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50 longest-running TV series

  • #30. Masterpiece Theatre

    - Total length: 49 years
    - Network: PBS
    - First broadcast: Jan. 10, 1971
    - Final broadcast: Ongoing

    “Masterpiece Theatre” (currently known as “Masterpiece”) presents numerous British dramas to American audiences. Popular programs that have made it stateside through “Masterpiece” include “Sherlock” and “Downton Abbey.” Several performers such as Gillian Anderson, Laura Linney, Alan Cumming, and David Tennant have acted as hosts for “Masterpiece,” but the show now operates without one.

  • #29. Monday Night Football

    - Total length: 49 years
    - Network: ABC, ESPN
    - First broadcast: Sept. 21, 1970
    - Final broadcast: Ongoing

    “Monday Night Football” has aired NFL games across ABC and ESPN, for nearly 50 years. It is one of the longest-running prime-time programs on broadcast television. “MNF” often utilizes rotating hosts and guests to provide commentary and entertainment.

  • #28. NBC Nightly News

    - Total length: 49 years
    - Network: NBC
    - First broadcast: Aug. 3, 1970
    - Final broadcast: Ongoing

    John Chancellor served as the first anchor for NBC's nightly news program before eventually being succeeded by the legendary Tom Brokaw. After Brokaw's retirement from the program, Brian Williams took over, only to resign after an embellishment scandal and suspension. Lester Holt now sits as the anchor, with the program still using a musical theme written by John Williams in 1985.

  • #27. Hour of Power

    - Total length: 50 years
    - Network: ABC
    - First broadcast: February 1970
    - Final broadcast: Ongoing

    First broadcast from the Crystal Cathedral in California, “Hour of Power” showcases Christian music performances and several guests sharing stories about their faith. “Hour of Power” was founded by televangelist Robert H. Schuller, though the program is now hosted by his grandson Bobby Schuller. The program currently airs from Shepherd's Grove.

  • #26. Sesame Street

    - Total length: 50 years
    - Networks: NET, PBS, HBO
    - First broadcast: Nov. 10, 1969
    - Final broadcast: Ongoing

    An essential part of many American childhoods, “Sesame Street” was created by the former Children's Television Workshop and uses puppets to communicate educational and often humorous lessons to children. Human characters are also present in “Sesame Street,” with celebrity guest stars often making appearances. Famous “Sesame Street” characters include Big Bird, Bert, Ernie, and Oscar the Grouch.

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  • #25. Scooby-Doo

    - Total length: 50 years
    - Networks: CBS, ABC, The WB, The CW, Cartoon Network, Boomerang
    - First broadcast: Sept. 13, 1969
    - Final broadcast: Ongoing

    The “Scooby-Doo” franchise encapsulates several animated television shows and spin-off movies, with the most famous iteration being titled “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?” As most popular culture aficionados should know, the premise involves a group of teenagers and their quirky dog driving around in the Mystery Machine Van and solving various mysteries. “I would've gotten away with it too, if it hadn't been for you meddling kids!” yelled each villain of the week after their eventual defeat.

  • #24. 60 Minutes

    - Total length: 51 years
    - Network: CBS
    - First broadcast: Sept. 24, 1968
    - Final broadcast: Ongoing

    The ticking noise and graphic that accompanies every bumper in “60 Minutes” has stuck with the minds of viewers since the program's beginnings in 1968. A news magazine from CBS, “60 Minutes” centers on reporter-focused investigations covering topical issues in the country. With the rise of new media, “60 Minutes” segments have also been distributed through the internet and mobile applications.

  • #23. NFL Films Presents

    - Total length: 52 years
    - Networks: Syndicated, ESPN, NFL Network
    - First broadcast: Sept. 17, 1967
    - Final broadcast: Ongoing

    NFL Films serves as a resource for archiving some of the most memorable moments in American football history. Through ESPN and the NFL Network, the company provides several documentaries and footage, with “NFL Films Presents” acting as an umbrella title for many programs that do not fit in with existing shows.

  • #22. Washington Week

    - Total length: 53 years
    - Networks: NET, PBS
    - First broadcast: Feb. 23, 1967
    - Final broadcast: Ongoing

    The panel discussion program “Washington Week” first aired on the National Educational Television channel before coming under the banner of PBS. Initially titled “Washington Week in Review,” this program features a moderator and panelists tackling the political issues of the day in a civil fashion. Robert Costa of The Washington Post currently serves as the host of “Washington Week.”

  • #21. Sábado Gigante

    - Total length: 53 years
    - Network: Univision
    - First broadcast: Aug. 8, 1962
    - Final broadcast: Sept. 19, 2015

    Directly imported from Chile, “Sábado Gigante” was brought to audiences in the United States through Univision. The weekly show provided a variety of entertainment segments, ranging from beauty pageants and comedy sketches to musical performances. “Sábado Gigante” represents the longest-running imported television show in the United States.

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