Longest Running TV Show | 10 American Shows With the Longest Duration

Have you ever found yourself completely engrossed in a TV show, eagerly awaiting the next episode week after week? Well, you’re not alone! Television has become an integral part of American culture, captivating audiences with its diverse genres, compelling storylines, and unforgettable characters.

In this blog post, we’re diving into the fascinating world of America’s 10 longest running TV show. These shows have not only stood the test of time but have also become icons in their own right, shaping the landscape of American television. From gripping dramas to hilarious sitcoms, each show has captured viewers’ hearts, leaving an indelible mark on popular culture.

10 Longest Running TV Show in America

The Simpsons

The Simpsons
The Simpsons | Image Source: filmaffinity.com

Regarding iconic TV shows, The Simpsons undoubtedly take the cake. This animated sitcom has been delighting audiences since its debut in December 1989. Known for its humor, wit, and clever social commentary, The Simpsons has mastered the art of blending satire and family dynamics. The Simpsons have entertained viewers for over three decades since the first episode aired on Fox.

The Simpsons have an incredible 34 seasons, with a staggering 749+ episodes and counting, making it the longest-running American scripted primetime television series. The Simpsons revolve around the comical adventures of the dysfunctional yet endearing Simpson family. Each character brings unique quirks, from Homer’s donut obsession to Bart’s pranks and Lisa’s intellect.

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit
Law & Order: Special Victims Unit | Image Source: tvinsider.com

Law & Order: SVU follows a dedicated team of detectives and prosecutors as they investigate and prosecute crimes of a sexual nature. This immensely popular American television series falls under the crime drama genre, but it adds a unique twist by focusing on cases involving sexually based offenses. The show skillfully weaves intense investigations, courtroom drama, and compelling character development.

Law & Order: SVU has garnered immense critical acclaim and achieved several notable milestones. As a spin-off of the original Law & Order series, SVU takes a closer look at the Special Victims Unit of the New York City Police Department. SVU first hit the small screen on September 20, 1999, and it’s still strong today. SVU boasts an impressive 24 seasons, with over 537 episodes and counting. It has received numerous Primetime Emmy Award nominations, including several wins.

Law & Order

Law & Order delves into the intricacies of the criminal justice system, following the efforts of a dedicated ensemble cast. As a groundbreaking procedural drama, Law & Order combines the genres of crime and legal drama. What sets this show apart is its unique two-part structure, focusing on the investigation led by dedicated detectives and the subsequent legal proceedings handled by skilled prosecutors.

From the tenacious detectives who gather evidence and chase leads to the skilled prosecutors who fight for justice in the courtroom, each character brings their expertise and personality to the table. The show’s narrative explores a wide range of cases, from murders and robberies to complex crimes that reflect the social issues of the time.

Law & Order first graced our screens on September 13, 1990, and it quickly became a staple in television. Today, the show is one of America’s longest running tv shows with an impressive 22 seasons and a staggering 487 episodes.

Family Guy

Family Guy
Family Guy | Image Source: disneyplus.com

This wildly popular American TV show falls under the genre of adult animated sitcoms. Known for its edgy humor and satirical take on American culture, Family Guy pushes boundaries and keeps viewers laughing with its unique blend of wit and absurdity. Family Guy revolves around the lives of the Griffin family, led by the bumbling but well-meaning patriarch, Peter.

Family Guy made its debut on January 31, 1999, and it’s still one of America’s most beloved shows today. This animated gem has amassed an impressive 21 seasons with over 400 episodes. Joining Peter are his loving wife, Lois, and their three children – the underachieving yet endearing Chris, the intellectually gifted and socially awkward Meg, and the diabolically brilliant and anthropomorphic baby, Stewie.


Next on our list of longest running tv show in America is Gunsmoke. This classic American TV show epitomizes the Western genre. The show’s concept revolves around the adventures of Marshal Matt Dillon, a lawman determined to maintain order in the rough-and-tumble town of Dodge City. Originally a radio series, Gunsmoke transitioned to the small screen and became an instant hit.

Gunsmoke takes us back to the untamed frontier of the 19th century, where Marshal Matt Dillon, played by the legendary James Arness, upholds the law with his unwavering sense of justice. Alongside him are the trusty Doc Adams, the resourceful Miss Kitty Russell, and the lovable and witty Festus Haggen, among other memorable characters. Gunsmoke first rode onto the screens on September 10, 1955, and continued its wild west journey for an impressive 20 seasons. After a successful run of nearly two decades, the show finally rode off into the sunset on March 31, 1975, after delivering 635 episodes.


NCIS | Image Source: primevideo.com

This immensely popular American TV series falls under the genre of crime procedural drama. NCIS, which stands for Naval Criminal Investigative Service, takes viewers on gripping investigations involving crimes within the United States Navy and Marine Corps. The show follows a team of dedicated special agents led by the charismatic Leroy Jethro Gibbs, portrayed by Mark Harmon. Together, they investigate complex, high-profile crimes involving Navy and Marine Corps personnel.

NCIS debuted on September 23, 2003, and boasts a remarkable 20 seasons, delivering 455 thrilling episodes. Each episode delves into intriguing mysteries, combines elements of action and drama, and offers a glimpse into the agents’ lives. NCIS has achieved remarkable milestones and received widespread acclaim. It has consistently ranked among the top-rated television shows and has garnered a devoted fan base around the globe. The show has also inspired multiple spin-offs, including NCIS: Los Angeles and New Orleans.

American Dad!

American Dad! It is a side-splitting American TV series that falls under the genre of adult animated sitcoms. Created by Seth MacFarlane, the mastermind behind Family Guy, American Dad delivers a unique blend of satire, social commentary, and outrageous comedy. American Dad centers around the Smith family, headed by the staunchly conservative but cluelessly lovable patriarch, Stan Smith. His sweet-natured wife, Francine, lives with him and their eccentric children, Hayley and Steve.

The talking goldfish, Klaus, and the scene-stealing alien, Roger, add to the chaos. Together, they embark on absurd and hilarious misadventures that often parody politics, pop culture, and everyday life, all while exploring the dynamics of family relationships with a comedic twist. American Dad premiered on February 6, 2005, and has treated us to an impressive 20 seasons, making it one of the longest-running animated sitcoms. With over 350 episodes, the show has delighted fans with its quirky characters and unpredictable storylines.


Lassie centers around the adventures of a courageous and intelligent collie who repeatedly comes to the aid of those in need. Each episode explores the human-animal bond as Lassie interacts with her human companions, including young Timmy Martin and his family. Together, they navigate various challenges and heartwarming tales, showcasing the enduring qualities of loyalty, love, and heroism. Lassie made her television debut on September 12, 1954, and entertained families for over 16 years.

Lassie is a heartwarming American TV series about family drama and adventure. Lassie’s adventures spanned an impressive 19 seasons, delighting fans with 591 episodes. The show bid farewell to viewers on March 21, 1971.

Grey’s Anatomy

Grey's Anatomy
Grey’s Anatomy | Image Source: primevideo.com

Grey’s Anatomy delves into the personal and professional lives of talented doctors at Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. Led by the resilient and determined Dr. Meredith Grey, portrayed by Ellen Pompeo, the show explores the complexities of medical cases, the challenges of surgical training, and the intricacies of personal relationships. The diverse ensemble cast includes unforgettable characters such as the charismatic Dr. Miranda Bailey, the brilliant Dr. Cristina Yang, the charming Dr. Alex Karev, and the wise and compassionate Dr. Richard Webber.

Grey’s Anatomy is a captivating American TV series that falls under the medical drama genre. Together, they navigate the highs and lows of the medical field, forming unbreakable bonds and facing life-altering decisions. Created by Shonda Rhimes, the show premiered on March 27, 2005, and boasts an impressive 19 seasons, delivering 418 emotionally-charged episodes.

Criminal Minds

Criminal Minds takes viewers on a suspenseful journey as a team of elite FBI profilers analyze the minds of criminals to solve complex cases and bring them to justice. Criminal Minds follows an exceptional team of FBI profilers, the Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU). Led by the insightful and determined Aaron Hotchner, portrayed by Thomas Gibson, the team dives deep into the minds of criminals to understand their motivations and prevent future crimes.

The diverse cast navigates harrowing cases, unravel intricate puzzles, and provides a glimmer of hope in the face of darkness. Criminal Minds premiered on September 22, 2005, and left an indelible mark on television. After a successful run, the show concluded its original run on February 19, 2020. However, its impact continues to resonate with fans around the world. Criminal Minds kept us on our seats for 15 thrilling seasons, comprising 334 episodes.


When it comes to the longest running tv show in America, the list is nearly endless. These shows have introduced us to unforgettable characters, immersed us in their captivating worlds, and allowed us to escape reality for a while. They have become part of our lives, shaping our conversations, sparking our imaginations, and creating memories that last a lifetime. It’s truly remarkable to see the longevity and success of these shows.

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Femi Abimboye

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