- "General Hospital" (1963-present)
- "Days Of Our Lives" (1965-present)
- "Sesame Street" (1969-present)
- "Saturday Night Live" (1975-present)
- "The Simpsons" (1989-present)
- "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit" (1999-present)
- "Gunsmoke" (1955-1975)
- "Law and Order" (1990-2010; 2022-present)
- "Family Guy" (1999-present)
- "Lassie" (1954-1972)
- "NCIS" (2003-present)
- "Grey's Anatomy" (2005-present)
- "American Dad!" (2005-present)
- "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (2000-2015)
1. "General Hospital" (1963-present)
When it comes to daytime soap operas, "General Hospital" stands out. It is the longest-running soap opera that is still on air today. Over the course of 60 years, the show has followed a wide range of characters in the fictional city of Port Charles. By comparison, "Guiding Light" ran for 57 seasons. The soap aired from 1952 to 2009.
2. "Days Of Our Lives" (1965-present)
"Days Of Our Lives" is another long-running television series. This popular soap opera — which takes place in Salem, a fictional midwestern town, and features the dramatic storylines of the DiMera, Horton and Brady families — started as a half-hour program in its early seasons. Previous cast members include Vivica A. Fox and Lisa Rinna. "All My Children" (1970-2013) was another long-running soap — running for over four decades — that explored the dynamics of a few families.
3. "Sesame Street" (1969-present)
"Sesame Street" is an educational children's program aimed at preparing young kids for school. The show features lovable characters, like Elmo (host of the "Elmo's World" segment) and Big Bird, to teach kids about counting, the alphabet and more.
4. "Saturday Night Live" (1975-present)
In the world of late-night comedy programs, "SNL" — as it is more commonly called — has had an incredible amount of impact. The sketch comedy show makes political commentary and provides humorous takes on popular culture moments, both of which sometimes viral on social media platforms. Famous previous cast members include Will Ferrell, Kristen Wiig and Chris Rock.
5. "The Simpsons" (1989-present)
Who would have thought that an animated sitcom featuring the Simpson family — a group of severely jaundiced-looking, accident-prone oddballs — would have made it this far? The AVClub has called it "the best animated series of all time, and television’s crowning achievement regardless of format." The animated series began airing in 1989. With more than 700 episodes in the can, its longevity is leagues ahead of any other show.
6. "Law and Order: Special Victims Unit" (1999-present)
If you like a good crime drama, "Law and Order: SVU" is probably on your guilty pleasures list. It’s also the only live-action primetime television show that debuted in the 20th century and is still running. Over the course of more than 500 episodes, main character Olivia Benson, played by Mariska Hargitay, has investigated sex crimes of all kinds and received a promotion up the NYPD's 16th precinct’s ranks, from detective to captain. "Law and Order: SVU" has made Olivia Benson the longest-running main character in any live-action primetime show.
7. "Gunsmoke" (1955-1975)
"Gunsmoke" tops the list as the longest-running dramatic series in network television history with 635 episodes. Set in Dodge City, Kansas, during the 1870s, "Gunsmoke" began as a radio program in 1952, switched to the land of visual entertainment in 1955, and ran its final season in 1975 after 20 years of shows.
8. "Law and Order" (1990-2010; 2022-present)
Unlike its spin-off show "Law and Order: SVU," "Law and Order" had an undeniably good run, but not without interruptions. This successful police procedural sired six spinoffs and a made-for-TV movie, and lasted an incredible 20 seasons and 456 episodes. In 2010, after 20 years on air, NBC canceled "Law and Order," and after an unsuccessful attempt to shop it around to three networks, "Law and Order" became a thing of the past — until 2021, when NBC announced "Law and Order" would come back with a new season in 2022.
9. "Family Guy" (1999-present)
It seems Americans love animated sitcoms about dysfunctional families. "Family Guy" premiered in 1999, and 20 seasons and almost 400 episodes later, we're still tuning in to find out what kind of trouble a diabolical baby and an anthropomorphic dog will get into.
10. "Lassie" (1954-1972)
Running for 588 episodes, "Lassie" centered around a loyal canine companion who rescued her human family from various predicaments. Over the years, Lassie was portrayed by nine different male dogs, all descendants of the original Lassie, whose real name was Pal. During the show's run, Lassie had various owners, most notably Timmy and Jeff. Only three dogs have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame — Lassie, Rin Tin Tin and Strongheart.
11. "NCIS" (2003-present)
A blend of police procedural and military drama, "NCIS" follows a team of criminal investigators working for the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, solving everything from poisonings to terror attacks. Premiering in 2003, "NCIS" is approaching 450 episodes.
12. "Grey's Anatomy" (2005-present)
If you have ever received medical advice from someone who was not a health care professional, it's possible they've been watching "Grey's Anatomy" for a couple of decades. Premiering in 2005, it's ABC's longest-running scripted primetime show, and after all these years remains one of the most-watched shows on broadcast television. After 18 seasons and almost 400 episodes, we still can't wait to find out what's going to happen once the surgical interns, residents and attending physicians scrub in.
13. "American Dad!" (2005-present)
Since its debut in 2005, "American Dad!" has served up 18 seasons of the animated family sitcom chuckles America loves. Republican dad with a humongous chin? Check! Existentially addled teenage children? Check! Pet goldfish that thinks it’s a German elite athlete? Check? Neurotic alien pet? Well, you get the idea.
14. "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" (2000-2015)
"Somebody in Las Vegas has been murdered! But who did it and how?!" That’s the basic premise of "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation." Consult a gas spectrometer and recruit an exotic dancer into the police force as a blood splatter specialist and you’ve got yourself a forensic crime drama! CSI ran for 15 seasons and produced 337 episodes of grizzly whodunits.