The first TV show hit U.S. screens in the late 1920s. Since then, watching television has become a staple in American entertainment. While there are no current shows that have been on since the conception of television, many of the longest-running series of all time are still producing new episodes.
Many of the programs on the list below premiered in the days of black-and-white television, eventually transitioning to being produced in color. Some began as 15-minute episodes before becoming 30 minutes and even an hour long. Others also started as radio shows before adding a visual component and moving onto the screen.
With a new episode premiering daily, these shows have racked up devout followings, watched by those at home during the day, recorded to catch later on at night, and often becoming sick day staples when kids are home from school and looking for something to watch during the day. From daytime soap operas to game shows to children's programming, these are the U.S. television shows with the most episodes of all time. Scroll on and tune in!
Despite ending in 2009, CBS soap opera Guiding Light is the longest-running show in U.S. history at this time. Television saw 15,762 episodes of the show before its conclusion after 57 years. Combined with an additional 2,500 radio show episodes that aired prior to the show hitting TV screens in 1952, Guiding Light has racked up over 18,000 episodes in total.
Still on air, General Hospital is coming for the title of "Most Episodes of All Time." The soap opera premiered on April 1, 1963, and has aired over 15,000 episodes. General Hospital follows the stories of medical staff and other local residents in Port Charles, New York.
Days of Our Lives
Soap operas continue to hold the top spots for most episodes. Premiering on November 8, 1965, Days of Our Lives has been on the air with over 14,000 episodes. Because the show has been such a hit, there have been multiple mini-series spin-offs created by Days of Our Lives for streaming.
As the World Turns
As the World Turns, which ended in 2010, ran for 13,858 episodes. For 54 seasons, viewers watched the trials and tribulations of doctors and lawyers and their family drama. The show was created by soap opera writer Irna Phillips as a sister show to Guiding Light.
The Young and the Restless
The Young and the Restless premiered on March 26, 1973. The storyline centers around the wealthy Brooks family and working class Foster family. Like other CBS soaps Guiding Light and As the World Turns, The Young and the Restless transitioned from 30-minute episodes to hour-long episodes.
Covering daily celebrity news, trends, and other hot topics, Access Hollywood has been a source of entertainment since 1996. With over 11,000 episodes, the show accumulated additional episodes after it moved to airing twice a day (once in the afternoon and another in the evening). Over the last 27 years, the show has had multiple hosts.
One Life to Live
From 1968 to 2013, One Life to Live showcased the drama between the families of Llanview, Pennsylvania. During its run, One Life to Live aired over 11,000 episodes. Upon the show's ending, some of the prominent characters were brought over to General Hospital to continue their roles.
All My Children
Hit soap opera All My Children aired 10,712 episodes on ABC from January 1970 to September 2011. The plot centered around Erica Kane, played by Susan Lucci, and the residents of suburban Pine Valley, Pennsylvania. In 2013, the show was revived as an online web series for 43 more episodes.
The Price is Right
A game show classic, The Price is Right rewards contestants for correctly guessing prices on everything from canned beans to a new car. Audience members play iconic games like Plinko and Mountain Climbers. Games throughout the show gives contestants a chance to win a spot in the Showcase Showdown at the end of the episode where they guess the prices of high value prize packs. At over 9,000 episodes so far, the show was hosted by Bob Barker from 1972 until his retirement in 2007 when Drew Carey became the present host.
Search for Tomorrow
A 15-minute soap opera from 1951 to 1986, the show aired live daily until 1967 and in 1968 became a 30-minute recorded broadcast. It ended its run with 9,130 episodes, the longest-running show of its time in 1986.
The Bold and the Beautiful
Hitting the 9,000-episode mark in April 2023, The Bold and the Beautiful has been on air since 1987. The soap opera tells the story of the Forresters, the family behind a fashion house of the same name, and the drama, romance, and scandals that follow. The Bold and the Beautiful is the sister show to CBS hit The Young and the Restless, the two have even had crossover cast members since the 1990s.
From 1964 to 1999, the soap opera Another World aired on NBC for nearly 9,000 episodes. The story followed the residents of a Midwestern town and their different societal backgrounds. Unlike other soap operas that expanded from 15 to 30 to 60 minutes, Another World was the first show to test the jump from one hour to 90-minute episodes, ultimately going back to one hour.
This show originally premiered in 1964 and has aired over 8,000 episodes. The game show where contestants give their answer in the form of a question, Jeopardy has been a hit with viewers since the start and is America's most award-winning game show. The half-hour quiz show has won 43 Emmys and several other awards.
The Edge of Night
After 7,420 episodes, The Edge of Night aired its final episode in 1984. Notably, the show was live daily from 1956 to 1975 before moving from CBS to ABC where it finished out its last nine years. The daytime soap opera was created as a spin-off of the popular nighttime television show Perry Mason.
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