Top 10 Longest Running Cartoon Shows

Over the years, cartoon shows have been a part of most children’s lives. Some of them last for over a decade, with multiple generations tuning in to watch their favorite characters. Even when the show has ended, it is usually immortalized in some form or another so everyone can continue watching their favorite stories play out again and again.

Today we are going to look at the top 10 longest-running cartoon shows. We are looking at television programs that have run for over a decade, either in one continuous stretch or with multiple seasons of new material.

1. The Smurfs

The Smurf’s TV show first aired in 1981 and ran continuously until 1990. It restarted in 1991 and ran until 2005. It was also released as a film in 2011.

2. King of the Hill

King of the Hill started its run on Fox television in 1997. The show airs new material to this day through syndication. It is still considered one of Fox’s most prolonged running shows that they currently produce, but other shows on this list have it beat.

3. Family Guy

The first episodes of Family Guy aired in 1999 and continued until 2002. Then, the show was canceled, but a solid fan base brought the show back to Fox for more episodes, which started airing in 2005 and continues today.

4. South Park

South Park’s first episode aired in 1997, and the show is still going strong. It was created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, who write and direct each episode of the program. They have stated that they have a specific layout for each episode, so no two episodes will ever be alike, even if there are multiple seasons between new shows.

5. The Simpsons

The Simpsons first aired in 1989 and are still going strong today. Matt Groening created the show, which has raised controversy over the years but has continued to gain new fans with each passing season (and two feature films).

6. Rugrats

Rugrats ran from 1991 until 2004 and was created by Arlene Klasky, Gabor Csupo, and Paul Germain. It is still airing in reruns today and has been syndicated with over 300 episodes in its library.

7. SpongeBob SquarePants

SpongeBob started its run on Nickelodeon in 1999 and has become one of their most popular shows. The show won the first Kids’ Choice Award for Favorite Cartoon in 2001 and has been nominated almost every year.

8. Tom and Jerry

Tom and Jerry first aired in 1940, making it the oldest show on this list. It was created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, who were also responsible for creating some of the other shows on this list, including Scooby-Doo.

9. La Femme Nikita

La Femme Nikita initially aired in 1997 and ran until 2001, with 70 episodes created. It was later rerun on ION Television, which is how it got on this list.

10. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Buffy started its run on The WB in 1997 and ran until 2003 with 144 episodes created over seven seasons. Throughout its time on air, the show won multiple awards, including an Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Visual Effects one year. It was also adapted into a series of comic books, novels, and video games.


The shows on this list have all been a staple of television, even if they were canceled and brought back. They have millions of fans that still love them today and grew up watching the shows as a kid. These 10 shows will live on forever in a child’s memories from their past.