Nick Leshi

Nick Leshi
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Bronx, New York, United States of America
Birthday
December 13
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Writer, actor, media professional, fan of entertainment, pop culture, and speculative fiction. Contact nickleshi@aol.com for more info.

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APRIL 23, 2012 10:42PM

Long-Running TV Shows

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Time for another guest post, written by my friend The Mad Blogger. In this one he takes a look at television series that lasted for years.  I've inserted my own feedback where appropriate.

Greetings from the Mad Blogger! Here are some of my favorite long-running TV shows (past and present in order of longevity). All shows are or were on the air for 15 years or more.

The Tonight Show (1954 - Present)
Not a huge Jay Leno fan, but it is far better than David Letterman's show.
(Nick's retort - It was good with Johnny Carson, but Jay Leno is weak. Letterman is the best!  To be honest though, right now the funniest late night host is probably Jimmy Kimmel.)

The Wonderful World of Disney (1954 - 2008)
When I was a kid, this show was not to be missed. It aired on Sunday nights at 7PM.
(Nick's retort - I used to love this show. Did it really last until 2008? Wow.)

ABC's Wide World of Sports (1961 - 2006)
I never understood why this show lost popularity. If they had this show on today, I would definitely watch it. It was always cool to see sports from around the world Saturday afternoons at 3:30 PM. The thrill of victory -- and the agony of defeat. You know the show was good when you would watch events you normally would not see. The world seemed larger back then so gaining a peek into other countries such as China felt more mysterious. Also, the Harlem Globetrotters were awesome to watch.
(Nick's retort - The best part was the opening montage, seeing the skier crash, forever symbolizing the agony of defeat.)

Sesame Street (1969 - Present)
What kid did not grow up loving this show? Now, we as parents get to see our children experience the same joy we did. It has diminished creatively, and yes, Elmo is frickin' annoying, but it is still quality fare for children. And yes, for us, too.
(Nick's retort - Maybe I'm just being nostalgic, but I still think the old school Sesame Street was better.)

Monday Night Football (1970 - Present)
Are you ready for some football? This show in its heyday with Howard Cosell was really cool. It has diminished since leaving ABC, but still worth viewing.
(Nick's retort - No one tops Cosell.)

NFL Films Presents (1968 - Present)
Who does not love the "voice of God" (John Facenda) and those classic montages with the inspire music. "Lombardi. A certain magic lingers in the very name. It speaks of duels in the snow and cold November months." How awesome is that???
(Nick's retort - Not a bad choice, but I'd rather watch "This Week in Baseball.")

Saturday Night Live (1975 - Present)
This was THE show on Saturday Nights in the 1970s. You would wait until your parents were asleep and then sneak into the living room, and sit right up to the TV, lowering the volume so you wouldn't wake anyone up, and yet, your laughter would cause EVERYONE to wake up.
P.S. There really is a place in Chicago where they say "Cheeburger, no Coke, Pepsi, no fries, chips." If you don't know what I am talking about, you HAVE to see this show.
(Nick's retort - I like the current cast, but you're right, the classic original Not-Ready-For-Primetime-Players are unsurpassed for comedic gold. And the Eddie Murphy/Billy Crystal days were awesome too. Dana Carvey was also a hoot.)

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood (1968-2001)
Along with Sesame Street and The Electric Company, this completes the trio of terrific television viewing in the early 1970s for me. Awesome learning experience for me. And to this day, I still can recite the Tomorrow song verbatim.
(Nick's retort - Totally agree. May Mister Rogers rest in peace.)

Inside the NFL (1977 - Present)
When Len Dawson and Nick Buoniconti hosted this show on HBO in the late 1970s, it was at the time the only way to see weekly NFL clips. Great to see how far things have come, but this show was really cool, especially the Where Are They Now segments, that would place the spotlight on former gridiron greats and what they were presently doing.
(Nick's retort - I'm sensing a football trend here.)

Mystery! (1980 - Present)
Anything on PBS in the mystery genre is going to grab me. For me, I am a HUGE Agatha Christie fan, so David Suchet's Poirot was must-see TV. But the other series on this show are excellent, too. On Sunday nights, it is worth a peek.
(Nick's retort - Peter Ustinov was the best Detective Hercule Poirot.)

Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom (1963 - 1988)
Along with ABC's Wide World of Sports, this was a great way to spend Saturday afternoons. The opening theme hooked you, and the show was a top-of-the-line way to showcase animals in their native habitats. Also, these were real aninal shows, before the tree-hugging liberals took over (hey, Nick). So, when a cheetah took down a gazelle, you saw the whole run-and-catch, without the foofy breakways.
(Nick's retort - Nature on PBS is also a good one.)

At the Movies (1986 - 2010)
You didn't always agree with them, but watching two critics argue incessantly over foofy movies and plot points was intriguing television. After Siskel passed, the show was never the same. If you want to see great television about movies, Youtube old episodes of Siskel and Ebert.
(Nick's retort - Agree. But I wish the show was still on.)

The George Michael Sports Machine (1984 - 2007)
What a great way to see highlights of football games late Sunday nights. This show pioneered the "in your livingroom" angle. This angle showcased the player catching the ball in the end zone for a touchdown and appearing to run right into your living room. Very cool angle for a very cool show. George Michael, thank YOU for being a part of my weekends.
(Nick's retort - Bah, more football.)

The Simpsons
(1989 - Present)

How can you not love this show?
(Nick's retort - Long may it live.)

This Week in Baseball (1977 - 1998)
This show usually aired on Saturday afternoon right before a baseball game, and showcased highlights of the week before. Mel Allen has a special place in my heart.
(Nick's retort - Finally! Some baseball! And I believe it's still on the air.)

America's Funniest Home Videos (1989 - Present)
The summer of 1989 was great for me in terms of watching television on Sunday nights. America's Funniest Home Videos, The Simpsons, and Married with Children. Heck, who didn't send in a clip of a funny video in the hopes of winning money? The show is on SO long that its name has outlived the technology of video. Think about it.
(Nick's retort - True. They call it AFV now, I think.)

WWF Superstars (1984 - 2002)
On Saturday mornings, along with cartoons, who did not like watching wrestling? The cheesy interviews of when wrestling was starting to gain popularity. The scrub matches where a popular wrestler would fight some ham-and-egger (and always win). Man, do you remember when two popular wrestlers NEVER fought each other on TV, or when good guys ALWAYS fought bad guys? Takes you back.
(Nick's retort - I still miss the clear-cut good guys and bad guys of pro wrestling.)

Judge Judy (1996 - Present)
I like Judge Judy. She makes courtroom TV enjoyable to watch. Many other shows of a tough female judge have come and gone, but Judge Judy stays. She will never leave. She is a sexy, sexy woman (along with Mrs. Howell of Gilligan's Island).
(Nick's retort - You are a sick, sick man, Mad Blogger.)

----------------
Nick's conclusion -- Interesting list. Here is my list of other great long-running shows in TV history. Maybe the Mad Blogger will grace us with his feedback on these shows as well.

Gunsmoke - Great Western.
Lassie - The collie always saves the day!
Law and Order - The legal procedural that redefined TV and sparked a bunch of rip-offs.
Bonanza - Another great, longlasting Western.
Dallas - Terrific primetime soap opera, and it's coming back!
E.R. - Fantastic medical drama.
Cheers - Hilarious comedy.
Murder She Wrote - Terrific mystery.
60 Minutes - Still one of the highest rated shows on TV.
NYPD Blue - One of my favorite cop shows of all time.
Happy Days - The Fonz is one of the greatest characters ever.
South Park - Still a laugh riot after al these years.

What do the rest of you think?

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I was thinking about "All in the Family" but that show only had a 9 year run.
Smiling.... We were just talking about Happy Days and how we used to see everyone staying home on Thursday Nights just to watch it!
V, maybe if you count Archie Bunker's Place and the Jefferson and Maude spinoffs, All in the Family can qualify as a long-running show.

Brazen, what I love about shows that last over a decade is seeing some of the characters "grow up" before our eyes -- like Michael Landon on Bonanza, Scott Baio on Happy Days, etc.
I like Law & Order - Parking Enforcement Division. All the other Law & Order spin-offs are just pretenders when compared to the king.

(also, the OG SNL cast is good, but the 1 year Billy Crystal was there, while not doing well in the ratings, is pretty damn funny when you go back and watch the episodes, if you can find them...and, The Globetrotters were awesome.)