‘Simpsons’ Win Shootout!

‘The Simpsons’ on Sunday will beat ‘Gunsmoke’ in number of episodes, but still lags far behind in ‘binge-time.’

This Sunday, April 29, The Simpsons will surpass Gunsmoke as the “longest-running primetime scripted show” in US television history. To see this historic occasion, tune into your local Fox station at 8 pm ET/PT.

It will mark episode 636 for The Simpsons, compared with 635 for Gunsmoke. That’s quite an achievement — but the 29-season animated comedy (1989-present) still lags far behind the 20-season live-action western (CBS, 1955-1975) in what we’ll call “binge time.”

That’s because, while Gunsmoke began as a half-hour show, it changed to an hour for its final 14 seasons. We did the math and Gunsmoke comes in at 518.5 total hours, compared with The Simpsons’ 318 total hours.

So The Simpsons still needs 401 episodes – or another 18 seasons of 22 episodes each – to equal Gunsmoke’s output length-wise. In addition, as Bart Simpson pointed out at the end of this past Sunday’s Fox episode: “What about all the Gunsmoke episodes on radio?” (CBS Radio aired over 400 separate half-hours from 1952 to 1961).

But let’s stick to TV and figure out where – or if – you can watch the 836.5 combined hours (and counting) of The Simpsons and Gunsmoke.

The Simpsons

Start with season one, episode one right here:

For the rest of the series, head over to simpsonsworld.com — available to anyone who gets the Simpsons-centric FXX channel on cable, satellite, telco, DirecTV Now, YouTube TV, PlayStation Vue, FubuTV, Sling TV or Hulu. At SimpsonsWorld, you can stream every Simpsons episode, plus audio commentaries, themed playlists and much more.

If you don’t get FXX, you can stream free episodes from The Simpsons’ current current season over at Yahoo View. Or visit Amazon to cherrypick individual episodes from all 29 seasons for $2.99 each.


Start right here with John Wayne introducing season one, episode one:

Alas, there’s no Gunsmoke equivalent of SimpsonsWorld. Episodes currently run on cable channels TV Land (weekdays noon to 4 pm) and INSP (several times daily), and free via antenna on MeTV (Monday to Saturday, 1 pm ET). For MeTV’s channel number in your area, visit MeTV.com/wheretowatch.

For streaming, we recommend Uncle Earl’s Classic TV Channel, where you’ll find some 150 episodes to binge on.

Here’s Gunsmoke’s final episode:

Bonus: The Simpsons actually began in 1987 as a series of shorts on Fox’s The Tracey Ullman Show. Here are the first and last of those 48 shorts:


About Les Luchter

Les Luchter is a former managing editor of Multichannel News, editor-in-chief of Cable Marketing, and news editor of Broadcast Week.

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