The Longest Running TV Shows in American History

Some of the greatest shows in American television history are remembered as being outstanding, but most have a short run. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, for example, only ran for six seasons in the 1990s. Breaking Bad only had five seasons (the final season was split into two portions), as did The Wire. The Sopranos only ran six seasons.

But not every great show has a short lifespan. Take The Simpsons, for example. Although most would admit that their best seasons are in the rearview mirror, Fox’s cash cow cartoon has been around since before Michael Jordan won his first NBA championship. We took a look at The Simpsons, plus all the other longest-running TV shows in American history. Some may surprise you!

20. Captain Kangaroo 

Captain Kangaroo

Captain Kangaroo | CBS

Duration: 29 years

Captain Kangaroo is a beloved show for people-of-a-certain-age, having run from 1955-1984 on CBS. The kids’ show actually featured no kangaroos, and the name came from the large pockets on host Bob Keeshan’s iconic coat. The premise was loose, with a format that featured puppets, specials guests, and cartoon shorts. Captain Kangaroo had several cast members that would go on to various levels of fame, including Bill Cosby and Kevin Clash — the latter providing the voice of Elmo on Sesame Street.

Next: The first soap opera on the list.

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