Question: Can you please tell me the longest-running prime-time drama and comedy? Thanks. Maryanne
Televisionary: My pleasure, Maryanne. That's what they pay me for (and I'm hoping they'll never figure out I'd do it for free). The western drama Gunsmoke enjoyed an incredible 20-season run on CBS, debuting in September 1955 and leaving the network's schedule in September 1975.
It gets a little stickier with comedies. The Jack Benny Show and The Jackie Gleason Show are tied for that record with 15 seasons each, but there are some technical matters to address. When the Benny show first hit the TV airwaves in October 1950, it was as a sporadically scheduled, Sunday-night special on CBS. In 1952 it began airing every four weeks before becoming a bi-weekly show in 1953 and then a weekly in 1960, a frequency which held through the 1964 jump to NBC and its September 1965 exit from the airwaves.
The Gleason show, for its part, began life as a live, hour-long show on CBS in September 1952. It was a comedy and variety revue that also included the classic Honeymooners sketches. In 1955, it was replaced by a half-hour version of The Honeymooners, but returned the next fall as a variety show. After a 1957-58 season hiatus, it came back with some tweaks and changes, lasted three months, left and wasn't seen again until 1962, when it returned as The Jackie Gleason Show: The American Scene Magazine. The name was trimmed down to The Jackie Gleason Show again in 1966 and the show was mostly Honeymooners material until the series's September 1970 demise.
Those two aside, the longest-running, regularly scheduled comedy was The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, which premiered on ABC in October 1952 and wrapped up 14 seasons later in September 1966. Of course, it's never that clean and easy: In 1960, the show was briefly called The Adventures of the Nelson Family.
Got all that? Good, because I'm not so sure I do. But I feel fairly secure in saying that answer won't change anytime soon (if ever) since the days of 20-year dramas and 15-year comedies are long gone in this high-competition world.