Season 34 of The Simpsons is coming out in September 2022, making it the longest-running scripted TV show ever on screen. While there are many TV series that don’t make it past one season, there are those that run for years and years.
Some of these shows have run for multiple decades, often outliving creators and cast members. Long-running shows can be found all over the world, including many in the United States and the United Kingdom. There are many reasons for these shows to be beloved by audiences, and Redditors have some surprising opinions about the shows that have truly run the longest.
The Sky At Night (1957 – )
Streaming On Roku
Redditor Dwharfe mentions the show: “The Sky at night. 806 episodes. since 1957.” This British astronomy program was hosted by Patrick Moore from 1957 until 2015 and has had several presenters since. It airs monthly on the BBC and presents what can currently be seen in the night sky.
The familiarity of the long-running host, Moore, added a comforting appeal to the show for viewers and the subject of astronomy appeals to a wide variety of people from different walks of life. As technology has improved, scientific knowledge of space and astronomy has grown, cementing the show’s popularity.
Meet The Press (1947 – )
Streaming On Peacock
Redditor Freethought mentions that the U.S. show “Meet the Press (NBC) is the longest-running show in television history, debuting on November 6, 1947. That’s a 75-year run.”
Meet the Press is a weekly Sunday morning news program that discusses current political issues. Long-running hosts include Tom Brokaw, Tim Russert, and current host, Chuck Todd. This series is very sustainable in its format, as there will always be new and ongoing political issues to discuss. The show presents a wide variety of viewpoints. Guests and panelists include both politicians involved in the stories and other journalists. The attraction of this lively discussion has likely contributed to the show’s longevity, and it was even featured on the popular series Veep.
Tatort (1970 – )
Streaming On Amazon Prime & Tubi
Tatort is a multiple award-winning German police anthology drama series. Redditor Hannes3120 says “German Tatort is on air for 52 years this year.”
This show is unique in that each episode focuses on a different police force in a different city. Tatort‘s wide variety of different police forces and settings offer lots of potential for unique storytelling and the 90-minute run time allows for lots of character development and exploration of intriguing crime cases. With the advent of streaming content, international shows like Tatort have been seen and appreciated by an even wider audience.
Blue Peter (1958 – )
Clips Available On Blue Peter’s YouTube Channel
Redditor Eelpieland contributes that “Blue Peter started in 1958 and is still running. UK kid’s programme.” This British magazine show for children features segments on arts and crafts, caring for pets, competitions, interviews, and more.
The primary reason for the longevity of Blue Peter is that there will always be a new child audience. Parents introduce this show from their childhoods to their own children, and it can be watched together as a family. The multiple segments in each episode provide appeal to the interests of a diverse population of children. The series has a very close relationship with fellow long-running series, Doctor Who, including one of their hosts, Peter Purves – who played a companion to the First Doctor in the classic series.
Coronation Street (1960 – )
Streaming On Hulu & Tubi
This popular long-running soap opera focuses on a working-class community in England. Redditor Ffishsticks says “The British primetime soap opera Coronation Street has been running since 1960. One actor, William Roache, has played the same character since the first episode.”
The familiar characters and setting have a sense of nostalgia for long-time viewers. The soap opera format of the show allows for a variety of different dramatic storylines that can entice new audiences. With actors constantly coming in and out, the show stays fresh. One famous face that went on to bigger parts was Sir Ian McKellan, known for playing Gandalf in Lord of the Rings.
Sazae-san (1969 – )
Available On YouTube
Japanese series Sazae-san is noted by Redditor Conspo: “Sazae-san has been airing in Japan since 1969 and its the longest running animated series.”
This enduring anime series focuses on traditional Japanese culture and family dynamics, which appeals to a wide range of people. It centers on Sazae, a housewife, and her two younger siblings. Its themes are nostalgic for older members of the Japanese population and the slice-of-life storylines and familiar characters are comforting to its audience.
Country Calendar (1966 – )
Available On YouTube
Stansta brings up a New Zealand documentary series: “Country Calendar – 56 years.” Country Calendar is a weekly show that highlights rural Kiwi life.
The series, with its focus on rural life, is relatable to a large sector of New Zealand’s population. Each episode covers a different family or individual and their farming challenges and successes, providing an ongoing supply of stories. The human interest angle has a broad appeal.
The Price Is Right (1972 – )
Available On CBS
Redditor Upboatsallaround posts a long-running game show: “Price is Right has been on 50 years. I know this because it’s all over their branding right now, and I watch it to keep up with inflation 😅.” According to the official CBS website, The Price is Right is television’s longest-running game show.
This bright and cheerful game show, with its enticing and addicting money games, appeals to a broad audience. Viewers are made to feel that they could be a contestant one day and win one of the many lavish prizes. The affable hosts (Bob Barker and Drew Carey) plus the smiling and glamorous models keep up the energy and excitement.
Hockey Night in Canada (1952 – )
Available On NHL Network
Not forgetting sports shows, Redditor Liquidpig says “Hockey Night in Canada started as a radio program in 1931, and started on tv in 1952.”
This series’ long-lasting appeal mainly lies in the extreme popularity of NHL ice hockey in Canada. Each program features a game, interviews, commentary, and more. Barring the unlikely event that Canadians’ passion for ice hockey fades, this show could carry on for decades.
Doctor Who (1963 – )
Streaming On HBO Max
Redditor bobthened points out: “Doctor who has been running for 59 years (though with a gap in the 90s).” The long-running sci-fi series has been on air since 1963 with only brief breaks in the 1990s.
Doctor Who‘s long-standing appeal stems from the highly sustainable format of the Doctor being able to regenerate, which in a way, renews the show as well. With every era having its own identity, there is a version of Doctor Who to appeal to diverse audiences. The themes of exploration, kindness, and hope are universal, which appeal to an international audience despite its very British roots.