5 Long Running TV Shows and Their Key to Success by Stephen Patterson , May 26th, 2016 at 10:16am Share on Facebook Share to TwitterThe world of television is ever-changing, but one thing that remains the same is the different genres of programming. However, due to the large quantity of programming in todays world, some series fail to make it past their first or second season and end up getting cancelled. Occasionally, there are shows that manage to not only defy this barrier, but they manage to keep alive and survive cancellation again and again. Different genres have certain advantages – soap operas or entertainment shows are produced differently than usual seasonal shows, so they have an upper hand. Whatever the genres, these shows manage to continue running for several years. Their success lies in adaptability, but it also relies on word of mouth. Let’s take a look at several long running television shows and see why after so many years they remain successful.1. Grey’s AnatomyGrey’s Anatomy first hit screens back in 2005 as a mid-season replacement on primetime network ABC. About to enter it’s thirteenth season, the series is currently ABC’s most popular drama and had been for many years. There are several reasons for Grey’s Anatomy ‘s success: firstly, the series made clear from the beginning that it was following one central character: Meredith Grey. Meredith is very much still the main character twelve seasons later, despite the fact that the cast has been repopulated so many times after garnering a larger death rate than Game of Thrones. Viewers have watched Meredith grow, and that leads us to another point of success: Character development. Meredith Grey is a totally different person than she was in the show’s first season, she has been changed by the experiences that she endured on the show. Also, due to the amount of cast changes, the show adapted and did so successfully – the dynamic was never changed dramatically, it alway felt like Grey ‘s. Like many shows, the first few seasons are held in high esteem, but despite twelve years worth of storylines, the series is as strong as ever and will probably be on the air for many years to come.2. EastEndersEastEnders , a long running soap opera, has been on television since 1985 in the United Kingdom. Held up as a pinnacle of British television, this BBC soap opera is hugely popular today – 31 years later. Centred around the residents of Albert Square, the show explores the day to day life of the residents, including market workers and the owners of business establishments. The most important action takes place in the centre of Albert Square: The Queen Victoria pub. The Vic has seen multiple owners over the years, including the legendary Peggy Mitchell – the biggest soap opera character of all time – who recently made her final appearance in the soap. The key to EastEnders success is its adaptability – the current episodes reflect key themes and interests of 2016, whereas the earlier episodes reflected the interests of their respective time period. The cast is often re-popluated as older characters depart, although some have remained with the show since it’s inception. The recent additions of actors Danny Dyer and Kellie Bright has reinvigorated the show and made it extremely popular once again. Some of it’s actors have also transferred to the US, with Ben Hardy (pictured above) starring as Angel in X-Men: Apocalypse and Sam Strike (also pictured above) starring in the upcoming Leatherface . BBC is renowned worldwide for creating shows like Happy Valley , Peaky Blinders and Luther , but this might not have been possible if not for the success that EastEnders has brought the network over the years. There’s plenty more adventures for the EastEnders yet, and this BAFTA award winning soap will remain a pinnacle of British entertainment for many years to come.3. SupernaturalThis horror-comedy series has also been running since 2005. Currently finished it’s eleventh season, Supernatural shows no signs of slowing down. Although some will argue that the series should’ve ended after the fifth season (as it was intended to), others are delighted that the Winchester brothers are still on air. It appears that Supernatural, especially in the later years, relies heavily on re-using older characters and storylines, as well as occasionally altering the mythology. Say what you will about the storylines, but the characters of Sam and Dean are always excellently written and the finales usually leave viewers with tears in their eyes. In terms of Supernatural’s success – It’s a tough one to call, but judging from social media – I’d say a lot of it’s more recent success has a lot to do with it’s fanbase. As one of her most committed fanbases I’ve ever seen, the series often trends on Twitter and the viewing figures never seem to be an issue. I wouldn’t be surprised if Supernatural is still on the air in another eleven years.4. WWE Monday Night RawFalling into the bracket of “sports entertainment” this long-running scripted wrestling series has been on the air weekly since 1993. Similar to EastEnders , WWE (or WWF as it was known at the time) have adapted to each generation, with the storylines evolving to suit each generation. Several of the company’s greatest wrestling matches have taken place on Monday Night RAW , and wrestlers like The Undertaker, Kane, Stone Cold and The Rock were largely considered the keys of it’s success. During the late ’90s, WWE engaged in a wrestling war with WCW, who’s programming was on an alternative network. However, WCW became extinct and WWE’s programming remains extremely popular – goes to show that hard work and determination (and blood, sweat and tears – literally) pay off!5. The SimpsonsWho hasn’t heard of The Simpsons ? I think that’s the key reason behind it’s success is that, regardless of what types of genre you prefer, The Simpsons literally appeals to everyone. It might be primetime viewing in the US, but around the world it’s syndicated at meal times, when people would be watching TV with their dinner. It also doesn’t take itself to seriously and is a nice throwback to the days where television was less concerned with storytelling and was more concerned with a ‘plot of the week’ format, meaning you can tune in and out. The Simpsons is the best of both worlds. Moreover, the comedy isn’t too crude and can be viewed by audiences of all ages. It’s the longest running seasonal show in history, and it probably won’t be topped.We all wish our favourite canceled series could have the opportunity to thrive like the above shows. This list highlights that shows which remain on the air for lengthy periods can be compelling throughout their run. The series’ listed above are already legends in their own right – it’ll be interesting to see if any other shows will amount to the success of the above.How long has your favourite show been on the air? Can you think of any other long-running series? Tell me in the comments below!