10 Longest Running TV Shows of All Time

Any show that runs for more than three seasons on an average is considered to be a successful one. The modern age of television, with all its technological advancements and redefined social mores, hangs its head in shame when it comes to longevity. While some shows do make it to the top and remain there for several years, others just fade away. So let’s not focus on the latter and cherish and remember the former. Here is the list of top 10 longest running TV shows of all time. Happy reading!


10. American Dad! (2005-)

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Seth McFarlane’s imaginative and realist creation of the Smith family has now run for more than a decade. With outlandish characters getting into odd-ball situations, ‘American Dad!’ gets its humor and emotion from everything it possibly could. Right from a German minded goldfish, to a relentless and generous CIA agent, the series has it all. The show has garnered loads of popular awards and nominations, proving its favor with the audience. That’s probably the reason why a show can run for so long with such a metric of episodes.

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9. Grey’s Anatomy (2005-)

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‘Grey’s Anatomy’ might have become a bit redundant in today’s times but still goes on with force. The format of the show engages the audience with practicing doctors, who get emotionally involved with their patients and fellow colleagues on the road to becoming the finest in the world. A special feature of the medical drama is its loyalty to the main cast, four of whom have appeared for the full duration of its run. While others have come and gone, these four have stayed strong and soldiered on for more than fifteen years. That, ladies and gentlemen, is consistency.

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8. ER (1994-2009)

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George Clooney made his mark in the industry starring in this medical drama. Much like the previous entry in the list, ‘ER’ dealt with medical practitioners who juggled their professional and personal life in an endearing and relatable manner. The show gained popularity for its star cast and realist drama. The series has been nominated for 375 industry awards and has won 116. Emmy nominations total 124, while the wins stand at 22. Such staggering numbers wouldn’t have been possible without the support of the audience and the quality of the content.

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7. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2000-15)

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‘CSI’ is another classic that faded away with the advent of the modern age of digital and streaming television. Mixing deduction and character-driven drama, ‘CSI: Crime Scene Investigation’ follows a team of crime-scene investigators, employed by the Las Vegas Police Department, as they use physical evidence to solve murders. The show, much like the other entries on the list, relied on public support and its changing cast members who did enough to sustain the show for a decade and a half.

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6. NCIS (2003-)

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Much like ‘Law and Order’, ‘NCIS’, or Naval Criminal Investigative Service, is one of the longest-running crime-dramas. Both the shows have adopted similar strategies when it comes to casting and scripting. Spin-off series like ‘NCIS: New Orleans’ have sprung up, just indicating how well the show has been received. While the show hasn’t raked in a ton of Emmys, it has constantly garnered nominations and wins at the People’s Choice Awards.

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5. Family Guy (1999-)

From predicting the future to calling out potential sexual assaulters, ‘Family Guy’ remains a favorite of many. Created and performed by Seth McFarlane, the show follows the Griffin family and their exploits of humor as they negate daily life. There have been numerous instances where the show has accurately, and quite surprisingly, predicted future events, the most notable being the scandals involving Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey. Its witty humor and heartwarming characters are the reasons for its success, along with its prodigal creator whose imagination runs ragged.

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4. Lassie (1954-71)

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‘Lassie’ is perhaps one of the only shows in history to be broadcast in both black-white and color formats. The show charted the adventures of a dog named Lassie and her friends, both human and animal. The setting of the show kept moving through its run-time. The first ten were set-up on a farm, while the other seven changed from the wilderness of the plains to the bounds of a comfortable home. ‘Lassie’ received critical acclaim during its airing and was the recipient of two Emmy Awards despite belonging to an unpopular category.

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3. Law and Order (1990-2010)

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‘Law and Order’ holds the distinction of being the longest-running crime-drama series on television. The show was created by Dick Wolf as a part of the Law and Order: Franchise. The typical format of the show dealt with the investigation and the subsequent apprehension of the culprits, while the second half deals with the court proceedings. The show was known for its revolving cast. The show is wildly popular in terms of pop-culture references and is an everlasting presence in movies and other modern television shows.

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2. Gunsmoke (1955-75)

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‘Gunsmoke’ originally was a radio series and completed almost a decade before airing as a television series. LA Times’ official synopsis of the great show read: ‘Gunsmoke’ was the dramatization of the American epic legend of the west. Our own Iliad and Odyssey, created from standard elements of the dime novel and the pulp Western as romanticized by Buntline, Harte, and Twain. It was ever the stuff of legend.” The show has constantly been ranked as the greatest show of all time by magazines and journals alike. Even though it finishes way behind the number one, ‘Gunsmoke’ still remains a classic.

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1. The Simpsons (1989-)

‘The Simpsons’ is probably the most famous entity in the whole world. Having completed its record 29th season, the series shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. The show is set in the fictional town of Springfield and parodies American culture and society, television, and the human condition. The show has been renewed for a 30th season, seeing it extend into 2019. Television’s “crowning achievements” award tally read as follows: 31 Emmy Awards, 30 Annie Awards, and a Peabody Award. Simply the GOAT!

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