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Top 20 TV Show Anniversaries In 2019

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Nick Spake
All these amazing shows are celebrating major anniversaries! Can you believe The Simpsons is 30 years old? Yikes. Today we are looking at the most memorable TV shows that are celebrating their anniversaries in 2019! This includes Family Guy, The Simpsons and many more! Join us as we count down the best TV show anniversaries of 2019! Did we miss a show? Let us know in the comments

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Top 20 TV Show Anniversaries in 2019

To think, when a lot of these shows first aired, DVR wasn’t even a thing! Welcome to WatchMojo and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 20 TV Show Anniversaries in 2019.

For this list, we’re taking a look at shows celebrating special birthdays in 2019. In other words, shows that had their US premiere 10, 20, or even 30+ years ago. We’re including currently running shows, as well as popular shows that have ended.

#20: “ER” (1994-2009)
25 Years Old
It’s insane to think that “ER” ended a decade ago, but what’s even more surreal is that the two-hour pilot aired 25 years ago. Fresh off the success of “Jurassic Park,” creator Michael Crichton and producer Steven Spielberg reunited for this medical drama, initially intended to be a feature film. The series launched several actors into mainstream stardom, most notably George Clooney as Dr. Doug Ross. Throughout its impressive 15-year run, “ER” accumulated a whopping 124 Emmy nominations, with Season 2 winning the Outstanding Drama Series award.

#19: “Baywatch” (1989-2001)
30 Years Old
Believe it or not, NBC pulled the plug on this iconic series after only one season. When “Baywatch” made the move to syndication, however, it exploded into a television juggernaut that lasted another decade and inspired numerous spinoffs. Centering on beautiful lifeguards who spend most of their time running in slow-motion on the beach, the premise was admittedly barebones, but that’s exactly what made “Baywatch” so accessible and fun to watch. The series also jumpstarted the careers of David Hasselhoff, Pamela Anderson, and… wait, is that Jason Momoa?

#18: “Saved by the Bell” (1989-93)
30 Years Old
A retooling of the comedy “Good Morning, Miss Bliss,” “Saved by the Bell” hit the scene in 1989 and became a staple of 90s teen sitcoms. From the corny intro song to the over-the-top fashion, it’s obvious that the show was a product of the time. That’s precisely why we still get a kick out of it today, though. Whether Zach was freezing his surroundings by simply saying “time out” or Jessie was learning a “very special” lesson about addiction, this 30-year-old series is so retro that it’s strangely timeless.

#17: “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!” (1969-70; 1978)
50 Years Old
This Hanna-Barbera cartoon initially ran for just 25 episodes, with another 16 airing in 1978. The adventures of Scooby and the gang were far from over, however, as they’ve continued to solve mysteries in numerous spin-off shows and movies. A new animated theatrical film is even coming in 2020. The franchise hasn’t strayed far from its roots over the past 50 years, right down to the fact that voice actor Frank Welker is still part of the principal cast. If something isn’t broken, though, why fix it? Never change, Scooby-Doo.

#16: “Cops” (1989-)
30 Years Old
Before “Big Brother,” “Survivor,” and even “The Real World,” a little show called “Cops” ignited our fascination with reality television. Due to the 1988 Writers Guild of America strike, Fox decided to take a chance on an unscripted, inexpensive series about police officers. “Cops” not only became an unexpected hit, but the “Bad Boys” are still busting criminals 30 years later. So, when you think about it, a strike intended to support television writers ironically helped popularize a genre that doesn’t require writers. For Fox executives, “Cops” was poetic justice.

#15: “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” (1999-)
20 Years Old
This quiz show is still airing in syndication, but remember when it was an unstoppable ratings powerhouse? The series was such a phenomenon that ABC aired three episodes weekly and by the end of the 1999-2000 television season, “Millionaire” had claimed the three highest rated spots according to Nielsen Media Research. Audience interest inevitably declined once the show started airing five episodes per week. For a period, though, sitting across from Regis Philbin with the chance to win a million dollars was basically the American Dream.

#14: “Shark Tank” (2009-)
10 Years Old
If you want to grab attention for a new product, there’s no better place to promote it than on this reality series. Even if you don’t make a deal, simply getting your feet wet in the shark tank can still benefit your business. Just look at CoatChex or CBS Foods, both of which gained traction despite being rejected by the panel of sharks. Whether pitches are successful or not, “Shark Tank” has provided a unique platform for entrepreneurs over the past decade, and a staple of reality TV.

#13: “NCIS: Los Angeles” (2009-)
10 Years Old
In early 2009, “NCIS” released a two-part episode that served as a backdoor pilot for a spinoff. Special Agent G. Callen would return the following television season and “NCIS: Los Angeles” has been going strong ever since. While its police procedural format may be familiar, the well-defined characters have kept us coming back over the past decade. Even in Season 10, the series managed to pack an emotional punch with the long-awaited wedding between Kensi and Deeks. Whatever the future holds for the LA team, we’re sure it’ll be legendary.

#12: “Modern Family” (2009-)
10 Years Old
Manny and Alex might have acted old for their age when we first met them in 2009, but now they’re both full-fledged adults. They aren’t the only ones who have grown over the past ten years. Lily is now a preteen, Luke is in college, and Haley is having babies of her own! Which Makes Gloria a step-great-grandmother! We’ve spent so much time with the Pritchett-Delgado-Dunphy-Tucker clan that they practically feel like family and we’ll be sad to say goodbye once the eleventh and final season wraps up.

#11: “America’s Funniest Home Videos” (1989-)
30 Years Old
When this comedy clip series first aired, it was supposed to just be a one-off, hour-long special. Who’d a thought that the special would amount to a hit series that continues to bring the chuckles today? For that matter, who knew that one day Carlton Banks would follow in the footsteps of Danny Tanner as host? What’s especially surprising about “America’s Funniest Home Video” is that it surpassed the lifespan of VHS tapes and still manages to attract solid viewership even in a YouTube era. Let that camera roll!

#10: “Lost” (2004-10)
15 Years Old
In 2004, TV audiences generally weren’t used to dramas with serialized stories or high-concept ideas. It quickly became clear, however, that “Lost” wasn’t going to be like anything we’d ever seen before. With its large ensemble, complex lore, and overarching mystery, it helped push the television media to a new frontier. 15 years later, audiences have mixed feelings about the series on the whole, largely due to its divisive ending. Without the success of “Lost,” though, it’s safe to say that ambitious TV shows wouldn’t be nearly as widespread today.

#9: “Seinfeld” (1989-98)
30 Years Old
At a time when sitcoms were mostly about marriage, family values, and the workforce, “Seinfeld” addressed issues like getting lost in a parking garage and waiting at a Chinese restaurant. Focusing on the most mundane, inconsequential, and shallow dilemmas, the series was a slice of life that anyone could find the humor in. Perhaps that’s why “Seinfeld” has aged so well. The world has changed a lot throughout the past 30 years, but muffin tops are still delicious, junk mail is still a nuisance, and shrinkage still plagues men everywhere.

#8: “The Sopranos” (1999-2007)
20 Years Old
We’re currently in a television renaissance, and many would point to this series as a trailblazer. “The Sopranos” helped define contemporary dramas with its cinematic production values, uncompromising writing, and morally ambiguous characters. Tony Sopranos is the antihero archetype, acting as the patriarch of a nuclear family and a mob family, both of which are equally chaotic. The series marked the end of the clean-cut 90s and the beginning of the gritty 2000s, ushering audiences into a new era and setting the stage for the next 20 years of television.

#7: “Futurama” (1999-2013)
20 Years Old
This animated series provided a reflection of modern times through a futuristic lens. Looking back 20 years later, though, some of the show’s advanced technology has actually come into fruition, including a telescope that can smell distant odors and virtual reality that focuses on tasks one could easily perform in the real world. Only time will tell if we’ll be making deliveries aboard spaceships by the 30st century. All we know for sure is that the hilarious misadventures of the Planet Express Crew will endure like a frozen pizza boy.

#6: “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (1999-)
20 Years Old
The original “Law & Order” inspired several spinoffs, but none have had the longevity of “Special Victim Unit.” One of the many reasons “SVU” stood out was its audacity to tackle sex crimes on network television. Its storylines regarding rape and pedophilia are just as relevant today as they were 20 years ago. Mariska Hargitay’s Primetime Emmy-winning performance as Olivia Benson in particular has become a beacon of empowerment. With “SVU” set to become the longest-running live-action series ever in its 21st season, Lieutenant Benson will continue to inspire audiences.

#5: “SpongeBob SquarePants” (1999-)
20 Years Old
Stephen Hillenburg sadly passed away due to ALS in 2018, just under a year before his creation’s 20th birthday. At least we can take solace in knowing that part of Hillenburg will forever live on through SpongeBob and the other residents of Bikini Bottom. While the series itself has never quite reached the heights of its first three seasons, SpongeBob himself hasn’t lost his universal appeal, inspiring countless memes, a Tony-winning Broadway musical, and three theatrical films, one of which is set for a 2020 release.

#4: “Friends” (1994-2004)
25 Years Old
The premise for this sitcom was nothing new, revolving around six single friends living in New York. Thanks to brilliant writing and perfectly in sync ensemble, however, “Friends” became one its generation’s defining sitcoms, not to mention one of the most rewatchable shows of the last 25 years. Whenever we’re in need of a good laugh, a rerun of “Friends” will do the trick, no matter how many times we’ve seen it. The characters and one-liners are just that perennial. Now if only we could get a reunion special!

#3: “Family Guy” (1999-2003; 2005-)
20 Years Old
“Family Guy” isn’t the show it was 20 years ago, with various critics talking about its decline in quality as of late. Nevertheless, the Griffin family have secured their place in television history for a variety of reasons. The show’s irrelevant cutaway gags, detailed parodies, and fearless humor have shaped the modern landscape for adult animation. Most significant of all, it’s demonstrated the importance of fandom. Being one of the first series to get revived thanks its cult following, “Family Guy” gave hope to every prematurely cancelled show.

#2: “The Simpsons” (1989-)
30 Years Old
Like “Family Guy,” “The Simpsons” is another long-running animated series that’s seen better days, but nobody can deny the impact it’s had on audiences. When the series made its debut 30 years ago, the Simpsons presented a surprisingly relatable portrait of a middle-class American family. Ironically, a lot of live-action TV families felt like caricatures by comparison. Where most sitcoms portrayed families as wholesome and squeaky clean, the Simpsons presented an original message: families are dysfunctional, but that doesn’t mean they can’t support one another . . . in their own twisted way.

#1: “Sesame Street” (1969-)
50 Years Old
Every generation has a show that they grew up with, but “Sesame Street” is probably the only one that’s spanned five generations. Sometimes the simplest life lessons are also the most important. Big Bird, Cookie Monster, and the other residents of Sesame Street have been imparting these lessons onto young minds for fifty years! For many, “Sesame Street” not only taught them how to count and spell, but also deal with concepts like death and divorce. Furthermore, it’s demonstrated that the best way to educate people is through creativity.

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