Sitcoms or situational comedies are the mainstays of most Television channels, since they are generally the most popular shows. From drama to romance and even war, sitcoms have covered all emotions evocatively. These are the longest running sitcoms in television history.
1. Last of the Summer Wine
The longest running sitcom worldwide has been the British TV sitcom ‘Last of the Summer Wine” which has aired since 1973. Based on the lives of a group of old men living in a village in West Yorkshire, it has been applauded for its sympathetic portrayal of people in the autumn of their years and for its emphasis on family based humor.
Well into the 20th year of their existence, the Simpsons is an animated series which specializes in the lampooning the American suburbia lives. A highly dysfunctional family, based on the family of its creator Groening, it has dealt with issues ranging from religion to politics and to environmental problems.
3. The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet
Even though this sitcom was taken of the air in 1966 after 435 episodes, it has still retained its position as the longest running ‘live action’’ sitcom in US television history. Its depiction of the lives of the real life Nelson family has made it an enduring all time favorite.
4. King of the Hill
Named one of the top 100 greatest television shows of all times by TIME, this animated series is centered on a small town in Texas. It relies on humor based on real life situations and has been FOX channel’s longest running show.
5. My Three Sons
Fred MacMurray made his mark with this sitcom about the life of a widower and his three sons. It was the cornerstone of CBS for many years and its basic storyline was always based on the three boys. Even when one of the sons got married, he had triplet sons, thereby maintaining the Tagline for some more years.
6. Danny Thomas Show
Originally known as Make Room for Daddy, this show ran from 1953 till 1964. The main protagonist was Danny Williams, an entertainer and nightclub artist and his family consisting of his wife and two children. This show led to many spin-offs such as the Andy Griffith Show and Make Room for Granddaddy.
7. Donna Reed Show
Another show based on family life in small town America, this show was aired from 1958 till 1966 by ABC. Donna Reed received high acclaim for her portrayal of a middle class housewife married to pediatrician Alex.
A show that nearly got canceled due to the poor ratings in the first season, it rose to become one of the most popular sitcoms on American television. Set in the ‘Cheers’ bar in Boston, the main ensemble cast formed the baseline, but the wide range of characters around them gave it the ability to depict varied stories and situations.
The popularity of this sitcom can be judged by the fact that when it aired its finale – its 251st show in 1983, it was watched by 125 million viewers, the largest audience for a sitcom in US Television history. Based on an Army Surgical Unit in Korea, it combined medical drama with comedy. Initially most of its stories were based on real life situations described by surgical units of the Army.
10. Beverly Hillbillies
Undoubtedly one of the most popular series of its time, this sitcom was about a Hillbilly family moving into Beverly Hills, after discovering oil on their farmland. Most of the situations were based on their attempts to continue their rural lifestyle in the sanctified environs of Beverly Hills. Despite being criticised for its inane comedy by critics, it remained at the top of the charts for many years.