92% of People Can't Name These Longest Running TV Shows From an Image. Can You?

By: Jody Mabry

About This Quiz

Do you consider yourself a primetime genius? Here are the longest-running scripted television shows in American history. See if you can screen your wealth of knowledge to identify them with a single image!

"The Beverly Hillbillies" ran for nine seasons. The show holds several TV show records: It was the fastest show to rise to #1 in TV rankings within the first three weeks of being aired. It remained in the #1 spot for two years. Also, following the assassination of JFK, the first eight episodes of "The Beverly Hillbillies" are considered the most watched half-hour shows in television history.

Nine years and running, "Modern Family" follows three families in their unique situations. Since the first season, the main cast of the show made a pact to show up to all awards and ceremonies in supporting roles with no one leading.

"Perry Mason" lasted from 1957 to 1966 and 271 episodes. It was one of the first, and most popular, criminal defense attorney shows on television. Raymund Burr actually auditioned for a supporting role in the TV series when he got the main role. He reportedly lost 120 lbs. for his role as Perry Mason.

"NCIS" first aired in the Fall of 2009. It follows Naval Criminal Investigations. Season episode numbers have changed throughout TV history with some shows having as few as six. "NCIS Los Angeles" is the only "NCIS" series to maintain 24 episodes every season.

"Law and Order Criminal Intent" ran from 2001 to 2011. Real-life pregnancy is sometimes tricky to write into a script. But for Kathryn Erbe's role, the writers changed the plot line with her character becoming a surrogate mother for her brother's child.

"JAG" lasted from 1995 to 2005. It initially received low ratings. NBC dropped "JAG" and it was picked up by CBS. Once picked up by CBS, so did the ratings, and the show lasted 11 years.

The "X-Files" began in 1993 and ran for nine seasons, ending in 2001. However, the roles of Scully and Mulder were brought back in 2016 and the show is still running. The show follows Mulder, a believer, and Scully, a skeptic, in extraterrestrials. In real life, their personal beliefs are the opposite.

"Smallville" ran from 2001 to 2011 and follows the life of a high school aged Superman. In every episode, viewers may not have noticed that Clark is wearing any one of, or a combination of, the colors red, yellow and blue. These colors are later significant as Superman's.

"CSI: Miami" ran from 2002 to 2012. In its 11-year run, the photography of the show has found some better days. For example, Miami is a coastal city in a flat coastal state. However, the Hollywood Hills are often seen in the background. Writers didn't always fare as well either. Actors frequently referenced Miami University which is actually in Ohio. The University of Miami is the school they were trying to reference.

"Friends" was on the air from 1994 to 2004, but if you count reruns, it's still alive and kicking. Many people don't realize that often before catching their first big role, actors are sometimes poor. When Matt LeBlanc auditioned for his role, he had only $11. With his first paycheck, he bought a nice hot meal. However, not every actor hits a big role while poor. Courtney Cox wasn't doing too shabby and with her first check, she bought a new car.

"Murphy Brown" ran from 1988 to 1998. It followed the lives of a tough female TV News journalist and her colleagues. The longest running support theme on the show was Murphy Brown's inability to keep a secretary. In total, the show gave Brown 93 secretaries. She would find out in a later episode that there was a Murphy Brown Secretary Support Group.

"Beverly Hill, 90210" was on the air from 1990 to 2000 and followed two kids from Minnesota who move to the wealthiest zip code in the nation. In the first few seasons, each episode had its own running theme and was issue-based. However, as the show gained popularity, the producers decided to make the show a running teen soap opera.

From 1974 to 1984, "Happy Days" reminded everyone how cool and dorky the '50s were. While the character of Fonzie is a motorcycle guy, Henry Winkler is terrified of them in real life. In the scenes where he is supposedly driving a motorcycle, the crew actually assembled the bike to a truck that was pulling it.

"7th Heaven" was on the air from 1996 to 2007. The show followed the lives of a minister and his wife and their seven children. Despite having a large cast, only four (Eric, Annie, Lucy and the dog, Happy) were in all 243 episodes.

"The Jeffersons" aired from 1975 to 1985. Despite having such a long run, CBS never gave the cast a real series finale and fan-farewell. In fact, Sherman Hemsley, the lead actor, found out the show was canceled while reading the newspaper. Bitter at the way the show ended, the cast reemerged years later to reunite in a stage play based on the sitcom.

"M*A*S*H*" aired from 1972 to 1983 and followed doctors at an army hospital during the Korean War. Despite being based in a war-torn environment, the theme of the show was how to use laughter as a way to cope with difficulty. One of the best examples of this was the crack-up character of Klinger who was originally supposed to appear in only one episode. However, he became so popular that he was asked back to become a regular.

"Married... with Children" was on the air from 1986 to 1997. Who knew the life of a Chicago shoe salesman could be so funny. Well, now we all know. In fact, Ed O'Neill's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is in front of a shoe store so future generations will never forget.

"Frasier" aired from 1993 to 2004 and is arguably one of the most successful spin-offs in television history. Many even call it better than the show from which it spun​, the highly successful "Cheers." Frasier follows the life of Dr. Frasier Crane after he leaves Boston and heads back to his hometown of Seattle. The show holds the record for most Emmy wins by a comedy series with 37.

"Cheers" aired from 1982 to 1993 and gave way to the spin-off, "Frasier." These two shows may pack the biggest one-two punch in sitcom history. From start to end, the show never showed anyone leaving the bar drunk. In fact, anti-drinking and driving groups frequently cite the show for helping to promote the designated driver program.

"The Danny Thomas Show" was on the air from 1953 to 1965. It follows a nightclub singer who tries to balance his career and family. Danny Thomas was not a fan of Jean Hagen, the real-life actress who played his TV wife. In fact, he disliked her so much that after she left in the third season, Thomas made sure she couldn't come back to the series by having her character killed off in the beginning of the fourth season.

"The Big Bang Theory" first aired in 2007 and by 2017 is still widely popular. It follows the lives of brilliant, yet socially awkward scientists and their friends. Despite most of the characters on the show having a Ph.D., actress Mayim Bialik is the only real-life actor to have one on the show. She received a Ph.D. in 2008 for Neuroscience Studies.

"Bones" first aired in 2005 and to the chagrin of fans, ended in 2017. As the series progressed, the character Temperance Brennan added novelist to her long list of abilities. Her character's name was Kathy Reichs. In real life, Kathy Reichs is an anthropologist-writer who writes about the character Temperance Brennan.

"NYPD Blue" ran from 1993 to 2005. During that time, only Dennis Franz stayed with the series for all 261 episodes.

"Two and a Half Men" lasted from 2003 to 2015. While the show cast two adult brothers and the son of one of them, the show continued for 13 years as the son became an adult himself. Jon Cryer is the only cast member to have appeared in every episode, despite sharing the lead role with Charlie Sheen.

"Murder, She Wrote" followed a professional writer and crime solver who was persistent to help solve every crime in which she became involved. Throughout the series, Jessica never drove. She rode a bike, took a cab, and at times asked for a lift.

"Hawaii Five-O" was on the air from 1968 to 1980. The villain, Wo Fat, made fifteen appearances in the series, however, he and Jack Lord were only on screen together four times. Jack Lord is the only cast member to have appeared in all 281 episodes and stay with the show throughout its 12-year run.

"My Three Sons" aired from 1960 to 1972. While many shows switch from one network to another, it is usually due to ratings. "My Three Sons" was a successful show when it switched from CBS to ABC. CBS, however, was not willing to put up the cost of filming in color when ABC was.

"Supernatural" first aired in 2005 and as of 2017, is still being filmed. While the show is into its 13th season, no one ever expected it to last that long. Writers and producers slated it for five seasons. By the 100th episode party, it was a joke the show had lasted that long. Up to the Fall of 2017, it has aired 271 episodes.

"King of the Hill" aired from 1997 to 2010. While Boomhauer's job is never stated, in the last season a badge in his wallet identifies him as a Texas Ranger. The show's first series word and last series word were the same, "yep."

"Criminal Minds" first aired in 2005 and by 2017 is still on, which is lucky in the ranks of television longevity. Perhaps it has something to do with socks. Actor Matthew Gubler doesn't wear matching socks on the show or in real-life because he believes it is unlucky.

"American Dad!" is one of Fox's successful and long-running animated sitcoms. It follows the escapades of CIA father, Stan Smith, and his unique family. Among many of the subtleties of the show, tough and conservative CIA agent Steve's middle name is "Anita."

"Grey's Anatomy" follows surgeon Dr. Meredith Grey who is one of only a few characters to have appeared in all 301 episodes through 2017. Currently in its 13th season, and despite its popularity, many people have thought past season finales were series finales. Each series episode has shared the name of a popular artist's song, such as the Beatles and R.E.M.

"Knot's Landing" lasted from 1979 to 1993. Michele Lee and Ted Shackelford are the only two characters to have been in all of the show's 340 episodes. Joan Van Ark missed the mark by one episode, missing the season finale.

"Dallas" aired from 1978 to 1991. In only its third season, the "Who shot J.R.?" episode became the most watched single episode in television history with 83 million American viewers and over 300 million worldwide viewers. It was later surpassed by the series finale of "MASH."

"Bonanza" lasted from 1959 to 1973 as arguably the best western series on television. The Cartwrights were eligible bachelors and there is a theme of that throughout the show's 14 years. Each time a Cartwright became seriously involved with a woman, she would either die, be slain, or left with another person.

"The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" aired from 1952 to 1966. Until "The Simpsons," the show was the longest-running comedy series in American TV history. The exterior shots of the house were actually shots of the Nelsons' real-life home.

"The Jack Benny Program" lasted from 1950 to 1965. Jack Benny incorporated many of the same themes and incidents from his radio show into the TV program. In fact, many of the radio program's cast also followed him to the show. The show featured Marilyn Monroe's television debut.

"ER" follows the professional and personal lives of emergency room doctors at Chicago County General Hospital. The entire primary cast who appeared in season one also appeared in the final season. The show had 123 Emmy nominations - the most of any show in TV history.

"CSI: Crime Scene Investigation" aired from 2000 to 2015. The show was initially pitched to ABC in 1999, but turned down because ABC felt it would be too confusing for the average viewer. CBS picked it up and the show has not only been a fan favorite but has spawned numerous spin-offs.

"NCIS" is in its 15th season, first airing in 2003. Gibbs has become a popular character to show flashbacks of as a youngster. His character is played by Actor Sean Harmon - the son of Mark Harmon.

"Family Guy" first aired in 1999 and since has had several ploys for the series to end, missing one year - 2004. However, the show continues strong into its 20th season. A running theme of the show is the family's constant abuse of Meg. Seth McFarland later said this is due to a cast of male writers not knowing how to write for a teenage girl. This can also be seen in an episode where Meg's friends believe Meg's full name is actually Megan. However, upon viewing her birth certificate, they realize Peter named her Megatron Griffin.

"Lassie" aired from 1954 to 1974. The scene of Timmy falling down a well has been a hilarious spoof on the show and Lassie's abilities for decades. However, Timmy falling down a well is one of the few occurrences from which Timmy never needed saving.

"Law and Order: Special Victims Unit" has been on the air since 1999. The show often focuses on victims of rape and other forms of sexual abuse. The show has received so much acclaim for positively addressing these issues that several survivors of sexual abuse have approached cast members to thank them for portraying these stories so well.

"South Park" first aired in 1997 and as of 2017, is still on the air. Despite being an animated series, which are often geared toward children, the series is known for its vulgar content, issues, and swearing - using comedy to poke fun at serious issues. To date, "South Park" holds the Guinness World Record for "Most Swearing in an Animated Series."

"Law and Order" was broadcast from 1990 to 2010. Jerry Orbach left the show after 12 years to star in the spin-off series, "Law and Order: Trial by Jury." However, he died after filming the second episode. The last original cast member was Chris Noth. Many might throw Steven Hill on the list, however, he didn't join the show until after the first episode.

"Gunsmoke" was the longest broadcast western series from 1955 to 1975. However, the series almost didn't make it past 1967 due to low ratings. The show was moved from Saturdays to Mondays, which brought it back into the top ten Nielsen ratings. Unfortunately, the move led to the cancellation of "Gilligan's Island."

"The Simpsons" got their start as a minute-long cartoon between scenes on "The Tracy Ullman Show." Due to their popularity, they were spun-off into arguably the most successful television show in TV history. The show is known for featuring popular guest stars, such as Elizabeth Taylor, Mark Hamill, and Alec Baldwin. The characters were purposely given a yellow color to attract the attention of channel hoppers. Although, due to the show's success, it likely doesn't need that attention anymore.

"Sesame Street" has been a staple of American television since 1969. In all that time, the left-side door in front of 123 Sesame Street has never been opened. It also wasn't mentioned until 25 years into the series that Cookie Monster's real name was Sid - that is until he ate a cookie for the first time. But, really who can blame him for changing his name. Cookies rock!

"Saturday Night Live" was first broadcast in 1975 along with the youngest cast member of all-time. Anthony Michael Hall, who led the way of SNL stars making it huge on the Big Screen, starred on the show at the age of 17. Kenan Thompson,​ hired in the 29th season became the first cast member born after the show's origination date. He was born in 1978.

"The Love Boat" lasted from 1977 to 1987. While the show had a successful run, Lauren Tewes had a highly publicized battle with cocaine use. She was ultimately terminated in the seventh season. She later claimed that after her termination, she was widely shunned by the rest of her former castmates.

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