and the episode total to 156.
  36. ^ a b c d e The Netflix original series Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, which launched on November 25, 2016, counts as the four-episode eighth season of Gilmore Girls, bringing the episode total to 157.
  37. ^ Fantasy Island had two premiere movies that aired on January 14, 1977 and January 20, 1978.
  38. ^ Cagney & Lacey began with a pilot movie on October 8, 1981.
  39. ^ Cheyenne began as a rotating element of Warner Bros. Presents.