'All My Children', 'Mister Rogers' among longest-running TV shows of all time

While some TV shows are trendy for a few seasons before fizzling out, others withstand the test of time.

Today, the average span of a typical TV series runs for 8–10 seasons. However, you may be shocked to learn that some shows from the past have run for over 50 seasons before concluding.

Many of the shows that have released new episodes over multiple decades are children’s shows like “Sesame Street” and soap operas like “General Hospital.”

Here are the longest-running TV shows in history and the reasons each came to an end.

“Guiding Light” started as a radio show before moving to the screen in 1952. (CBS via Getty Images)


1. “Guiding Light,” 57 seasons

“Guiding Light” started as an NBC radio show in 1937 before moving to a CBS cable program in 1952. Its combined time on radio and TV gave the show a 72-year run.

The soap opera takes place in the fictional Midwestern town of Springfield and centers around the Bauer family.

The drama’s departure was mainly due to low ratings.

“It was not an easy decision to make, but we talked it over with our partners at Procter & Gamble, and we agreed it was time,” CBS President Nancy Tellem said in 2009, according to The New York Times.

“Guiding Light” starred Kevin Bacon, Hayden Panettiere, Brittany Snow, James Earl Jones and many more cast members.

2. “As the World Turns,” 54 seasons

“As the World Turns” was a CBS soap opera that aired from 1956 until 2010. The premise of the show focused on two families, the Stewarts and the Hughes.

The TV series consisted of about 14,000 episodes. The show came to its end in 2010 due to a drop in ratings.

Cast members included A-list actresses Julianne Moore, Meg Ryan, Amanda Seyfried, Marisa Tomei and more.

Meg Ryan starred in 32 episodes of “As the World Turns.”  (CBS via Getty Images)


3. “One Life to Live,” 45 seasons

Soap opera fans were hit with multiple cancelations at once in 2011, when it was announced that both “One Life to Live” and “All My Children” were coming to an end.

“One Life to Live” had an impressive run on ABC, from 1968 to 2012. It even got a second life when new episodes were released by the production company Prospect Park in 2013 before its official end.

ABC decided to replace “One Life to Live” and “All My Children” with lifestyle talk shows “The Chew” and “The Revolution.”

Cast members included Nathan Fillion, Erika Slezak, Andrea Evans and more.

4. “Romper Room,” 41 seasons

“Romper Room” was a program geared toward preschool-aged children. It was created by Bert and Nancy Claster, who was called Miss Nancy, and began in Baltimore in 1953.

In 1981, it was renamed “Romper Room and Friends.”

Different versions of the syndicated show were produced by local TV stations in cities like Los Angeles, New York and Boston.

The children’s show ended after 41 seasons.


5. “All My Children,” 41 seasons

“All My Children,” starring actress Susan Lucci, ran from 1970 until 2011. Other cast members throughout the four decades included well-known actors like Kelly Ripa, David Canary, Jill Larson, Mark Consuelos, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Josh Duhamel, Michael B. Jordan, Amanda Seyfried, Chrishell Stause, Jesse McCartney and many more.

Like “One Life to Live,” there were more episodes of the show aired after its 2011 end.

“All My Children” was replaced by a talk show.

Susan Lucci starred in the popular soap opera “All My Children.” (ABC Photo Archives/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images)

6. “The Bugs Bunny Show,” 40 seasons

“The Bugs Bunny Show” used multiple titles, including “The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour” and “The Bugs Bunny & Tweety Show” during its 40 seasons on air.

The children’s cartoon was first released in 1960 before its end in 2000.

“The Bugs Bunny Show” became a Saturday morning staple, airing between ABC and CBS. In 2000, Warner Bros. gave the rights to the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies libraries to Cartoon Network, marking the end of the original “Bugs Bunny” series.

Voice cast members included Mel Blanc, Jeff Bergmam, June Foray and more.


7. “Search for Tomorrow,” 35 seasons

“Search for Tomorrow” held on to its air time for 35 seasons.

The soap opera ended in 1986 due to low ratings, according to NBC.

The show’s producer, Procter & Gamble and NBC came “to a joint agreement to stop airing ‘Search for Tomorrow’ because it no longer generates the needed audience to keep it a viable property. The number of stations carrying the program has declined to the point where it is not economically viable to continue production,” the Los Angeles Times reported when the show concluded.

Cast members included Morgan Fairchild, Jane Krakowski, Robert Curtis Brown, Larry Haines and more.

8. “Another World,” 35 seasons

“Another World” was put on the chopping block after 35 seasons.

The NBC soap set in the fictional town of Bay City ran from 1964 to 1999 before being replaced by a soap “Passions,” according to The Washington Post.

Cast members included Brad Pitt, Anne Heche, Alicia Coppola, Ray Liotta, Faith Ford, “Grey’s Anatomy’s” James Pickens Jr. and more.

9. “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” 31 seasons

“Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” was a musical show geared toward preschool-aged children.

Over the 31 seasons the show was on air, creator, showrunner and star Fred Rodgers produced over 900 episodes.

Fred Rogers was the creator and star of the children’s program “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.”  (Getty Images )

The show ended in 2001 so Rodgers could focus on other projects. In 2003, just a few years after the show’s end, Rodgers died from stomach cancer at age 74.

In 2012, a cartoon called “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” was released, inspired by the long-running “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” that came before it.

10. “Captain Kangaroo,” 29 seasons

“Captain Kangaroo” is another children’s TV show that had a long run.

For 29 seasons, Bob Keeshan starred in the titular role for the duration of the show, from 1955 to 1992.

After the program was shortened by CBS from one hour to a half-hour and moved to an earlier time slot, the network canceled the show in 1984.

Cast members included Bob Keeshan as Captain Kangaroo, Cosmo Allegretti as Bunny Rabbit and more.

Ashlyn Messier is a writer for Fox News Digital. 

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