It was the advent of cable TV (followed by satellite TV) that added to the popularity of television as a form of mass media in the United States, post World War II. A rise in the number of TV channels resulted in a rise in the number of TV shows, and soon enough, the audience found themselves in a dilemma, with too many good shows to choose from.
The decade of 1940s marked the emergence of several TV shows in the United States; most of which went off air after a brief stint. It was at this point of time that one TV show started and went on and on ... running for six decades at a stretch, thus becoming the longest-running show in the history of television.
There have been quite a few TV shows which have been aired for 50 years and more, but here we are talking about a show which went on for more than 60 years (and continues even today).
Longest-running TV Show in the World
'Meet the Press' is an American TV news/interview program, being broadcast continuously for the last 62 years. The 60-minute long show generally has one-on-one interview with the host and a round table discussion or two-on-one interview with political adversaries. It is also broadcast in Europe, Asia, and Australia on various NBC Universal channels.
Produced by the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), Meet the Press made its debut in the American broadcasting circuit on November 6, 1947. Over the period of 62 years that it has been in running, this weekly show has completed more than 4500 episodes.
The present host of Meet the Press, David Gregory is the 11th person to moderate this show. Interestingly, it is also the highest-rated Sunday morning talk show on the American broadcasting circuit.
The 'CBS Evening News', which comes a close second (59 years), deserves a special mention here, mainly because it is the longest-running network newscast in the United States.
Noteworthy Mentions (Category-wise)
While Meet the Press is the longest-running talk show of the world, there are other TV shows that are the longest in their specific genre.
- Prime time TV show: The American western drama series, 'Gunsmoke', which was aired between 1955 and 1975.
- Children's TV show: 'Blue Peter', which is being aired in the United Kingdom since 1958.
- Game show/variety show: Spanish television show, 'Sábado Gigante', being aired in Chile and United States since 1962.
- Science fiction TV show: One of the most popular names in the British home entertainment circuit, 'Doctor Who'.
- Quiz show: 'It's Academic', is running since 1961, in the U.S.
- Talk/chat show: 'The Tonight Show', is running since 1954.
In fact, 'Doctor Who' also has the distinction of being the 'most successful' science fiction series of all time.
Meet the Press is also considered one of the best TV shows, and with the producers having no specific plans to wind up any time soon, it is expected to hold this title for years to come. Additionally, it being the highest-rated Sunday morning talk show of America, hints at the fact that it is not just about quantity, but also about quality.