Considering that more than three-quarters of new TV shows are canceled after a single season, the odds-best shows that have lasted for decades are rare. But a handful of prime-time shows have done just that.
Using IMDb, an online movie database owned by Amazon, and other sources, 24/7 Tempo has compiled a list of the 50 oldest TV series in history. We only considered prime-time shows (generally considered to be 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Monday to Saturday, 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday) at some point in their original broadcast, and we left out the anthology series, music television and sports programs.
Many of these programs have survived despite casting changes, the death of an animator, drastic cultural changes and scandals. (When calculating the length of a series, we only considered the time it was actually on air, not the time spent canceling or between networks, so the length of a series may be different from the given year range.)
The list includes several news programs, crime dramas, comedies, variety shows, documentaries, and reality shows, and covers programs from every decade since the 1940s, when television first began appearing in American homes. (Here are the best classic TV shows available to stream.)
From popular early shows like “The Ed Sullivan Show”, which first aired in 1948 under the title “Toast of the Town”, to modern models of television humor like “The Simpsons”, these shows have affected and reflected America’s cultural landscape. . The reason for their longevity is their wide appeal and cultural applicability. Factors like award nominations and critical acclaim can keep a series going year after year – although ultimately what gives some shows their durability is a dedicated audience. Here are the top rated shows you can watch today.
Click here for the longest prime-time shows in television history