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The 45 Longest-Running TV Shows of All Time

Michele Debczak
'Sesame Street' has been entertaining, and educating, kids since 1969.
'Sesame Street' has been entertaining, and educating, kids since 1969. / Children's Television Workshop/GettyImages
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Television is a competitive industry, so any TV series that gets picked up past its first season should consider itself lucky. It's rare when a series is popular enough to survive casting changes, cultural shifts, and disruptions in the media landscape. From daytime soap operas to late-night comedy programs, these are the 45 longest-running TV shows in history.

Soap operas are notorious for following complicated storylines over multiple seasons. Even by the standards of the genre, the British series Coronation Street has been around for a while. It premiered in 1960 and is still airing today. If you count its years as a radio drama, the soap opera Guiding Light technically ran longer. After it began airing in 1937, it transitioned to television in 1952 and ran for 57 years until its cancellation in 2009.

The list of longest-running TV shows also includes several comedies. After nearly seven decades on the air with several different hosts, The Tonight Show is still in production. The same goes for the legendary sketch show Saturday Night Live, which premiered in 1975. The longest-running scripted comedy is The Simpsons, which premiered in 1989.

You check out the list of longest-running programs in TV history below. If you're looking for something more bingeable, here's how long it takes to watch more than 50 popular shows.

45. Supernatural (2005-2020) // 15 years

44. Gunsmoke (1955-1975) // 20 years

43. Law & Order (1990-2010) // 21 years

42. Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000-present) // 21 years

41. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999-present) // 22 years

40. SpongeBob SquarePants (1999-present) // 23 years

39. Family Guy (1999-present) // 23 years

38. Will & Grace (1998-2020) // 23 years

37. Reading Rainbow (1983-2006) // 23 years

36. The Merv Griffin Show (1962-1986) // 23 years

35. The Ed Sullivan Show (1948-1971) // 23 years

34. South Park (1997-present) // 24 years

33. Arthur (1996-2022) // 25 years

31. The Daily Show (1996-present) // 26 years

31. The Late Late Show (1995-present) // 27 years

30. The X-Files (1993-2018) // 28 years

29. The Late Show (1993-present) // 28 years

28. Power Rangers (1993-present) // 28 years

27. Hee Haw (1969-1997) // 28 years

26. Captain Kangaroo (1955-1984) // 29 years

25. Murphy Brown (1988-2018) // 30 years

24. Roseanne (1988-2018) // 30 years

23. The Simpsons (1989-present) // 32 years

22. Columbo (1968-2003) // 35 years

21. The Bold and the Beautiful (1987-present) // 35 years

20. Another World (1964-1999) // 35 years

​​19. Search for Tomorrow (1951-1986) // 35 years

18. Casualty (1986-present) // 36 years

17. EastEnders (1985-present) // 37 years

16. Late Night (1982-present) // 40 years

15. All My Children (1970-2011) // 41 years

14. Doctor Who (1963-present) // 43 years

13. Top Gear (1977-present) // 44 years

12. One Life to Live (1968-2012) // 45 years

11. Saturday Night Live (1975-present) // 46 years

10. The Young and the Restless (1973-present) // 49 years

9. Emmerdale (1972-present) // 50 years

8. Scooby-Doo (1969-present) // 52 years

7. Sesame Street (1969-present) // 52 years

6. As the World Turns (1956-2010) // 54 years

5. Days of Our Lives (1965-present) // 56 years

4. Guiding Light (1952-2009) // 57 years

3. General Hospital (1963-present) // 59 years

2. Coronation Street (1960–present) // 62 years

1. The Tonight Show (1954-present) // 67 years

A version of this story ran in 2021; it has been updated for 2022.

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