Is NCIS The Longest Running TV Show?

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Is NCIS The Longest Running TV Show?

It's easy to think that NCIS is one of the longest-running TV shows being that many of us have had this show on our screens for what seems like forever now!  Considering how long it's been airing, many people wonder if NCIS is the longest running TV show of all time. If you're wondering too, here's your answer.

Although it seems like NCIS has been on forever it is a long ways from being the longest running TV show. That title is currently held by Meet The Press which has been on TV for 72 years. If you exclude news shows then the longest show is Music and the Spoken Word at 70 years! Since NCIS has only been on TV for 17 years it still has a long way to go to be the longest running. 

The show, which is a spin-off from JAG, premiered on CBS on September 23, 2003. It is currently in its seventeenth full season after being on air for up to 16 years. Initially titled Navy NCIS, the show was pretty low in the ratings at the beginning with the first two seasons barely reaching the top 30. The longer it lasted and with more seasons airing, NCIS began receiving more attention and popularity hitting the top five by 2011, 8 years after it first came on air.

Finishing its tenth season as the most-watched TV series in the United States in the 2012-13 network TV season, NCIS would be set for subsequent seasons, renewing its seventeenth season on April 11, 2019. This seventeenth season premiered on September 24, 2019 and ended on April 14, 2020. 

Being the super successful TV show that it has been for many years, it should come as no surprise that spin-offs from NCIS have been created and aired to varying success. 

If you are interested in NCIS you can read the reviews for the show as well as purchase every episode of the first 16 seasons by clicking here. 

NCIS spin-offs

A two-part episode, Legend in the sixth season of NCIS gave birth to a spin-off series NCIS: Los Angeles. Another two-part episode, Crescent City in the eleventh season, gave birth to yet another spin-off NCIS: New Orleans. 

NCIS: Los Angeles

Premiering on September 22, 2009, NCIS: Los Angeles combines elements of police procedural genres and military drama. It follows the activities of the Los Angeles–based Office of Special Projects (OSP). This office is the elite division of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and has the duties of handling undercover assignments.

The show is the first spin-off of NCIS and has currently entered its eleventh year. As of April 22, 2019, CBS had renewed the show for an eleventh season, and it premiered on September 29, 2019.

In Legend, the episode that births NCIS: Los Angeles, Gibbs, and company are investigating the murder of a Marine. Gibbs and McGee have to go to Los Angeles to work on a joint gig with the NCIS Office of special projects for a suspected link to the answer they want.

We currently carry every episode of the first 10 seasons on DVD. You can find that set by clicking here. 

NCIS: New Orleans

This is the second spin-off of NCIS, and it premiered on September 23, 2014. This third series in the NCIS franchise follows a fictional investigative team, Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS). This team specializes in crimes that are concerned with the United States Navy and Marine Corps personnel, their territories being the Mississippi River, and the Texas panhandle.

The series has currently entered its sixth year being renewed for a sixth season on April 22, 2019 and it premiered on September 24, 2019, 

In Crescent City, the episode that births NCIS: New Orleans, Gibbs reconnects with NCIS special agent Dwayne Pride after a body is found on a shore. They want to determine whether the murder had a political motivation or if it is related to a renowned case.

We currently carry the first 5 seasons of NCIS New Orleans on DVD. You can find that set on our website here. 


Although Jag isn’t a spin off of NCIS, NCIS is actually a spin off a JAG! The first spin-off in the NCIS franchise was birthed by JAG. In the 20th episode in the eighth season of legal drama, JAG gave birth to this crime series, NCIS.

The development of NCIS

NCIS was born from the American legal drama, JAG. The 20th episode Ice Queen was the backdoor pilot for NCIS.

In the legal drama, a boy finds the body of a Navy Lieutenant JAG in the woods. The JAG officer is later confirmed pregnant after random tests have been carried out. When it is confirmed that the body belongs to Lt. Loren Singer, Admiral Chegwidden brings the news to members of JAG.

It is this call to an investigation that leads to NCIS launching an investigation into the murder of Singer. Rabb, the commander, calls his brother Sergei to give him the news of Loren's murder. The main event in this episode is the investigation of the murder and getting hold of the suspect. NCIS carries out interviews, speaking to a number of JAG members, including Roberts, Mac, and Manetti.

Special Agent Leroy Jethro interrogates Rabb and reads his rights to him, after which he puts him under arrest for the murder of Loren Singer, Special Agent Tony DiNozzo, and Viv Blackadder helping him. This is where the first part of this two-part episode ends and continues in the second episode, Meltdown. 

While these are happening, NCIS is working towards clamping down on the terrorist who is behind the attack on USS Cole. They interrogate Amad Bin Atwa, another terrorist who helped in financing the attack. To prevent another terrorist attack from being launched against a Navy ship, Thomas Morrow would have Gibbs handle the interrogation of Amad Bin Atwa.

These events in JAG gave birth to the spin-off TV series NCIS.


Although NCIS has been airing for quite a long time and does rank highly when only considering prime time shows it is far from being the longest running show when compared to all the TV shows from all time. 

As of 2019, NCIS is the second longest-running non-animated, and scripted U.S. primetime TV series, and overall, it is the 7th longest-running scripted U.S primetime TV series. There have been very many long-running American primetime TV series, however, speaking of primetime shows that are still on the air as of January 2020, NCIS is the second longest-running TV show.

Of course those are some pretty specific categories so if you narrow it down enough then NCIS will be the longest running in that narrowed down category but if you look at all the TV shows in all of history then it is far from being the longest running show. 

If NCIS can manage to stay on the air for another 60 years and Meet the Press or Music and the Spoken Word are taken off the air then NCIS will have a chance to be the longest running show. NCIS lasting another 60 years is certainly something that might happen but the odds of it lasting that long are pretty low. 

If you are an NCIS fan then you will certainly want to look at the set that we sell! We have every episode from the first 16 seasons available for only $197.99 and it can be found on our website here. 

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