What is the longest running TV show in the world? Top 10 contenders

What is the longest running TV show in the world? Top 10 contenders

For any creator to keep a show running successfully for a few seasons, they need a lot of hard work, persistence, and creativity. Some creators have managed to keep their story-lines running for more years than they had envisioned. Usually, the success of the episodes determines whether or not a show is renewed for other seasons. From the longest running TV show list, it is apparent that each episode had extensive viewership and fans could not wait for the next one.

longest running TVshow
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We can all agree that some television series have lasted more than necessary due to different reasons. When determining the longest running TV show in the world, various factors are considered. Shows like WWE have been airing since the 1960s, while the longest running soap opera is, which was created by Tony Warren in 1960. However, the focus is on the longest running TV show in the prime show category.

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Longest running TV show: Top 10 list

What is the longest running TV series? The longest TV series under the prime category include the following;

10. Lassie

what's the longest running tv show
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  • Timeline: 12th of September 1954 to 25th of March 1973
  • Seasons: 19
  • Episodes: 591
  • Runtime: 30 minutes
  • Genre: Adventure/ Drama/ Family

Lassie, one of the longest running TV shows first aired on the 12th of September 1954, and the title of its pilot episode was Inheritance. The American series primarily followed the adventures of a dog named Lassie and its human and animal friends.

The finale, The Dawning, aired on the 25th of March 1973. Robert Maxwell produced the series, and the animal trainer was Rudd Weatherwax.

The themes in the story-line focused on the relationship between boys and their dogs. It helps the viewers to comprehend what it was like growing up in the mid 20th century.

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In most episodes, a boy would get into trouble, and Lassie would come to his rescue. Initially, the series was considered to be one that was wholesome and had values until some parents realized that some episodes contained very risky situations to be watched by young children.

In 1956, Lassie won a Primetime Emmy award in the category of Best Children's Series and another the following year for Best Children's Program. It was also honored in the OFTA TV Hall of Fame in 2013.

9. C.S.I: Crime Scene Investigation

what is the longest running tv series
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  • Timeline: 2000-2015
  • Seasons: 15
  • Episodes: 335
  • Runtime: 60 minutes
  • Genre: Crime/ Drama/ Thriller/ Mystery
  • Creator: Anthony E. Zuiker

The pilot of C.S.I: Crime Scene Investigation aired on the 6th of October 2000. It is the ninth longest running TV show, and it featured stars such as George Eads, Robert David Hall, Eric Szmanda, among many others.

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C.S.I: Crime Scene Investigation followed the lives of a group of investigators in the Las Vegas Police Department. The group used physical evidence to unravel killings.

Initially, character Gil Grissom (played by Petersen) led the group, but he was succeeded by Catherine Willows(played by Marg Helgenberger.) The later was then replaced by D.B. Russell (played by Danson).

The team worked closely to solve the increasing crime rate in Las Vegas. The series gained extensive viewership across the world. So far, it has received 127 award nominations and 67 wins.

Some of the most notable awards are Primetime Emmy, Screen Actors Guild, Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, American Society of Cinematographers, ASCAP Film and Television Music, and BMI Film & TV Awards.

8. Law & Order

long running tv shows
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  • Timeline: 1990 - 2010
  • Seasons: 20
  • Episodes: 456
  • Runtime: 45 minutes
  • Genre: Crime/ Mystery/ Drama/ Thriller
  • Creator: Dick Wolf

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Law & Order is one of the long running TV shows, and its pilot dubbed Prescription for Death aired on the 13th of September 1990. The finale, Rubber Room, aired on the 24th of May 2010.

The show was filmed and set in New York City, and it had two vantage points. In each episode, the first part was the investigation of a murder or crime. The investigators would apprehend the suspect.

In the second half, the suspect would be prosecuted at the Manhattan District Attorney's Office. The unique aspect of the series was that its story-lines were inspired by real-life crime cases that made headlines.

However, the motivation for each episode and the perpetrators were different from the real-life cases. Some of the celebrity stars featured in the series are S. Epatha Merkerson, Jerry Orbach, Sam Waterston, and Steven Hill.

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Throughout the years it ran, the series got 203 award nominations and won 47 times. It won in the Primetime Emmy, Screen Actors Guild, ALMA, ASCAP Film, and Television Music, American Bar Association Silver Gavel Awards for Media and the Arts awards.

7. Grey's Anatomy

longest running tv show in the world
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  • Timeline: 2005 to date
  • Seasons: 17
  • Episodes: 363
  • Runtime: 41 minutes
  • Genre: Drama/ Romance
  • Creator: Shonda Rhimes

What are the top 10 longest running TV shows? Grey's Anatomy, which premiered on the 27th of March 2005, is one of them. The series has been running to date on American Broadcasting Company (ABC).

In this series that is in the longest running weekly episodic TV show list, the focus is on surgical attending doctors, interns, and residents. It follows their lives to see how they evolve into renowned doctors and how they balance work with their personal lives.

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In the beginning, the series follows Meredith Grey (played by Elen Pompeo) after her acceptance at the Seattle Grace Hospital as a resident. She is the daughter of Ellis Grey, a respected general surgeon.

Over the years, the medical facility accepts new interns and residents. Their lives are dramatic and chaotic, but they still make time for relationships and romance.

Shonda Rhimes, the creator, uses the book titled Gray's Anatomy by Henry Gray as her inspiration. So far, the series has received 221 nominations, and it has won 75 awards.


longest running show
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  • Timeline: 2003 to date
  • Seasons: 17
  • Episodes: 398
  • Runtime: 60 minutes
  • Genre: Action/ Drama/ Crime
  • Creators: Donald P. Bellisario and Don McGill

In the longest running show list, NCIS, which has been airing since 2003, cannot be left out. The first episode dubbed Yankee White aired on the 23rd of September 2003, and currently, the series is in its 17th season.

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The action police procedural show revolves around the Naval Criminal Investigative Service's special agents. Did you know that NCIS started as a spin-off from JAG?

The special agents are tasked with responding quickly and appropriately whenever a crime that involves the Marine of Navy is reported. Investigator Leroy Jethro Gibbs (played by Mark Harmon) is the leader of the team.

Other cast members include David McCallum, Pauley Perrette, Sean Murray, Michael Weatherly, and Brian Dietzen. To date, the show has received 37 nominations, and it has won 26 awards, including ALMA, ASCAP Film and Television Music, and BMI Film & TV Awards.

5. ER

longest tv series
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  • Timeline: 1994 - 2009
  • Seasons: 15
  • Episodes: 331
  • Runtime: 44 minutes
  • Genre: Drama/ Romance
  • Creator: Michael Crichton

ER's first episode that was titled 24 Hours aired on the 19th of September 2009 and the finale dubbed And in the End... aired on the 2nd of April 2009. The creator of this medical drama series, Michael Crichton, was a medical doctor and author in real life.

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This NBC series revolved around the emergency room of a Chicago-based hospital, where there is a thin line between life and death. Each episode documented the tales of the emergency room.

Some days were exciting, heart-rending, and joyous, while others were mundane. It was a roller-coaster in this very stressful working environment.

In some episodes, medical students came in, and their plight in their quest to become doctors was highlighted.

To date, ER has won a total of 156 awards, and it has received 367 nominations. These numbers are evidence that the series was fantastic in the 15 years it ran.

4. Gunsmoke

longest running tv shows
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  • Timeline: 1955-1975
  • Seasons: 20
  • Episodes: 635
  • Runtime: 60 minutes
  • Creator: Charles Marquis Warren

Gunsmoke ran for 20 years with the first episode whose title was Matt Gets It airing on the 10th of September 1955. The finale episode,The Sharecroppers, aired on the 31st of March 1975.

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The series was directed by Norman Macdonnell and written by John Meston. In the plot, Marshal Matt Dillon is in charge of a wild west town known as Dodge City. Most residents of the town do not respect the law.

Dillon, therefore, faces daily challenges in the town. They range from gunfights to land fraud, cattle rustling, and stand-over tactics. He is of sound judgment, so he takes brave actions to sort each problem out.

Initially, the series was an American radio show that ran from 1952 to 1961. It became a television show in 1955 after the radio edition gained numerous fans.

Over the years, the episodes incorporated more humor compared to the first ones.

Gunsmoke has received 24 award nominations so far. It has also won 15 awards. These include Primetime Emmy, Online Film & Television Association, Western Heritage, and Western Writers of America awards.

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3. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

longest running tv shows
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  • Timeline: 1999 to date
  • Seasons: 24
  • Episodes: 483
  • Runtime: 60 minutes
  • Creator: Dick Wolf
  • Writer: John Craig

This American show airs on NBC, and the pilot episode dubbed Payback aired on the 20th of September 1999. So far, 24 seasons have been released, and most fans of the show agree that the production team has done an impressive job with the story-line.

In the series, Captain Olivia Benson (played by Mariska Hargitay) is the head of the Special Victims Unit. The general setting and plot of this series follows that of Law & Order.

Cases of sexual assault are considered particularly atrocious. For this reason, some dedicated detectives investigate these felonies. They unravel each crime in a mind-boggling manner.

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit has received 150 award nominations, and it has won 52 awards in total. These include Golden Globes, Primetime Emmy, ALMA, and ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards.

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2. South Park

longest running tv shows
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  • Timeline: 1997 to date
  • Seasons: 24
  • Episodes: 309
  • Runtime: 22 minutes
  • Creators: Trey Parker, Matt Stone, and Brian Graden

What's the longest running TV show? South Park is one of the contenders for this spot, but it comes in a close second. The animated sitcom airs on the Comedy Central television network, and its first episode, Cartman Gets an Anal Probe, was on the 13th of August 1997.

The show's unaired pilot was released later on the 29th of June 1999. The series follows the adventures and escapades of four high-energy grade-schoolers in the town called South Park in Colorado.

Stan, Kyle, Cartman, and Kenny often start things that end up getting out of control. Since their town is somewhat dysfunctional, the boys are always finding cheeky things to do to occupy themselves.

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The animated series is known for exploring various topics and challenges that the present-day society faces. So far, it has received 83 nominations and bagged 17 awards.

Some of the voice actors and actresses in the show are Trey Parker, Mona Marshall, Matt Stone, April Stewart, and Isaac Hayes.

1. The Simpsons

longest tv series
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  • Timeline: 1989 to date
  • Seasons: 32
  • Episodes: 684
  • Runtime: 22 minutes
  • Creators: James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, and Sam Simon
  • Genre: Animation/ Comedy

What is the longest-running TV show still on the air today? The Simpsons is the longest running TV series. Its pilot episode dubbed Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire aired on the 17th of December 1989.

What is the longest running TV show? The Simpsons has been running for over three decades now. The plot revolves around the adventures of a Springfield-based family.

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This Fox animated series focuses on a family that comprises five members. Their names are Homer, Marge, Lisa, Bart, and Maggie.

It parodies the average American working-class people. The family is mostly dysfunctional. Within a short while, the ratings of the show were very high, so it was renewed for many more seasons.

Some of the amazing voice actors and actresses in this series are Dan Castellaneta, Harry Shearer, Nancy Cartwright, Julie Kavner, Hank Azaria, Yeardley Smith, and Pamela Hayden.

So far, the series has received 317 award nominations. It has won 176 awards, including the Golden Globe Awards.

What is the longest running TV show in the world? Currently, the record holder is The Simpsons, which first aired over two decades ago. So far, there are 684 episodes. The show is followed by South Park, which first aired in 1997. Despite The Simpsons running for over 30 years, it is still has high ratings from its audience.

Source: Legit.ng

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