The longest running TV series in the United States is the National Broadcasting Company's “Meet the Press,” which has been airing since 6 November, 1947. Given that television broadcasting began barely a decade before “Meet the Press” started airing, the show's long-lasting run is rather significant. The news show also happens to be the longest running TV series in the world, and the show has consistently high viewer numbers, often beating out the competition.
“Guiding Light,” a daytime drama which first aired on 30 June 1952, could be considered another contender for the honor of longest running TV series in the United States. The show airs on CBS, and it has the distinction of being the longest running soap opera in the world. “The Price is Right” is another venerable television series which has been airing since 1972, and fans of “The Simpsons” may be pleased to know that the animated comedy is the longest running animated comedy series in the United States, with an initial air date of 17 December 1989.
Several other American series have had notably long runs, including “Gunsmoke,” “Saturday Night Live,” and “The Tonight Show.” The honors of longest running TV series don't belong solely in the United States, however. “Sazae-San,” an animated show, has been airing in Japan since 1969, and “The Late Late Show” has been broadcast to Irish viewers since 1962. A Mexican cooking show, “Hasta La Cocina,” has been airing since 1962, and “Hockey Night In Canada” has been on the air since 1952.
The United Kingdom also has several notably long-running television series which are worthy of a mention. “Dr Who” has aired off and on on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) since 1963, making it the longest running science fiction series, and “Blue Peter,” a children's show which started airing on the BBC in 1958, also has a very long history on the air. The long history of television broadcasting in both the United States and Great Britain can be seen from the huge numbers of American and British shows which tend to dominate lists of the longest running TV series in the world.
Some of these series have episode counts in the thousands, making it remarkable that they have been on the air for so long. “Meet the Press,” being a news show, has an obvious advantage in that there's always plenty of new material to work with, but the staff on scripted comedies, dramas, and action shows definitely deserve some commendation for keeping their shows on the air for so long.