It’s easy to get hooked on a sitcom, as there’s more than enough drama, comedy, and growth within the characters. Some sitcoms were so popular that they were tagged as being the best of the best, like Seinfeld or Frasier. But, Seinfeld only lasted for nine seasons, running for a total of nine years.
Some sitcoms outrank each other when it comes to how many years they were on air and how long it took to film all the seasons. Some people might be surprised at what shows are still going strong even years later and the top contenders are actually animated.
Sitcoms are a genre of television that can last for years and years with countless storylines and episodes. It’s proven true as some of the most renowned sitcoms have been on air since the early 90s. Some sitcoms were so good during their original run time that they made a comeback a couple of years later to continue the story. Shows like Friends, Modern Family, and Cheers allowed dedicated fans to grow up with the characters and experience every turbulent life experience together. Between 13 to 24 years on air, it’s clear that sitcoms do what many other shows can’t- have a long shelf life.
- 1 15 Friends (1994-2004)
- 2 14 Cheers (1982 – 1993)
- 3 13 Frasier (1993 – 2004)
- 4 12 M.A.S.H. (1972 – 1983)
- 5 11 Will & Grace (1998 – 2006, 2017 – 2020)
- 6 10 Modern Family (2009 – 2020)
- 7 9 Two And A Half Men (2003 – 2015)
- 8 8 The Big Bang Theory (2007 – 2019)
- 9 7 The Love Boat (1977-1990)
- 10 6 American Dad! (2005-Present)
- 11 5 It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia (2005 – Present)
- 12 4 Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000- Present)
- 13 3 Family Guy (1999 – Present)
- 14 2 South Park (1997-Present)
- 15 1 The Simpsons (1989 – Present)
15 Friends (1994-2004)
Friends, alongside other popular sitcoms, became one of the most renowned and binge-watched shows to air on television. Even years after its end in 2004, the show still ranks as number one amongst fans. The show even became a pop culture sensation having been nominated for 62 Emmys.
The sitcom began in 1994 with a group of friends all in their 20’s trying to make it work in New York City. Amongst failed relationships, complex love stories, comedy, and relatable moments, Friends easily became a sitcom for the masses. After ten years, the show came to a close in 2004 ending with 1o seasons and 236 episodes.
14 Cheers (1982 – 1993)
Starting is the acclaimed sitcom Cheers. It first premiered in 1982 and centered around the bartender and proprietor, Sam (Ted Danson) of a bar called Cheers. For eleven years, fans got to see the unique and quirky characters that came into his establishment. One regular character even got his own spin-off show.
The sitcom came to an end in 1993 and finished off at 11 seasons. Across the 11 seasons, there were a total of 275 half-hour episodes filmed. Besides The Good Place, Cheers is one of Ted Danson’s most recognized and dashing roles on television.
13 Frasier (1993 – 2004)
Fans have Frasier have Cheers to thank for this hit sitcom. Frasier was a spin-off show based on a regular character from the 1983 sitcom. One of the many patrons who visited the bar was Frasier Crane (Kelsey Grammer), a psychiatrist. In the original show, Frasier goes through a lot of love troubles and ultimately gets divorced.
The spin-off show picks up after the divorce as Frasier returns to his hometown in Seattle, Washington. He starts over as a bachelor, taking care of his father while hosting The Dr. Frasier Crane Show, a call-in psychiatry radio show. The show ran for 11 years and eleven seasons, finally concluding in 2004.
12 M.A.S.H. (1972 – 1983)
M.A.S.H. was another sitcom that gained popularity as it combined the morbid reality of the war and comedy. The comedy drama’s name stood for “Mobile Army Surgical Hospital” and centered around the medical staff stationed in Uijeongbu, South Korea.
It’s no surprise that the show was so popular that it stayed on the air for 11 years raking up a total of 11 seasons and 256 episodes. Many categorize the sitcom as being a situation comedy or a dark comedy. It often tried to make light of the current situation of the Vietnam War that took place during the airing of the show’s earliest seasons while still bringing attention to its brutal reality.
11 Will & Grace (1998 – 2006, 2017 – 2020)
Will & Grace was a popular sitcom in the late 90s to 2000s that first met its end in 2006. Making it only having been on the air for eight years for a total of eight seasons. The show became the most prominent and most successful show to star a gay principal character.
Despite many believing the show would forever meet its end in 2006, the show was revived in 2017 by NBC. It then continued for another three years until it really met its final end in 2020, making a grand total of 11 years that the show was on television.
10 Modern Family (2009 – 2020)
Fans of the sitcom Modern Family literally watched the show’s child actors grow into full-fledged adults. The show first premiered in 2009 and centered around a modern-day family that has its own share of issues and drama. It’s tagged as a mockumentary, seeing as the characters will conduct interviews and talk to their audience.
Audiences got to see the comical yet resonating issues of three diverse families. The husband and wife trying to raise three kids, the same-sex couple adopting and becoming parents, and the grandfather who marries a younger woman. After 11 years, the show came to an end in 2020 and closed the book on the family’s life chapter. The show created a total of 11 seasons and 250 episodes.
9 Two And A Half Men (2003 – 2015)
Two And Half Men is a sitcom that always playing reruns on television, and it’s not a hard show to follow and have fun with. The show’s title is a fun jab at the main characters. Charlie (Charlie Sheen), a bachelor who writes jingles, and his brother, a divorced chiropractor, and his son move in with him at his beachfront home.
The show originally aired in 2003 and Charlie Sheen originally played the main character up until 2011 before he was replaced with Ashton Kutcher. The show’s story changed to adapt to a new character. In 2015, it came to an end after 12 seasons in just as many years.
8 The Big Bang Theory (2007 – 2019)
The Big Bang Theory made history as being one of the longest sitcoms of all time with a total of 275 episodes, surpassing Cheers. Episode count aside, the show also wins in being one of the longest-running sitcoms seen, as it was on air for 13 years, premiering 12 full seasons in that time.
The sitcom gained popularity amongst audiences for its witty storylines and characters. It focused on four best friends, all Mensa-fied and working at the California Institute of Technology. The show also had the added character of Penny, the beautiful waitress across the hall. One of the show’s characters, Sheldon (Jim Parsons) got his own spin-off giving backstory to his childhood.
7 The Love Boat (1977-1990)
The Love Boat is not about the famous carnival ride of love. It’s a romantic comedy/drama sitcom from 1977. The sitcom’s duration is a bit interesting to explain. The show originally aired from 1997 up until 1986. In that time, the show produced and aired nine seasons.
After 1986, the show wasn’t canceled. Instead, the show had additional three-hour-long specials in 1986, 1987, and 1990. The sitcom was based around a ship captain and his crew, along with several passengers. Each episode took audiences on a different journey of comedy and romance.
6 American Dad! (2005-Present)
Seth MacFarlane came to voice another popular sitcom character, Stan Smith in American Dad! The sitcom aired in 2005 revolving around an upper-class American family whose patriarch works for the CIA. The family included a housewife mother, a hippie teen daughter, a dorky high schooler, a talking fish, and an alien.
Since its first episode in 2005, the sitcom has gone on to air 300 episodes and 17 seasons so far. Fans won’t see the animated sitcom coming to a stop anytime soon as new seasons are already in the works to debut. Fans have come to enjoy the show’s quirky characters, witty jokes, and somewhat relatable storylines.
5 It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia (2005 – Present)
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia doesn’t have the high episode count as the others in this list, but it wins in terms of the show’s duration. The sitcom aired in 2005 and is still going strong. In its time on television, it aired a total of 14 seasons. Much like other sitcoms, it all centers around a peculiar group of people.
The show takes audiences into the dysfunctional yet comical lives of five misfit friends. There are the twins played by Glenn Howerton and Kaitlin Olson, Charlie Kelly (Charlie Day), and Mac (Rob McElhenney). Danny Devito was later cast as the final member in season two as Frank Reynolds.
4 Curb Your Enthusiasm (2000- Present)
Larry David is well-known in Hollywood for creating the famous sitcom titled Seinfeld alongside Jerry Seinfeld. In 2000, a new sitcom was born from a one-hour special from 1999 titled Larry David: Curb Your Enthusiasm. Since its debut, Curb Your Enthusiasm has received critical acclaim and numerous Emmy Wards.
David stars in the lead role as himself. Meaning his storyline is as a semi-retired television writer and producer who deals with the minutiae of American daily social life. The show is still going strong since 2000 and has since aired 10 seasons and on its way to its eleventh season.
3 Family Guy (1999 – Present)
It really is no surprise that one of the top longest-running sitcoms is Family Guy. Unlike the other sitcoms, this one is animated. The show premiered back in 1999 and was only briefly sidelined by a temporary cancellation in the early 2000s. It’s one of the most highly-watched and talked-about television shows.
It’s mostly due to its dark comedy and jokes about American culture. The show centered around the Griffin family. The clumsy father, the stay-at-home mom, the bullied teenage daughter, the award son, and the conniving evil genius baby—there’s also a talking dog thrown in for good measure. So far, the show has premiered 19 seasons since 1999.
2 South Park (1997-Present)
When it comes to sitcoms, animated versions tend to last much longer than a live-action cast. South Park has been on the air since 1997 and has already created 23 seasons. Within the 23 seasons, there has been a whopping 309 episodes in 24 years.
Much like other animated sitcoms, the show relies on dark and surreal humor, as well as creating jokes satirizing a wide range of themes. South Park often makes special episodes relating to current world events or pop culture scenarios. The show follows the lives and exploits of a group of friends in a small fictional town.
1 The Simpsons (1989 – Present)
The Simpsons win the grand prize for being the longest-running sitcom of all time. It’s been on air since 1989, after all. The Simpsons isn’t a run-of-the-mill sitcom, boasting more prominent distinctions than its animated style alone. It does have the common trait of focusing on one family and their encounters with other characters.
The show is tagged as being the most useful animated series to be created. It’s even often talked about for its bizarre ability to predict future events. The show has been on air since 1989, with a whopping total of 32 seasons so far.