Media

The Longest Running Prime Time Show In History

Traditional TV is dying. First, the three networks were partially replaced by cable. While traditional TV was free (with ads), some cable programming carried subscription fees. Among the earlier and most successful of these was HBO. American viewing habits have changed again, as people turn to streaming which has built huge businesses like Amazon Prime and Netflix.

One things each generation of TV has in common is that some shows are much more successful than others. These have high audience numbers year after year, and make produce large amounts of revenue. And, most have the same major characters each year, and settings which do not change.

Using IMDb, an online movie database owned by Amazon, and other sources, 24/7 Tempo has picked longest-running television series in history. We considered only shows that aired in prime time (generally considered to be 8 to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 7 to 11 p.m. on Sunday) at one point during their original broadcast run, and omitted anthology series, music television, and sports programs.

Some of the shows we considered survived despite casting changes, the death of a host, drastic cultural shifts, and scandals. (In computing the length of a series run, we considered only the time it was actually on the air, not any time spent in cancellation or between networks, so the length of a series run might be different than the range of years given.)

The list we looked at included multiple news programs, crime dramas, comedies, variety shows, documentary series, and reality shows, and covers programs from every decade since the ‘40s, when the TV first began to appear in American homes.

The shows we looked at to pick the longest running one included popular early broadcasts like “The Ed Sullivan Show,” which first aired in 1948 under the title “Toast of the Town,” to modern paragons of televised humor like “The Simpsons,” These shows have affected and reflected the cultural landscape of America. The reason for their longevity is their broad appeal and cultural applicability. Factors like award nominations and critical acclaim can keep a series running year after year — though ultimately what gives some shows their durability is a dedicated viewership.

The longest running TV show is news program 60 Minutes (1968-present)
> Series run: 53 years
> Network: CBS
> Genre: News magazine
> IMDb user rating: 7.4

This reporter-centered news series features investigative journalism and focuses on in-depth interviews, celebrity profiles, current events, and human-interest stories. It is widely renowned as one of the best television news broadcasts ever.

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