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Longest Running US Drama Shows

Updated November 12, 2020 51.5k views35 items

List of the longest-running TV drama shows in US history. These dramatic TV series have more episodes than any others in American television. Some of the shows ran and have since gone off the air or been canceled, while others remain ongoing and are still being produced. Typically, these shows were collected into "seasons" of television, each with a pre-set amount of episodes. Sometimes, these seasons were broken up, in some cases with years between production of the series, while still being considered the run of a single TV show. (Spin-offs and other shows that were reinvented and debuted as new series - for example, the Law & Order franchise - are not considered.) This list contains all the longest-running shows in the history of TV drama.

Of the longest-running drama series in United States TV history, only a few examples are still on the air, and all but one are from the police procedural genre. The longest-running current show as of the writing of this list was Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, with over 400 episodes across 22 seasons. (The original Law & Order series ran for 20 seasons before airing the series finale on May 24, 2010.) In 2019, Grey's Anatomy became the longest running television primetime medical drama when it aired its 332nd episode, beating the record previously held by ER.

What are the longest running TV dramas? Take a look here and you'll see for yourself.

  • ActorsMariska Hargitay, Christopher Meloni, Ice-T

    22 Seasons. 479 Episodes. Currently in production

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  • Lassie


    ActorsJune Lockhart, Andy Clyde, Pamelyn Ferdin, George Cleveland, Jan Clayton

    22 Seasons. 588 Episodes.
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  • ActorsJerry Orbach, Jesse L. Martin, Dennis Farina

    20 Seasons. 456 Episodes.
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  • ActorsAlfred Hitchcock, Harry Tyler, John Williams

    14 Seasons. 456 Episodes.
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    #14 of 56 The Best NBC Dramas of All Time#8 of 63 The Creepiest Shows In TV History

  • ActorsJack Webb, Harry Morgan, Don Ross

    8 Seasons (from 4 "runs"). 450 Episodes.
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    #38 of 107 The Best NBC TV Shows of All Time#35 of 80 The Best Ever Police Procedural Series

  • ActorsEllen Pompeo, Justin Chambers, Chandra Wilson

    17 Seasons. 365 Episodes.

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  • ER


    ActorsAnthony Edwards, George Clooney, Julianna Margulies

    15 Seasons. 331 Episodes.
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  • ActorsJack Lord, James MacArthur, Kam Fong

    12 Seasons. 278 Episodes.
    Hawaii Five-O is an American police procedural drama series produced by CBS Productions and...  more

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    #13 of 79 The Best CBS Shows of All Time#37 of 43 The Best TV Shows That Lasted 10+ Seasons

  • ActorsRaymond Burr, Barbara Hale, William Hopper

    9 Seasons. 271 Episodes.
    Perry Mason is an American legal drama series originally broadcast on CBS television from...  more

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  • ActorsAngela Lansbury, William Windom, Ron Masak

    12 Seasons. 264 Episodes.
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    #244 of 305 The Greatest TV Dramas of All Time#100 of 270 The Best Cult TV Shows of All Time

  • ActorsDennis Franz, Gordon Clapp, James McDaniel

    12 Seasons. 262 Episodes.
    NYPD Blue is an American television police drama set in New York City, exploring the internal...  more

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    #127 of 201 The TV Shows with the Best Writing#211 of 340 The Best TV Shows of The Last 20 Years

  • ActorsDavid Hasselhoff, Pamela Anderson, Yasmine Bleeth

    11 Seasons. 243 Episodes.
    Baywatch is an American action drama series about the Los Angeles County Lifeguards who patrol...  more

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  • ActorsStephen Collins, Catherine Hicks, Jessica Biel

    11 Seasons. 243 Episodes.
    7th Heaven is an American family drama television series, created and produced by Brenda...  more

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  • ActorsLaurence Fishburne, Marg Helgenberger, George Eads

    11 Seasons. 229 Episodes. Currently in production
    CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (CBS, 2000) is an American crime drama television series...  more

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  • JAG


    ActorsDavid James Elliott, Catherine Bell, Patrick Labyorteaux

    10 Seasons. 227 Episodes.
    JAG is an American legal drama television show with a distinct U.S. Navy theme, created by...  more

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    #28 of 43 The Best '90s TV Dramas#51 of 149 The Best TV Spinoffs

  • ActorsJon Walmsley, Mary Beth McDonough, Eric Scott

    9 Seasons. 221 Episodes.
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    #16 of 41 The Best Emmy Winning Dramatic Series#48 of 108 The Best Historical Drama TV Shows

  • ActorsRoma Downey, Della Reese, John Dye

    9 Seasons. 212 Episodes.
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  • ActorsEfrem Zimbalist Jr., Edd Byrnes, Roger Smith

    6 Seasons. 206 Episodes.
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    #36 of 70 The Greatest TV Shows of the 1950s#26 of 34 The Greatest Dramas of the 1960s

  • ActorsMerlin Olsen, Jason Bateman, Melissa Gilbert, Alison Arngrim, Michael Landon

    9 Seasons. 203 Episodes.
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  • ActorsAndy Griffith, Linda Purl, Kene Holiday

    9 Seasons. 195 Episodes.
    Matlock is an American television legal drama, starring Andy Griffith in the title role of...  more

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    #35 of 79 The Best ABC Shows of All Time#19 of 45 The Best ABC Dramas of All Time

  • ActorsKathryn Erbe, Vincent D'Onofrio, Jamey Sheridan

    10 Seasons. 195 Episodes.
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  • Mannix


    ActorsRobert Reed, Mike Connors, Nancy Kovack, Joseph Campanella, Gail Fisher

    10 Seasons. 194 Episodes.
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  • 24


    ActorsKiefer Sutherland, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Carlos Bernard

    8 Seasons. 192 Episodes.
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  • ActorsShannen Doherty, Holly Marie Combs, Alyssa Milano

    8 Seasons. 179 Episodes.
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  • ActorsDick Van Dyke, Barry Van Dyke, Victoria Rowell

    8 Seasons. 178 Episodes.
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