TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time

by ssienra | created - 03 Nov 2012 | updated - 03 Nov 2012 | Public
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1. Seinfeld (1989–1998)

TV-PG | 22 min | Comedy

The continuing misadventures of neurotic New York City stand-up comedian Jerry Seinfeld and his equally neurotic New York City friends.

Stars: Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Michael Richards, Jason Alexander

Votes: 203,740

2. I Love Lucy (1951–1957)

TV-G | 30 min | Comedy, Family

A daffy woman constantly strives to become a star along with her bandleader husband and gets herself in the strangest situations.

Stars: Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Vivian Vance, William Frawley

Votes: 19,481

3. The Honeymooners (1955–1956)

30 min | Comedy, Family

A bus driver and his sewer worker friend struggle to strike it rich while their wives look on with weary patience.

Stars: Jackie Gleason, Art Carney, Audrey Meadows, Joyce Randolph

Votes: 3,926

4. All in the Family (1971–1979)

TV-PG | 30 min | Comedy, Drama

A working class bigot constantly squabbles with his family over the important issues of the day.

Stars: Carroll O'Connor, Jean Stapleton, Rob Reiner, Sally Struthers

Votes: 11,816

5. The Sopranos (1999–2007)

TV-MA | 55 min | Crime, Drama

A New Jersey mob boss, Tony Soprano, deals with personal and professional issues in his home and business life, which affects his mental state and leads him to seek professional psychiatric counseling.

Stars: James Gandolfini, Lorraine Bracco, Edie Falco, Michael Imperioli

Votes: 226,546

6. 60 Minutes (1968– )

TV-PG | 60 min | Documentary, News

The classic long-running prime time TV investigative news magazine.

Stars: Andrew Rooney, Lesley Stahl, Steve Kroft, Morley Safer

Votes: 2,478

7. Late Show with David Letterman (1993–2015)

60 min | Comedy, Music, Talk-Show

The Late Show with David Letterman is an hour-long weeknight comedy and talk-show broadcast by CBS from the Ed Sullivan Theater on Broadway in New York City.

Stars: David Letterman, Paul Shaffer, Alan Kalter, Biff Henderson

Votes: 11,425

8. The Simpsons (1989– )

TV-14 | 22 min | Animation, Comedy

The satiric adventures of a working-class family in the misfit city of Springfield.

Stars: Dan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright, Julie Kavner, Yeardley Smith

Votes: 310,074

9. The Andy Griffith Show (1960–1968)

TV-G | 30 min | Comedy, Family

Widower Sheriff Andy Taylor, and his son Opie, live with Andy's Aunt Bee in Mayberry, North Carolina. With virtually no crimes to solve, most of Andy's time is spent philosophizing and calming down his cousin Deputy Barney Fife.

Stars: Andy Griffith, Ron Howard, Don Knotts, Frances Bavier

Votes: 9,733

10. Saturday Night Live (1975– )

TV-14 | 90 min | Comedy, Music

A famous guest host stars in parodies and sketches created by the cast of this witty show.

Stars: Don Pardo, Lenny Pickett, Darrell Hammond, Kenan Thompson

Votes: 36,798

11. Mary Tyler Moore (1970–1977)

TV-PG | 30 min | Comedy

The lives and trials of a young single woman and her friends, both at work and at home.

Stars: Mary Tyler Moore, Edward Asner, Gavin MacLeod, Valerie Harper

Votes: 5,445

12. The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962–1992)

105 min | Comedy, Talk-Show

Host Johnny Carson performs comedy routines and chats with various celebrities.

Stars: Johnny Carson, Ed McMahon, Doc Severinsen, Skitch Henderson

Votes: 2,557

13. The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961–1966)

TV-G | 30 min | Comedy, Family

The misadventures of a TV writer both at work and at home.

Stars: Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore, Rose Marie, Morey Amsterdam

Votes: 7,196

14. Hill Street Blues (1981–1987)

TV-14 | 60 min | Drama

The lives and work of the staff of an inner city police precinct.

Stars: Daniel J. Travanti, Michael Warren, Bruce Weitz, James Sikking

Votes: 5,795

15. The Ed Sullivan Show (1948–1971)

TV-G | 60 min | Comedy, Music

The classic prime time variety show most famous for its vaudeville acts and rock music performances.

Stars: Ed Sullivan, Johnny Wayne, Frank Shuster, Roberta Peters

Votes: 935

16. The Carol Burnett Show (1967–1978)

TV-G | 60 min | Comedy, Family

Television show featuring skits by Carol Burnett and her comedy troupe.

Stars: Carol Burnett, Vicki Lawrence, Harvey Korman, Lyle Waggoner

Votes: 3,780

17. Today (1952– )

TV-G | 240 min | News, Talk-Show

A daily live broadcast provides current domestic and international news, weather reports and interviews with news-makers from the worlds of politics, business, media, entertainment and sports.

Stars: Katie Couric, Matt Lauer, Al Roker, Natalie Morales

Votes: 1,406

18. Cheers (1982–1993)

TV-PG | 22 min | Comedy, Drama

The regulars of the Boston bar Cheers share their experiences and lives with each other while drinking or working at the bar where everybody knows your name.

Stars: Ted Danson, Rhea Perlman, John Ratzenberger, George Wendt

Votes: 39,516

19. Thirtysomething (1987–1991)

60 min | Drama, Romance

Hope and Michael are a married couple in their thirties, living in Philadelphia, and struggling with everyday adult angst. Michael runs an ad agency with his friend Elliot, whose marriage ... See full summary »

Stars: Timothy Busfield, Polly Draper, Mel Harris, Peter Horton

Votes: 1,792

20. St. Elsewhere (1982–1988)

TV-PG | 60 min | Drama

The lives and work of the staff of St. Eligius Hospital, an old and disrespected Boston teaching hospital.

Stars: Ed Begley Jr., William Daniels, Howie Mandel, David Morse

Votes: 2,801

21. Friends (1994–2004)

TV-14 | 22 min | Comedy, Romance

Follows the personal and professional lives of six 20 to 30-something-year-old friends living in Manhattan.

Stars: Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc

Votes: 587,711

22. ER (1994–2009)

TV-14 | 44 min | Drama, Romance

The lives, loves and losses of the doctors and nurses of Chicago's County General Hospital.

Stars: Anthony Edwards, George Clooney, Julianna Margulies, Eriq La Salle

Votes: 43,919

23. ABC News Nightline (1980– )

30 min | News, Talk-Show

A nightly discussion of one important news event from earlier that day.

Stars: JuJu Chang, Bill Weir, Terry Moran, Byron Pitts

Votes: 238

24. Law & Order (1990–2010)

TV-14 | 45 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Follows a crime, usually adapted from current headlines, from two separate vantage points, the police investigation and the prosecution in court.

Stars: Jerry Orbach, Jesse L. Martin, Dennis Farina, S. Epatha Merkerson

Votes: 27,459

25. M*A*S*H (1972–1983)

TV-PG | 25 min | Comedy, Drama, War

The staff of an Army hospital in the Korean War find that laughter is the best way to deal with their situation.

Stars: Alan Alda, Wayne Rogers, Loretta Swit, Jamie Farr

Votes: 43,640

26. The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)

TV-PG | 51 min | Fantasy, Horror, Mystery

Ordinary people find themselves in extraordinarily astounding situations, which they each try to solve in a remarkable manner.

Stars: Rod Serling, Robert McCord, Jay Overholts, Vaughn Taylor

Votes: 53,872

27. Sesame Street (1969– )

TV-Y | 55 min | Animation, Comedy, Family

On a special inner city street, the inhabitants, human and muppet, teach preschool subjects with comedy, cartoons, games, and songs.

Stars: Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Caroll Spinney, Jerry Nelson

Votes: 9,737

28. The Cosby Show (1984–1992)

TV-G | 30 min | Comedy, Family, Romance

The goings-on in the life of a successful African-American family.

Stars: Bill Cosby, Phylicia Rashad, Keshia Knight Pulliam, Malcolm-Jamal Warner

Votes: 27,585

29. Donahue (1967–1995)

60 min | Talk-Show

The precursor to all the daytime talk shows that arose during the 1980's and 90's. Phil Donahue's show started off similar to other shows of its day, featuring celebrities and musical acts,... See full summary »

Stars: Phil Donahue, Sammy Davis Jr., Dolly Parton, Debby Boone

Votes: 230

30. Your Show of Shows (1950–1954)

90 min | Comedy

Live, original comedy originally featuring Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca. Carl Reiner and Howard Morris joined the show later. Two of the great skits on the show were "The Hickenloopers", a ... See full summary »

Stars: Sid Caesar, Imogene Coca, Felisa Vanoff, Carl Reiner

Votes: 222

31. The Defenders (1961–1965)

60 min | Drama

A father and son lawyer duo take a variety of cases that often deal with the important issues of the day.

Stars: E.G. Marshall, Robert Reed, Polly Rowles, Ossie Davis

Votes: 277

32. An American Family (1973– )

720 min | Documentary, Music, Reality-TV

This was the original "Real World". The show was a weekly documentary which followed the real life travails of the Loud family, a mixed up cluster of suburbanites. The show picked up lots ... See full summary »

Stars: Patricia Loud, Bill Loud, Lance Loud, Kevin Loud

Votes: 182

33. Playhouse 90 (1956–1961)

90 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

Of the many anthology series, Playhouse 90 is considered the most ambitious with outstanding talent in front of the camera. Attracting top ranked directors and scripts it was often filmed live including the entire first season.

Stars: Richard Joy, Charles Bickford, Kim Hunter, Malcolm Atterbury

Votes: 224

34. Frasier (1993–2004)

TV-PG | 22 min | Comedy

Dr. Frasier Crane moves back to his hometown of Seattle, where he lives with his father, and works as a radio psychiatrist.

Stars: Kelsey Grammer, Jane Leeves, David Hyde Pierce, Peri Gilpin

Votes: 62,186

35. Roseanne (1988–1997)

TV-PG | 22 min | Comedy, Drama

The story of a working-class family struggling with life's essential problems: marriage, children, money and parents-in-law.

Stars: Roseanne Barr, John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, Michael Fishman

Votes: 31,776

36. The Fugitive (1963–1967)

51 min | Adventure, Crime, Drama

A doctor, wrongly convicted for a murder he didn't commit, escapes custody and must stay ahead of the police to find the real killer.

Stars: David Janssen, William Conrad, Barry Morse, Paul Birch

Votes: 2,631

37. The X-Files (1993– )

TV-14 | 45 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

Two FBI agents, Fox Mulder the believer and Dana Scully the skeptic, investigate the strange and unexplained, while hidden forces work to impede their efforts.

Stars: David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi, William B. Davis

Votes: 173,170

38. The Larry Sanders Show (1992–1998)

TV-MA | 30 min | Comedy

A comedic behind the scenes look at a late night talk show.

Stars: Garry Shandling, Jeffrey Tambor, Wallace Langham, Rip Torn

Votes: 6,518

39. The Rockford Files (1974–1980)

TV-PG | 60 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

The cases of an easy going ex-convict turned private investigator.

Stars: James Garner, Noah Beery Jr., Joe Santos, Luis Delgado

Votes: 5,529

40. Gunsmoke (1955–1975)

TV-PG | 60 min | Western

Marshal Matt Dillon keeps the peace in the rough and tumble Dodge City.

Stars: James Arness, Milburn Stone, Amanda Blake, Ken Curtis

Votes: 3,945

41. Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1996–2003)

TV-14 | 44 min | Action, Drama, Fantasy

A young woman is forced to fulfill her destiny of fighting vampires and demons with the help of her friends all the while struggling to live a normal teenage life of heart break and drama.

Stars: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Nicholas Brendon, Alyson Hannigan, Anthony Head

Votes: 112,145

42. Laugh-In (1967–1973)

TV-PG | 60 min | Comedy, Music

The original rapid fire sketch comedy show.

Stars: Dan Rowan, Dick Martin, Ruth Buzzi, Gary Owens

Votes: 2,006

43. Bonanza (1959–1973)

TV-PG | 49 min | Western

The adventures of Ben Cartwright and his sons as they run and defend their ranch while helping the surrounding community.

Stars: Lorne Greene, Michael Landon, Dan Blocker, Pernell Roberts

Votes: 6,406

44. The Bob Newhart Show (1972–1978)

TV-G | 30 min | Comedy

The professional and personal misadventures of a psychologist and his family, patients, friends and colleagues.

Stars: Bob Newhart, Suzanne Pleshette, Bill Daily, Marcia Wallace

Votes: 3,813

45. Twin Peaks (1990–1991)

TV-MA | 47 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

An idiosyncratic FBI agent investigates the murder of a young woman in the even more idiosyncratic town of Twin Peaks.

Stars: Kyle MacLachlan, Michael Ontkean, Mädchen Amick, Dana Ashbrook

Votes: 140,847

46. Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987–1994)

TV-PG | 44 min | Action, Adventure, Mystery

Set decades after Captain Kirk's five-year mission, a new generation of Starfleet officers set off in a new Enterprise on their own mission to go where no one has gone before.

Stars: Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton

Votes: 78,463

47. Rocky and His Friends (1959–1961)

30 min | Animation, Comedy, Family

An comedic anthology featuring primarily the adventures of a heroic flying squirrel and his dumb moose friend.

Stars: June Foray, Bill Scott, William Conrad, Paul Frees

Votes: 1,664

48. Taxi (1978–1983)

TV-PG | 30 min | Comedy

The staff of a New York City taxicab company go about their job while they dream of greater things.

Stars: Judd Hirsch, Jeff Conaway, Danny DeVito, Marilu Henner

Votes: 9,302

49. The Oprah Winfrey Show (1984–2011)

TV-PG | 60 min | Talk-Show

Oprah Winfrey hosts a live audience talk-show with celebrity guests and discusses daily stories.

Stars: Oprah Winfrey, Nate Berkus, Gayle King, Chris Rock

Votes: 4,199

50. Bewitched (1964–1972)

TV-G | 25 min | Comedy, Family, Fantasy

A witch married to an ordinary man cannot resist using her magic powers to solve the problems her family faces.

Stars: Elizabeth Montgomery, Dick York, Dick Sargent, Agnes Moorehead

Votes: 13,262