Talk shows have become very popular and influential programmes especially in America. Most of them involve one person who moderates the show or a group of people who engaged in a discussion. Guests are normally invited to contribute to a particular topic or to talk about their work. They mostly have a studio audience that is normally engaged in games and competitions or by asking the guest questions. Common topics covered include politics, entertainment, sports and lifestyle. Since the ‘talk show’ format was started in America, many shows have been created and some have gone on to air for many years. These are the longest running talk shows – late night and daytime talk shows on US Television.
- 10. Late Night with David Letterman
- 9. The Ellen DeGeneres Show
- 8. Late Night with Conan O’Brien
- 7. The Jerry Springer Show
- 6. Late Show with David Letterman
- 5. The View
- 4. The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
- 3. The Oprah Winfrey Show
- 2. The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
- 1. Larry King Live
- 10 Longest Running Talk Shows on US Television
10. Late Night with David Letterman
It premiered on 1st February 1982, on NBC and ran until 25th June 1993. It aired for 11 seasons consisting of 1819 episodes. David Letterman created and hosted the show after he had been a regular guest host for The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. It was recorded from New York at Studio 6-A in NBC Studios. The show ended when Letterman and his crew left NBC to host Late Show with David Letterman on CBS. This was after he had been denied the chance to succeed Johnny Carson as the host of The Tonight Show.
It was the first show of the ‘late night’ franchise format and it was replaced by Late Night with Conan O’Brien.
9. The Ellen DeGeneres Show
Also known as Ellen, the Ellen DeGeneres show has been on air for 14 seasons having aired 2180 episodes as of 30th January 2017. It debuted on 8th September 2003 airing in syndication in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. It was created by Ellen DeGeneres who also serves as the host of the show. The show features comedy, interviews of musical and celebrity guests and human-interest stories.
It also features games that the audience participates in and prizes are awarded. The show also has been known to bring non-celebrities for ’15 minutes of fame’. The show is still in production.
8. Late Night with Conan O’Brien
Late night with Conan O’Brien ran for 14 seasons on NBC and consisted of 2725 episodes. It was developed by Lorne Michaels and presented by Conan O’Brien. It first aired on 13th September 1993 as a replacement for Late Night with David Letterman when Letterman left NBC to host Late Show on CBS. It was recorded from New York at Studio 6-A in NBC Studios. The show featured comedy and musical performances and celebrity interviews.
The show ended on 20th February 2009 when it was announced that O’Brien would move to The Tonight Show to succeed Jay Leno. It was followed by Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
7. The Jerry Springer Show
The Jerry Springer Show (also known as Jerry Springer or simply Springer) is a tabloid talk show that has been on air since 30th September 1991. The show has produced 26 seasons of an estimated 3891 episodes as of January 2017; it is still in production. It is recorded at the Stamford Media Center in Stamford, Connecticut with an audience made up of mostly college students and is distributed by NBC Universal Television Distribution.
The show usually handles controversial and provocative topics. Guests usually engage in confrontations that usually end up in a brawl.
6. Late Show with David Letterman
The Late Show with David Letterman premiered on 30th August 1993 on CBS. It was created by David Letterman after he left NBC for being denied the opportunity to succeed Johnny Carson as the host of The Tonight Show. The show aired for 22 seasons consisting of 4263 episodes. It was recorded at ED Sullivan Theater in New York. The show was often rated No. 1 competing with The Tonight Show Starring Jay Leno.
By hosting the show David Letterman surpassed Johnny Carson as the longest running late-night talk show host in 2013. The show ended on 20th May 2015 and was succeeded by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
5. The View
The view is a talk show co-hosted by a panel of women who discuss a variety of social, political and entertainment news. It first aired on 11th August 1997 on ABC. As of 30th January 2017, it has produced 20 seasons consisting of 4411 episodes; is still in production. The show was created by Barbara Walters and Bill Geddie. Barbara also served in the original panel with Meredith Vieira, Joy Behar, Star Jones and Debbie Matenopoulos.
The current panel consists of Joy Behar, Whoopi Goldberg, Raven-Symone and Candace Cameron Bure. From season 13, the show started featuring guest male hosts. It is recorded at ABC Television Center in New York City.
4. The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
Johnny Carson’s tonight show aired 30 seasons that consisted of 4531 episodes. It aired from 1st October 1962 to 22 May 1992 on NBC. The show is hailed as having established the modern format of late-night talk shows that entails a monologue, sketch comedy, guest interviews and musical or comedy performances. The show was recorded in NBC Studios in New York City until 1972 when it moved to NBC Studios in Burbank, California.
Its move to Burbank contributed a lot to the realignment of American pop culture from East Coast to West Coast The show was very successful and it helped establish Carson as one of the biggest figures in entertainment in the 20th century.
3. The Oprah Winfrey Show
The Oprah Winfrey Show was a talk show hosted by Oprah Winfrey that ran from 8th September 1986 to 25th May 2011. It aired 4561 episodes for the 25 seasons it was produced. Recording took place in Chicago, Illinois. The show became the highest-rated talk show in TV history. It helped establish Winfrey as one of the most powerful and wealthy person in show business and the most influential woman in America.
It was broadcast around the world in 134 countries and drew an estimated weekly audience of 46 million viewers in the United States alone. Apart from interviewing powerful personalities, the show was known for promoting products and for entailing self-improvement segments.
2. The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
The Show ran for 22 episodes that consisted of 4610 episodes. It had two incarnations with the first airing between 25th May 1992 and 29th May 2009 while the second aired between 1st March 2010 and 6th February 2014. The show was preceded by The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Jay Leno took hosting responsibilities three days after Johnny Carson’s retirement.
It was recorded at NBC Studios in Burbank, California and aired on NBC. It was succeeded by The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. It was often ranked the no. 1 among late night talk shows, and second amongst longest running talk shows on US Television.
1. Larry King Live
Larry King live began airing on CNN on June 3rd 1985 with an interview of the then-Governor of New York Mario Cuomo. It was on air for 25 years and produced 6120 episodes. It featured interviews with movies stars, world leaders, politicians, musicians and other news-makers. Because of Larry King’s straightforward and non-confrontational interview style, he was able to land big guests. It had regular guest hosts with Ryan Seacrest, Geraldo Rivera and Nancy Grace having hosted the most episodes.
On 29th June 2010, King announced that the show would be coming to an end and the last episode aired on 18th December 2010. The last show featured appearances by Ryan Seacrest, Donald Trump, former president Bill Clinton via satellite and President Barack Obama (in a pre-recorded video) among others. It was one of the longest running talk shows on US Television.
10 Longest Running Talk Shows on US Television
- Larry King Live
- The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
- The Oprah Winfrey Show
- The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
- The View
- Late Show with David Letterman
- The Jerry Springer Show
- Late Night with Conan O’Brien
- The Ellen DeGeneres Show
- Late Night with David Letterman