Entertainment

Longest Running US Drama Shows

TVs Frank
Updated June 2, 2019 50.4k views 35 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. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is currently the longest-running dramatic show, with 229 episodes spaced out over 11 seasons. The second-longest-running current show as of the writing of this list was Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, with 224 episodes over 10 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.
 

1
Lassie is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Longest Running US Drama Shows
1954

Actors: June Lockhart, Andy Clyde, Pamelyn Ferdin, George Cleveland, Jan Clayton, + more

22 Seasons. 588 Episodes. Lassie is an American television series that follows the adventures of a female Rough Collie dog named Lassie and her companions, both human and animal. The show was the creation of producer ...more
2
Law & Order is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Longest Running US Drama Shows
1990

Actors: Jerry Orbach, Jesse L. Martin, Dennis Farina

20 Seasons. 456 Episodes. Law & Order is an American police procedural and legal drama television series, created by Dick Wolf and part of the Law & Order franchise. It originally aired on NBC and, in ...more
3
Alfred Hitchcock Present... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Longest Running US Drama Shows
1955

Actors: Alfred Hitchcock, Harry Tyler, John Williams

14 Seasons. 456 Episodes. Alfred Hitchcock Presents is an American television anthology series hosted by Alfred Hitchcock. The series featured dramas, thrillers, and mysteries. By the time the show premiered on October ...more
4
Dragnet is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Longest Running US Drama Shows
1952

Actors: Jack Webb, Harry Morgan, Don Ross

8 Seasons (from 4 "runs"). 450 Episodes. Dragnet is an American radio, television and motion picture series, enacting the cases of a dedicated Los Angeles police detective, Sergeant Joe Friday, and his partners. The show takes its name ...more
5
Grey's Anatomy is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Longest Running US Drama Shows
2005

Actors: Ellen Pompeo, Justin Chambers, Chandra Wilson

15 Seasons. 331 Episodes.

Grey's Anatomy (ABC, 2005) is an American medical soap opera television series created by Shonda Rhimes. A group of young doctors faces the pressure that comes from practicing medicine in a ...more
6
ER is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Longest Running US Drama Shows
1994

Actors: Anthony Edwards, George Clooney, Julianna Margulies

15 Seasons. 331 Episodes. ER is an American medical drama television series created by novelist Michael Crichton that aired on NBC from September 19, 1994, to April 2, 2009. It was produced by Constant c Productions and ...more
7
Hawaii Five-O is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Longest Running US Drama Shows
1968

Actors: Jack Lord, James MacArthur, Kam Fong

12 Seasons. 278 Episodes. Hawaii Five-O is an American police procedural drama series produced by CBS Productions and Leonard Freeman. Set in Hawaii, the show originally aired for 12 seasons from 1968 to 1980, and ...more
8
Perry Mason is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Longest Running US Drama Shows
1957

Actors: Raymond Burr, Barbara Hale, William Hopper

9 Seasons. 271 Episodes. Perry Mason is an American legal drama series originally broadcast on CBS television from September 21, 1957, to May 22, 1966. The title character, portrayed by Raymond Burr, is a fictional Los ...more
9
Murder, She Wrote is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Longest Running US Drama Shows
1984

Actors: Angela Lansbury, William Windom, Ron Masak

12 Seasons. 264 Episodes. This show is a television mystery series starring Angela Lansbury as mystery writer and amateur detective Jessica Fletcher. The series aired for 12 seasons with 264 episodes from 1984 to 1996 on ...more
10
NYPD Blue is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Longest Running US Drama Shows
1993

Actors: Dennis 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 and external struggles of the fictional 15th precinct of Manhattan. Each episode typically ...more
11
Baywatch is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Longest Running US Drama Shows
1989

Actors: David Hasselhoff, Pamela Anderson, Yasmine Bleeth

11 Seasons. 243 Episodes. Baywatch is an American action drama series about the Los Angeles County Lifeguards who patrol the beaches of Los Angeles County, California, starring David Hasselhoff. The show was canceled ...more
12
7th Heaven is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Longest Running US Drama Shows
1996

Actors: Stephen Collins, Catherine Hicks, Jessica Biel

11 Seasons. 243 Episodes. 7th Heaven is an American family drama television series, created and produced by Brenda Hampton. The series premiered on August 26, 1996, on The WB, the first time that the network aired Monday ...more
13
CSI: Crime Scene Investi... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Longest Running US Drama Shows
2000

Actors: Laurence 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 created by Anthony E. Zuiker. The series follows Las Vegas CSIs working for the Las Vegas Police ...more
14
JAG is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Longest Running US Drama Shows
1995

Actors: David 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 Donald P. Bellisario, and produced by Belisarius Productions in association with Paramount Network ...more
15
Law & Order: Special... is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Longest Running US Drama Shows
1999

Actors: Mariska Hargitay, Christopher Meloni, Ice-T

10 Seasons. 224 Episodes. Currently in production Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (NBC, 1999) is an American police procedural, legal, crime drama television series set in New York City. In the style of the original Law & Order, ...more
16
The Waltons is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Longest Running US Drama Shows
1972

Actors: Jon Walmsley, Mary Beth McDonough, Eric Scott

9 Seasons. 221 Episodes. The Waltons is an American television series created by Earl Hamner, Jr., based on his book Spencer's Mountain, and a 1963 film of the same name. The show is centered on a family in a rural ...more
17
Touched by an Angel is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Longest Running US Drama Shows
1994

Actors: Roma Downey, Della Reese, John Dye

9 Seasons. 212 Episodes. Touched by an Angel is an American supernatural drama series that premiered on CBS on September 21, 1994, and ran for 211 episodes and nine seasons until its conclusion on April 27, 2003. ...more
18
77 Sunset Strip is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Longest Running US Drama Shows
1958

Actors: Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Edd Byrnes, Roger Smith

6 Seasons. 206 Episodes. 77 Sunset Strip is an American television private detective series created by Roy Huggins and starring Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Roger Smith and Edd Byrnes. Each episode was one hour long. The show ...more
19
Little House on the Prai... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Longest Running US Drama Shows
9 Seasons. 203 Episodes. Little House on the Prairie (NBC, 1974) is an American western historical drama developed by Blanche Hanalis, and an adaptation of Laura Ingalls Wilder's book series Little House. The series ...more
20
Matlock is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Longest Running US Drama Shows
1986

Actors: Andy Griffith, Linda Purl, Kene Holiday

9 Seasons. 195 Episodes. Matlock is an American television legal drama, starring Andy Griffith in the title role of attorney Ben Matlock. The show, produced by The Fred Silverman Company, Dean Hargrove Productions, ...more
21
Law & Order: Crimina... is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Longest Running US Drama Shows
2001

Actors: Kathryn Erbe, Vincent D'Onofrio, Jamey Sheridan

10 Seasons. 195 Episodes. This show is an American police procedural television drama series set in New York City, where it was also primarily produced. Created and produced by Dick Wolf and René Balcer, the ...more
22
Mannix is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Longest Running US Drama Shows
1967

Actors: Robert Reed, Mike Connors, Nancy Kovack, Joseph Campanella, Gail Fisher, + more

10 Seasons. 194 Episodes. Mannix is an American television detective series that ran from 1967 to 1975 on CBS. Created by Richard Levinson and William Link and developed by executive producer Bruce Geller, the title ...more
23
24 is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Longest Running US Drama Shows
2001

Actors: Kiefer Sutherland, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Carlos Bernard

8 Seasons. 192 Episodes. 24 (Fox, 2001) is an American drama television series created by Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran. Jack Bauer (Kiefer Sutherland), Director of Field Ops for the Counter-Terrorist Unit of Los ...more
24
Charmed is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Longest Running US Drama Shows
1998

Actors: Shannen Doherty, Holly Marie Combs, Alyssa Milano

8 Seasons. 179 Episodes. Charmed (The WB, 1998) is an American fantasy drama television series created by Constance M. Burge. Sisters Prue (Shannen Doherty), Piper (Holly Marie Combs) and Phoebe (Alyssa Milano) discover ...more
25
Diagnosis: Murder is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Longest Running US Drama Shows
1993

Actors: Dick Van Dyke, Barry Van Dyke, Victoria Rowell

8 Seasons. 178 Episodes. This series is a mystery/medical drama television series starring Dick Van Dyke as Dr. Mark Sloan, a medical doctor who solves incidents with the help of his son, a detective played by his ...more