The Top 10 Longest Running Television Sitcoms

Remember those must-see Thursdays on NBC when the network dominated the prime time ratings because of its shows? The lineup may have included such drama hits like “Hill Street Blues,” “L.A. Law” and “ER,” but everyone knows that the sitcoms were the highlights of the night. These included comedy powerhouses like “The Cosby Show,” “Family Ties.” “Cheers,” “A Different World,” “Seinfeld,” “Mad About You,” “Frasier,” “Friends” and “Will and Grace.”

All of these shows are now gone but not without leaving tons of memories. Up to now, lexicons popularized by “Seinfeld” such as “yadda yadda yadda” and “Soup Nazi” are still being used. The show lasted for nine seasons. Other sitcoms, however, have lasted much longer. Here is a list of the top 10 longest running television sitcoms.


10 The Simpsons – 1987-present

This is an animated sitcom that started out as part of “The Tracey Ullman Show” in 1987. It stayed within that show for three seasons before Fox developed it into a 30-minute show in 1989. It was a hit, as it became the network’s first show to land in the top 30 for an entire season. The show was conceived by Matt Groening and is a satire and parody of middle-class America. It is set in the fictional town of Springfield and lampoons different aspects of the human condition, specifically those pertaining to American culture, television and society.


9 South Park – 1997-present


This is an animated sitcom for mature audiences known for its crude language and surreal humor. It actually started out as an animated short created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone in 1992. Another short in 1995 became a viral video in the Internet and led to the creation of the series. The show is set in a Colorado town and revolves around the story of four boys, namely Kyle Broflovski, Eric Cartman, Stan Marsh and Kenny McCormick.


8 The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet – 1952-66

This is the longest running live-action sitcom in television. It lasted for 14 seasons and starred Ozzie Nelson and Harriet Hilliard. Also in the show were their sons David and Ricky. The show also featured Thorny, their friendly neighbor played by Don DeFore. The show had its roots in radio and aired its first show in 1944. Its radio stint ended in 1954, even as it already began broadcasting on TV in 1952. It never made the top 10, but it attracted a large-enough audience to sustain it until 1966. The show primarily showcased the ideal American way of life in the 1950s.


7 King of the Hill – 1997-2010

This was an animated sitcom from the creator of MTV’s “Beavis and Butthead.” Mike Judge collaborated with Greg Daniels in this series that centered on a middle-class Methodist family called the Hills. They live in the fictional town of Arlen in Texas. It showed the conventional and ordinary aspects of everyday life, even as it deals with the issues they face in a humorous way. It was named by Time Magazine as one of the top 100 greatest shows on TV of all time.


6 My Three Sons – 1960-72


This was a situation comedy that was shown on ABC from 1960 to 1965. It then transferred to CBS where it was shown until 1972. It was a cornerstone of the programming of the two networks. It featured the life and story of Steven Douglas, an aeronautical engineer by profession who had lost his wife. The widower ended up having to raise three sons. By the time the show ended, there were already 380 episodes produced and shown.


5 M*A*S*H – 1972-83


The TV series was developed by Larry Gelbart and adapted from the 1970 movie “MASH,” which, in turn, was based on the 1968 Richard Hooker novel entitled “MASH: A Novel About Three Army Doctors.” It was about a team of doctors and their support staff who were stationed in the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital based in Uijeongbu in South Korea during the Korean War from 1950 to 1953. The series finale entitled “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen” became one of the most-watched episodes in TV history after recording 125 million viewers.


4 Cheers – 1982-93


This sitcom ran for 11 seasons and featured a group of locals who regularly meet to drink and chat in a Boston bar called “Cheers.” It had the tagline “Where Everybody Knows Your Name,” which was the refrain of the show’s theme song. The show finished in the top 10 in eight out of its 11 seasons, ending up on top of the list in one year. What made it amazing was that it was actually almost cancelled after one year after finishing almost dead last in that year’s rankings. The show eventually became a fan favorite, so much so that it actually produced a spin off based on one of its characters called “Frasier.”


3 Frasier – 1993-2004


When the character of Frasier Crane in “Cheers” finalized his divorce, he left Boston and moved to Seattle. The show featured the life of the psychiatrist, as his attempt to live a bachelor life was complicated when he had to take in his injured father. The show also featured his father’s caregiver and his fellow psychiatrist brother. “Frasier” became one of the most successful spin-off shows ever and one of the most acclaimed shows in TV history.


2 Married…With Children – 1987-97


This sitcom was about the dysfunctional Bundy family who lived in a fictional suburb of Chicago. It followed the life of Al Bundy, a salesman of women’s shoes who longed to relive his glory days as a high school football player. He had an obnoxious wife, a promiscuous daughter and a wisecracking son.  The show is included in Time Magazine’s list of 100 best shows of all time.


1 The Jeffersons – 1975-85

They were neighbors of Archie Bunker in the show “All in the Family.” They were given a spin off show in 1975 entitled “The Jeffersons” that featured a rich African-American couple who lived in New York City. After 11 years, however, the series was suddenly cancelled without the opportunity for the characters to close out the show properly.

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