Television continues to be one of the most popular forms of entertainment around the world. Billions tune in every day to view their favorite news, sports, comedy, educational and dramatic programs, and many of the most-watched television shows are produced in the United States. Several of these programs have been on the air for several decades. The following is a list of some of the longest-running TV shows ever made in the United States that features a brief description of each program.
• Meet the Press — Still in production, this interview show that features national leaders speaking on all manner of domestic and foreign issues has been a staple of NBC news programming since 1947. Its host with the longest tenure thus far is Tim Russert (1991–2008), and its current host is David
• CBS Evening News — The flagship evening news program of the CBS television network has been on the air since 1948. Its two most well-known anchors are Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather.
• Today — NBC’s popular morning news and lifestyle show was the first of its kind on network television and has since spawned many imitators. Featured anchors, correspondents and contributors have included journalists such as Katie Couric, Matt Lauer, Al Roker, Hugh Downs, Barbara Walters, Jane Pauley and Bryant Gumbel.
• ABC World News — Peter Jennings and Diane Sawyer are popular anchors associated with ABC’s flagship evening news program. Since 1953, viewers have tuned in every evening for an update on the days’ events.
• The Tonight Show — This late-night talk show from NBC has secured its place in popular culture forever. Although it has been on the air since 1954, the show reached the height of its influence during Johnny Carson’s turn as host from 1962–1992. Jay Leno has hosted the program since Carson’s departure.
• General Hospital — The longest-running soap opera that currently remains in production, this daytime drama has captivated viewers since 1963 with its tales of the Quartermains and Spencers in Port Charles, New York.
• NFL on CBS — Although CBS temporarily lost the rights to broadcast NFL games to the
Fox television network for a few years during the 1990s, it has been the place to go for the top coverage of AFC games from the National Football League since 1956.
• 60 Minutes — When CBS introduced this news investigation program in 1968, it was unique in that it featured reporters conducting investigative reports using hidden cameras, edited interviews, and more. Andy Rooney, Morley Safer, Lesley Stahl, Mike Wallace, Ed Bradley and Connie Chung are but a few of the personalities closely associated with the program.
• Monday Night Football — Live Monday evening NFL games have been broadcast on this program since 1970. Until 2005, the games were aired on ABC, and since then, ESPN has broadcast the Monday night showdowns.
• Sesame Street — This beloved PBS children’s educational program has been delighting audiences since its premiere in 1969. Many of its characters, including Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, Bert, Ernie, the Count, Cookie Monster and Elmo have become pop culture staples in their own right.
• The Price is Right — On the air since 1972, this program has the distinction of being the longest running game show of all time.
• Saturday Night Live — Also known as SNL, this NBC sketch comedy and variety program features skits and musical acts every Saturday night at 11:30 p.m.
• The Oprah Winfrey Show — Perhaps the most popular daytime talk-show of all time, Oprah Winfrey’s syndicated program aired for 25 years (1986–2011) and spawned a media empire.
• The Simpsons — Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie Simpson, as well as the other denizens of Springfield, have made audiences laugh since December 1989. This show is the longest-running animated program of all time.
• Gunsmoke — This popular CBS Western aired for twenty seasons from 1955–1975, and it is currently tied with NBC’s Law & Order for the longest-running television drama.
• Inside the Actors Studio — Bravo has aired James Lipton’s interviews with accomplished actors since 1994, making it a staple of cable television programming.
• E! True Hollywood Story — Audiences have been turning into this program since 1996 to learn the histories of famous television stars, programs and Hollywood scandals