'The Masked Singer' Pushes Nik Wallenda's 'Volcano Live' Off a Tightrope in TV Ratings

ABC finishes in last place among the Big 4 broadcasters

Here are the longest running TV shows still airing in the U.S. — not counting news and sports programming.

  • “General Hospital” 

    Series debut: April 1, 1963 

    The ABC daytime soap opera started as a half-hour show but it’s been an hour-long staple since 1978.

  • “Days of Our Lives”

    Series debut: Nov. 8, 1965 

    The NBC soap also spent its first decade as a half-hour show and has churned out decades’ worth of domestic drama.

  • “Sesame Street” 

    Series debut: Nov. 10, 1969 

    The children’s series, first launched on PBS with its mix of short segments and furry Muppets, has been broadcast in more than 120 countries.

  • “Masterpiece Theatre” 

    Series debut: January 10, 1971 

    PBS’ long-running anthology, many adaptations of classic novels, has gone through multiple hosts over the years — from Alastair Cooke to Russell Baker to Laura Linney.

  • “The Price Is Right” 

    Series debut: Sept. 4, 1972 

    Technically, this game show debuted in 1956 and ran for nine years on both NBC and ABC. But the 1972 relaunch, hosted by Bob Barker, has become a daytime mainstay with contestants playing guessing games about the cost of merchandise.


  • “The Young and the Restless” 

    Series debut: March 26, 1973 

    The soap opera joined the CBS daytime lineup in 1973 — and wound up outlasting the network’s “As the World Turns” which ended its 54-year run in 2010.

  • “Saturday Night Live” 

    Series debut: October 11, 1975 

    Lorne Michaels’ weekly sketch comedy series has launched the careers of countless stars over five decades.

  • “Wheel of Fortune” 

    Series debut: January 6, 1975 

    The TV version of Hangman started on NBC with host Chuck Woolery; Pat Sajak took over as host in 1981 and stayed with the show when it became syndicated two years later. 

  • “Jeopardy!” 

    Series debut: September 10, 1984 

    The syndicated quiz show first aired as a daytime show in 1964. The current syndicated evening version kicked off two decades later, with host Alex Trebek.

  • “The Bold and the Beautiful”

    Series debut: March 23, 1987 

    The CBS soap launched as a sister series to the Wisconsin-set “The Young and the Restless” despite its more glamorous L.A. locale.



  • “Cops” 

    Series debut: March 11, 1989 

    The docu-series ran on Fox for 24 years before jumping to Spike (and then the Paramount Network).

  • “The Simpsons” 

    Series debut: December 17, 1989 

    Matt Groening’s animated sitcom helped put the Fox network on the map — and it’s still going strong. Ay, caramba!



  • “America’s Funniest Home Videos” 

    Series debut: November 26, 1989 

    The collection of wacky clips has survived three decades on ABC.

  • “Power Rangers” 

    Series debut: August 28, 1993 

    The campy and colorful live-action superhero series for kids has jumped among a half-dozen networks over the years, and it’s spawned a series of big-screen adaptations.

  • “South Park” 

    Series debut: Aug. 13, 1997 

    Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s lo-fi animated satire has followed the adventures of Colorado fourth graders Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman through countless topical controversies on Comedy Central.

  • “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” 

    Series debut: Sept. 20, 1999  

    The spinoff of Dick Wolf’s original cop-legal drama, starring Mariska Hargitay as a detective (and later commander) on an NYPD unit handling sex crimes, has now outlasted its long-running predecessor.

  • Yes, we’re only counting entertainment shows — not news and sports programming

    Here are the longest running TV shows still airing in the U.S. — not counting news and sports programming.

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